The Regional District of Nanaimo will begin clearing and restoration work on the Bluewater Community Park in French Creek. The plan includes the use of goats to clear the land next spring and fall.
Residents in the area have raised concerns about invasive plants and noxious weeds that are thriving in the park that is located between Lowry and Wembley roads. They became a problem after hazardous trees were removed from the park and were not replanted with native species.
Karen Porter, who appeared before the Electoral Area G Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee on behalf of the residents, said a majority wants the park to be preserved in its natural state. They want the invasive plants such as the Canada Thistle and Blackberry removed.
“The thistle is dispersing seeds throughout the neighbourhood and rapidly spreading to form dense patches,” Porter told the committee. “lnvasive blackberry is also beginning to form large, dense, impenetrable thickets. The approximately 20 hemlock and spruce seedlings donated to the RDN and planted in this park are struggling to survive with the competing vegetation.”
Porter added, “If these invasive plants continue to spread, they will prevent the establishment of any native plants that would otherwise grow well in this area. The many healthy ferns currently in Blue Water Community Park and contributing to the overall sustainability of this area will soon be threatened by these invasive and noxious plants.
“These weeds are creating a significant environmental impact to this area. This needs to be resolved.”
RDN staff has laid out a plan for the park that would start early next year. It will include locating existing trees and site elements, broadly covering a cleared area with seed and mulch mix (hydroseed), examining the drainage issue on the east side of the park and installing temporary signage. The park will be monitored, weeded and watered as required.
A budget of $5,000 has been recommended for the project. The clearing in the spring and fall will cost $2,000, the temporary signage $300 and the hydroseeding $2,700.