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Broom Busters wrap up the season
The roadside broom busting campaign in District 69 climaxed Saturday with a final maor roadside cut of the Scots invader on Highway 19A near Parksville’s tourist information centre.
The cut drew out a record 33 volunteers, who picked up their loppers and fought back against the pernicious invasive species in a bid to restore the area’s natural vegetation and also to gain bragging rights for their community.
At issue was bragging rights — and the coveted golden loppers that go with them — for the community that brought out the most volunteers for the event.
It was close, but when the yellow swath of broom was piled, it was Parksville, narrowly edging out Qualicum Beach by a tally of 17 to 16.
Broom Busters organizer Joanne Sales, who started the group in 1996 to deal with a serious infestation in Qualicum Beach. Since then, she and her team — along with a couple of non-aligned groups if citizens — has been able to declare the roadways in Qualicum Beach mostly broom-free.
While it may have been galling to see the latecomers from Parksville take the bragging rights in the inaugural contest, Sales didn’t see it that way. Rather, she was delighted.
“I think the Qualicum Beach people are very happy because they have been doing it alone for six years,” she said. “Nobody was cutting broom in Parksville before — zero — and now this year we’ve got 17 out, so that’s really encouraging. It’s just growing. People see the broom and they want to take part. The same thing is happening in Nanaimo and in Courtenay, too.”
The golden loppers will be officially presented to Parksville council at an upcoming council meeting, while a silver pair will be presented to Qualicum Beach for coming in second.
To learn more about Broom Busters, visit their website at broombusters.org.