Eradicating invasive plants is an ongoing process for the City of Port Alberni’s public works department, says horticulture/ parks superintendent Jacob Colyn.
The city attacks invasive and noxious weeds on three fronts, although there is no specific funding set aside for the task.
For noxious or poisonous weeds such as hogweed and Japanese knotweed, the city will use a backhoe to dig up offending weeds and properly dispose of them by bagging them and burying them in the landfill, Colyn said.
There are a couple of lots that the city treats annually in an effort to keep ahead of the invasive plan.
“Where we’re really frustrated is we don’t have the tools to work where it’s invaded in aquatic areas,” he said. There are no permits available to use herbicides because of the proximity to water, and it’s often inaccessible, he said.
Colyn also works closely with non-profit organizations such as Broombusters Invasive Plant Society.
“We will complement what public groups are doing,” he said, and assist by lending tools when possible. City workers will also up cut broom from a pre-arranged spot once or twice a season and transport it to JW Berry, where it is incinerated and sold for hog fuel at Catalyst Paper.
Last spring, Broombusters saw approximately 500 volunteers between Nanaimo and Campbell River and into Port Alberni clear dozens of parks and roadways during more than 40 community cuts, director Joanne Sales said.
“Broombusters helps communities organize cuts, but local volunteers cut the broom where they live. Qualicum Beach started in 2006 and is almost broom-free now,” Sales said. “In 2013, the Port Alberni Rotary Club started the Broombusting effort near the AV Multiplex. This year there is lots of enthusiasm to ‘Cut the Bloomin’ Broom’ in Port Alberni,” she added. Anyone wanting to volunteer can go online at www.broombusters.org.