Broom’s worst nightmare

Joanne Sales praises Parksville for finally getting on board with the battle

Joanne Sales

Joanne Sales

Broom Busters head Joanne Sales spoke to Parksville council on Monday about the considerable progress made combatting the invasive weed this spring.

“2012 has been an astounding year for broom,” she said, explaining that the Ministry of Environment officially gave up on dealing with broom, but local residents have taken up the cause more than ever.

The cutting season is over for Scotch broom — which has to be cut in bloom — a weed brought over from Europe for its bright yellow flowers, but it is now rampant along the highways and open areas of Vancouver Island.

“We can get control of Scotch broom here in the mid-Island,” she told council, praising Parksville citizens for jumping into the battle — if a bit later than some communities like Qualicum Beach — showing that “with a mind set of cooperation this shows how successful we can be.”

While there had been minimal attendance at community cuts in previous years, this year they got dozens of people out along Highway 19A and around the Highway 19 Parksville exits.

She said the main obstacles are that they can’t get it on the official invasive plant list, overlapping jurisdictions making it hard to know when and where they are allowed to cut, and there remain liability issues for volunteers cutting on other people’s land.

“We need to get the province to take a strong stand,” she said, pointing out it is actually one of the biggest offenders,as they do not dealing with the invasive weed on public land like highways.

She added that while forestry companies are concerned, because it blocks new trees from growing in open areas, BC Hydro actually likes that affect, which helps to stop trees from growing under power lines.

Asked about gorse, another harder to deal with, similar invasive weed starting to mow into the area, Sales said they are looking into it but don’t have plans to formally take it on any time soon.

Contact Sales at 250-752-4816, info@broombuters.org or check www.broombusters.org.