Propane Cannon Fire Sparks Protests and Lawsuit

They're great at scaring away birds and beasts from a farm's precious crop, but frequent gun fire-like blast from propane cannons are causing sleepless nights for irate neighbors. (image:

A hoo-ha over propane-powered farm cannon blasts is ramping up in New Jersey and also kicked off on blueberry farms in British Columbia. reported last week that John Drake’s hi-tech gas-powered machinery was getting up the noses of residents in Montgomery, who complained their quality of life was suffering because of the constant bursts of cannon fire.

The cannons are designed to scare off birds and deer that would otherwise turn Drake’s crops into a “smorgasbord”.

Dozens of concerned residents turned out at a local authority meeting this week to protest the cannons’ use, reported.

Drake has a Department of Environmental Protection permit to use the propane cannons from July 19 to Oct. 15. Their noise levels are within limits stipulated in the permit but exceed the township’s noise ordinance.

Irate residents told the meeting how the constant noise had impacted their lives.

“One thing I wanted to point out was the negative environmental impact,” said a local trauma surgeon, who was suffering sleep deprivation. “People have to close their windows and run their air conditioning at night because of the sound.”

A local real estate agent feared the noise was impacting the local property values.

Mayor Mark Caliguire said he spoke with Drake on Saturday, but the cannons are still being fired.

I explained to him that I understood he had a business to run and that is his livelihood, but that the actions he has taken have severely undermined the quality of life for hundreds of neighbors.

The Township Committee is now preparing a resolution allowing it to file complaints with the State Agriculture Development Committee and Country Agriculture Board.

Meanwhile, residents living near a blueberry farm in Surrey, BC, are having their own propane cannon blasts nightmare. They say the constant noise sound like gun fire.

Jim McMurtry has filed a lawsuit suing the city over the constant racket. He argues city officials have failed to enforce a noise bylaw.

“[It’s like] I’m living in Afghanistan,” McMurtry said. “This is a community where families live, where people like to sleep in on a Saturday morning, where you don’t want your cat and dog jumping every time there’s a gunshot sound.”

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