Alien invasion in Parksville

Alien invasive species the focus of a presentation to Parksville city council this week; plus other city council briefs

Knotweed can grow four centimetres in a day. Its roots can go three metres deep into the ground and spread 20 metres laterally. It grows through asphalt, creating hazards on roads and sidewalks. It has toxic sap that can create third-degree burns.

Parksville city council learned this week about the importance of eradicating alien invasive species like knotweed and hogweed. Rachelle McElroy from the Coastal Invasive Species Committee provided some shocking facts and encouraged the city to attack these weeds early and aggressively.

“What all these plants have in common is they cause harm,” said McElroy.

In 2015, the committee had a hand in treating 41 residential sites. The province has legislation related to invasive species. Some municipalities, including Parksville, have bylaws too, detailing how and when the city can deal with the weeds on both public and private lands.

“Good on you,” said McElroy. It (the bylaw) is a great tool for a community to use.”

This is year two of a partnership between Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo to tackle knotweed and hogweed. The Regional District of Nanaimo joined the partnership earlier this year. To report one of these weeds, call 1-250-857-2472 or e-mail: info@coastalisc.com.

Other items from city council’s meeting Monday night:

• Coun. Al Greir introduced a motion attempting to limit what council could discuss behind closed doors (also called ‘in camera’).

“I think we are having far too many of them (in camera meetings),” said Greir. “I think we owe it to the public to have more transparency.”

Grier’s motion failed 6-1.

• By a 4-3 margin, Coun. Mary Beil’s motion to set aside $12,500 in next year’s budget for the purchase of a fast electric car charger passed on Monday night.

Beil, Mayor Marc Lefebvre and councillors Kirk Oates and Teresa Patterson were in favour, while councillors Al Greir, Leanne Salter and Sue Powell were opposed.