Broombusters Invasive Plant Society requested the Town of Qualicum Beach present a resolution to the (AVICC) Convention regarding the rampant and unchecked spread of Scotch broom on Vancouver Island.
Executive director of the non-profit group, Joanne Sales, said the invasive Scotch broom is a growing concern that needs to be addressed by Island municipalities. She indicated that they can be the cause of wildfires, impact the regrowth of forests and are also detrimental to the food industry.
“It is a noxious weed on Vancouver Island and it’s time for us to join together and take a stand about this,” said Sales, who added, “we cannot leave this problem to our children. For the sake of farms, food security, our forests and the future, cut broom in bloom.”
The AVICC will hold its 2023 convention in Nanaimo on April 14.
Sales appeared as a delegation to Qualicum Beach council’s Jan. 18 meeting and stated an assessment report was made by the Invasive Species Council of BC, which concluded that “Scotch broom is the invasive species causing the greatest harm to species at risk in B.C.”
She pointed out that the broom spreads rapidly, forming dense thickets and crowding out native plants. The plants are also highly flammable, toxic to grazing animals and wildlife, take over farms, forest and parklands and lead to a dramatic loss of diversity.
Scotch broom also poses problems to transmission lines, said Sales.
“BC Hydro says they do not control the spread of broom under transmission lines because there is no pressure from governing entities,” said Sales. “The problem with broom on transmission lines for us is extreme fire danger.”
Another problem the society has encountered in their broom battle is privately owned lands that have been cleared of trees for development.
“But the development doesn’t happen,” said Sales, who cited a property along Alberni Highway that is now covered with broom after it was cleared two years ago.
“The fire chief says again broom is a significant threat as a fire hazard for urban interface fires within our region,” said Sales.
Because Scotch broom is mostly on the Island, Sales said, it’s up to local governing bodies to speak out and get the plants classified as a “regional noxious weed on Vancouver Island.”
Coun. Scott Harrison said that they will have a meeting on Feb. 8, prior to the submission deadline for resolutions to the AVICC.
“So it wouldn’t be unreasonable for us to have something done in time,” said Harrison.