A South Surrey blueberry farmer is defending the use of wind turbines after a Morgan Creek couple filed a complaint against his neighbour. (Pixabay photo)

A South Surrey blueberry farmer is defending the use of wind turbines after a Morgan Creek couple filed a complaint against his neighbour. (Pixabay photo)

South Surrey noise complaint an example of urban-rural clash, says farmer

‘I do feel there is not a lot of respect for the farmers’: Avtar Longiye

A South Surrey farmer has come to the defence of his neighbour after a Morgan Creek couple filed an official noise complaint against the operator of a nearby blueberry field.

Last week, Peace Arch News published an article regarding the complaint by Ross Paterson and Melissa Modenesi, who recently moved to Morgan Creek from Vancouver.

The couple complained that the noise from a pair of wind turbines was preventing them from sleeping. The farmer purchased the turbines to prevent frost damage on his blueberries.

After the article went online, nearly 300 people commented on the story – mostly in support of the farmer – including Avtar Longiye.

Longiye wrote that the comments from the new residents exuded “false entitlement.”

RELATED: Morgan Creek couple files official noise complaint against blueberry farmer

Contacted Sunday, Longiye said the article “set me off” because the blueberry farmer is doing whatever he can to minimize damage to his crop.

He said the article brought back memories of other criticisms South Surrey farmers have endured, including complaints about blueberry cannons and slow-driving machinery using the roadways.

“I do feel there is not a lot of respect for the farmers,” Longiye said. “The person who put those turbines in to keep their berry warm, we have that problem, too. We have a lot of berry that dies. We’ve been dealing with it for a few years.”

While people in the urban setting tend to complain about farm land, whether it’s noise, smell or traffic, farmers – who were there first – are feeling pressure from urban sprawl.

Longiye has been growing berries near Highway 15 and 40 Avenue for 16 years. Even in that short time, his operations have had to be adjusted due to pressure caused by encroaching South Surrey subdivisions.

The most prohibitive change in the last couple decades, he said, has been the cost of land.

When Longiye purchased his farm in 2005, the cost per acre was about $100,000 for agricultural land. According to property listings, as of Monday, the cost per acre is about $170,000, depending on the area.

“If we want to expand our operations, we can’t because it’s prohibitively expensive to buy more land to farm. You can’t really make a living as a farmer,” he said. “The price of land is too high.”

The future of farming in the South Surrey area is “starting to look bleak,” he added.

“If you look at the prices of blueberries, just for example, they haven’t gone up that much since we bought this farm. But the land price has gone up. You can’t really see a lot of new farmers coming in.”

Longiye said there are a number of small challenges caused by urban sprawl that, over time, build and increase pressure on farmers.

One example he provided was the new median at the 40 Avenue and Highway 15 (176 Street) intersection. While he supports the safety measure, that route was once used for farm vehicles to move from field to field.

RELATED: Median installed at South Surrey ‘death trap’ intersection

“I remember farmers could easily cross the highway, but this median they put all the way down – for safety obviously – it has affected the ability for their machine to go from one field to the next,” Longiye said.

Another road-related challenge, he said, is inconsiderate motorists when farmers are moving farm equipment or transporting their harvest to a processing facility.

“There’s not a lot of respect for that,” he said. “People should be aware this is a rural area, it’s summer, there’s going to be harvesting going on. Have a little bit of respect for that. Don’t harass people in that way, try to make some room, try to keep a wide berth. Give them a chance to be safe with what they’re transporting.”

Longiye, who also works in the tech industry in downtown Vancouver, said he’s aware of the lifestyle clash.

“People are a little more fast-paced and a little impatient with things,” he said. “I just sort of try to be more aware of what’s going on in the neighbourhood, and I sort of adjust my expectations accordingly to where I’m going.”

Designed to protect agricultural land from speculators and developers, Longyie also said 2019’s Bill 15 – the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act – has had unintended consequences for B.C. farmers.

The bill, he said, prevents him from building a secondary home on his land for his parents. Instead, he’s forced to search for a home in the South Surrey neighbourhood.

“You can’t have those multigenerational type of households. It affects us in that respect,” he said. “Anybody who’s in the farming lifestyle, they tend to have larger families, historically. Bigger families, everybody sticks together and you work the land.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

AgricultureFarming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

UBC Sports Hall of Famer Carrie (Watson) Watts (far right, front row) helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to the 2004 national championship, their first since 1974. She served as assistant coach a few years after graduation. (Photo/UBC)
Agassiz-born basketball star inducted into UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Carrie (Watson) Watts helped lead the team to their first championship in decades

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

JANGO the police dog helped track down a suspect on Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack. (RCMP photo)
Alleged thief in Chilliwack can’t fool the nose of Jango the police dog

An Edmonton man who allegedly broke into a storage container on Luckakuck Way was arrested

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read