Broom busting a go this weekend

Busting broom in bloom will be the name of the game at two sites in North Cowichan May 24-25 after councillors gave the green light to an attack on the pervasive yellowflowered plant.

Municipal staff will join the attack and council, and Broombusters are calling on the general public to come out and join the effort.

Pieces of North Cowichan land under consideration are along Genoa Bay Road past Bird’s Eye Cove Farm to the top of Arbutus Road, and Somenos Marsh along the Trans Canada Highway at the three outlooks owned by the municipality. Also, there is a creek under the bridge on Herd Road that has lots of broom on the banks, leading to concern that the seedpods from those broom plants will be dropping seeds into the creek and into the marsh.

In a report from staff, councillors heard that these areas were chosen because volunteers have already said they want to cut two of those areas.

Before final spots are chosen, municipal officials will have to make a final check "because some of the plants in some areas are already going to seed meaning it’s too late to cut them," according to engineering director John McKay.

The total expense of carting and chipping is estimated at $2,500 to $3,000 and council approved up to $4,000 for the entire project as there will also be costs for such things as signs, tools and website updates.

According to Broombusters, the best time to cut Scotch broom is right now, while it is blooming. Plants cut off at the ground will not grow back, organization founder Joanne Sales told council when she first asked them to join the attack on the pervasive plant.

Cutting will start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Genoa Bay Road. and 11:30 a.m. on Herd Road. Look for signs at the tennis courts in Maple Bay and near Mays Road for directions, she said Thursday. Check broombusters.org/north cowichan.html for the latest details on when and where you can join the effort and bust broom in bloom.

Tools will be provided but wear good shoes and bring water and gloves.

"I’m happy that this will go ahead," said Coun. Kate Marsh, who attended the meeting by phone. "The municipality should start on this, no matter how small the first effort seems. The longer it goes without doing anything, the harder it is to eradicate the broom."

Coun. Jennifer Woike, who on top of her other concerns about the invasive plant, is allergic to Scotch broom, has backed the broombusting idea from the start. She urged North Cowichan to lead the way itself by doing some broom busting in its own municipal works yard.

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