Parksville wants broom added to list

City council wants the province to list Scotch broom as “noxious” under the B.C. Weed Control Act.

The success of local Broombusters in keeping down the plant has led the City of Parksville to push for it to be added to B.C.’s noxious weed list.

After the recognized success of the battle against Scotch broom this summer in Parksville, council drafted a resolution to encourage the province to list it as “noxious” under the B.C. Weed Control Act.

In a July 16 presentation to council Broombusters society president Joanne Sales praised the community and local volunteers for their efforts cutting down the weed while in bright yellow bloom.

She noted that while they had trouble getting volunteers in Parksville in the past, people came out in force and she is more optimistic than ever about the ongoing battle but the next key step is getting the provincial government on board.

The plant was introduced to North America for aesthetic reasons in Sooke in the 1850s and has since spread to most parts of the province and is particularly dense in open areas on the east side of Vancouver Island.

While people might enjoy the flowers, broom is called “the scourge of pastureland” because it takes over open fields, damages farms, prevents forest re-growth, is a fire hazard and is toxic to some animals.

Recognizing the issue, Parksville council is sending a resolution to the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) convention in Sooke next April.

They hope from there it will be sent on to the Union of B.C. Municipalities to pressure the provincial government.

The government currently designates broom as a “nuisance weed.”

Designation as a noxious weed imposes a duty on all land occupiers to control it and the report from city staff points out, “While ultimate eradication may not be possible, the requirement to control the spread of broom will go a long way to protecting valuable farm and other lands.”

The widely recognized Broombusters started in Errington in 2006 and now has volunteers from Courtenay to Nanaimo.

For more information contact Sales at 250-752-4816, e-mail info@broombuters.org or check www.broombusters.org.

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