Anyone who lives in Qualicum Beach who runs across hogweed or any other invasive species will be able to call town hall to get some action, despite the fact that the town voted unanimously not to adopt a new bylaw governing the control of invasive plants.
The request for the bylaw came from the Select Committee on Environment, which urged council to deal with all invasive plants identified by the province’s Weed Control Act. However, chief administrative officer Mark Brown noted that act addresses species identified as noxious weeds, so no further action was necessary.
Commenting on the report, Coun. Barry Avis, who heads up the committee, said the group had a particular concern about control of giant hogweed, noting that, if dealt with improperly, can prove extremely dangerous to the health of those handling it.
“If it is handled improperly, it can affect your nervous system for the rest of your life,” Avis said.
Public works superintendent Al Cameron said both town staff and volunteers work every year to remove hogweed.
“Staff are trained to work with hogweed and we have special protective gear they wear. We work with the Friends of French Creek and remove it in an appropriate manner so it doesn’t regenerate and create more hogweed.”
The sap of Giant hogweed contains toxins that can cause severe dermatitis.
When exposed to sunlight it activates compounds in the sap resulting in severe burns.