‘Gas guns’ on nose at council

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
An example of a gas gun bird-scaring device.
Camera IconAn example of a gas gun bird-scaring device. Credit: supplied.

Waroona Shire Council has taken the first step to creating its own local law to address an animal issue creating some noise in the region.

On Tuesday the council voted to amend a local health law to add provisions which allow for the control of bird-scaring devices, such as gas guns.

Two big horticultural operators in the area, Fruitico and Capogreco Farms, have been using the devices to scare off birds, mostly during the peak ripening period from mid-December to early May.

After receiving noise complaints from residents neighbouring these farms, the council resolved in December to trial draft noise conditions during the 2020-2021 summer period.

At last month’s council meeting representatives from the two businesses, as well as neighbouring residents, made impassioned deputations both for and against the devices after the summer’s trial conditions.

Based on these deputations, as well as an independent acoustics report, the council resolved to draft legislation which would define clear restrictions for use of the devices under the Local Government Act 1995.

The council decided to include this legislation under the Shire of Waroona Health Local Law 2021.

This proposed health law had already been advertised, but the addition of the bird-scaring device provisions was a significant deviation from the original draft bill, which had been designed to bring Waroona in line with the Shire of Murray Health Local Law 2018.

Waroona Shire president Mike Walmsley said the use of gas guns related to the nuisance issues around noise, so it was logical to include it in the health law which dealt with other forms of nuisance.

“There is still a fair way to go to get it all formalised,” he said. “Hopefully we will have the laws in place by next growing season.”

Shire chief executive Dean Unsworth can now recommence the process of formally advertising the local health law as well as lodging the draft bill with the Local Government Minister.

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