The Municipality of North Cowichan won’t ask the province to establish the invasive species Scotch broom as a noxious weed, council decided at its meeting on July 20.
As part of its long-standing campaign to fight the proliferation of Scotch broom on Vancouver Island, the Broombusters Invasive Plant Society has been asking local governments to endorse a resolution that will be forwarded to the Union of B.C. Municipalities requesting that the UBCM call on the province to establish the invasive species Scotch broom as a noxious weed.
The society also wants the province to establish laws to mitigate its spread on lands controlled by Crown corporations and lands within provincial control.
Council had originally voted to support the resolution at a meeting in June.
But a staff report, written by Dr. David Preikshot, North Cowichan’s senior environmental specialist, said it’s unlikely the province would support listing the broom as noxious for the coast region because the financial and staff resources required to enforce the outcomes of the resolution are significant and would take away from efforts to deal with other priority invasive species.
Furthermore, the report said, it’s also unlikely that provincial land managers would be able to control a species that is so well established on all lands within the coastal region.
“The wide distribution of Scotch broom creates a continuous introduction from the adjacent patches, and a Scotch broom seed bank present in the soil will be viable for 50 to 80 years,” Preikshot said.
“Such regeneration may be compounded given the focus on the province to enact laws that they would have to enforce upon themselves with no provision on other lands. Staff believe that the province would be more receptive to requests for technical and financial support for invasive plant management at the local government level. Such support would magnify the impact of invasive plant work targeted to community needs.”
Preikshot said that in staff’s opinion, such a partnership would likely be productive and impactful.
“Provincial agencies tasked with managing invasive plant species face significant challenges in controlling new and priority invasive plant species,” he said.
“Ironically, many of these new or priority species are capable of overtaking established invasive plant species such as Scotch broom. New and priority invasive species are, therefore, potentially higher risks to biodiversity, human health, our economy and infrastructure.”
Coun. Christopher Justice said he agrees with staff that asking the province to establish Scotch broom as a noxious weed shouldn’t be a goal of the municipality.
“If we can’t adopt this as a goal for ourselves, we probably shouldn’t be insisting that the province adopt it for the same reasons,” he said.