What the heck is a helicopter doing hovering above an orchard at 3 am . . . waking up the whole damn neighbourhood?
Groggily, I open the window, expecting to see SWAT team members repelling out of a police chopper in search of a gun-wielding maniac.
I then jump in my car and drive towards this horrendous racket, only to discover it’s a farmer’s wind machine that was recently installed across the street.
Are you kidding me? No.
I phoned the farmer to ask what the hell was going on and was given a brief synopsis of the right-to-farm act. Mmm, exactly what I wanted to hear as I wondered how I was going to get back to sleep and do my job effectively, in addition to not becoming an accident statistic because of falling asleep at the wheel.
I support the Farm Practices Protection Act (my family needs food), but it irks me that zero consideration is given to nearby residents who also have to work to make a living. Where is “our” protection?
Yes, the orchard was there before I moved into the neighbourhood, but the wind machine wasn’t. I’ve put up with the tractor noise, the chemical spraying and everything else, but a high-decibel wind machine that keeps me up from 3 am to 7 am is too much.
Lodging a complaint with police or the regional district is a waste of time; you have to go higher than that. But when you do reach the top, don’t expect much recourse.
The Ministry of Agriculture (review board) will hear your complaint, but it will cost you $100 to file an application.
The battle is all up hill from the get go. The review board will only order the farmer to cease or modify his practice if what he’s doing is not normal farm behaviour. Well, there’s nothing abnormal about wind machines, so you better start wearing earplugs.
I have been told several times that I should call the farmer every time the machine wakes me up. Why should he sleep soundly while I toss and turn? But the fact is I would have the police at my door warning me to stop harassing the farmer who’s depriving everyone of sleep. Try to wrap your head around that one.
How can legislation legally deprive anyone of sleep, or peace and quiet? Does someone have to fall asleep and die at the wheel before changes to the act are made?
It appears so, but then again, I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
Lyonel Doherty, editor