Greenways’ Sandra Milligan tackles Scotch Broom along the Myrt Thompson Trail. The city is considering a bylaw amendment that would make it an offense to allow it – along with a selection of noxious weeds – to grow on your property, but some on council think that may be going too far, considering the city hasn’t managed to keep it under control on its own land yet.

‘Heavy-handed’ Campbell River bylaw amendment to get ‘tweaks’ before being passed

City looks to control invasives and noxious weeds by holding property owners accountable

The City of Campbell River is considering amending two of its bylaws to force property owners to remove invasive plants and noxious weeds from their property.

But at least two councilors say the move is “too heavy handed,” especially considering the city itself hasn’t dealt with its own property yet.

The proposed bylaw amendment would impact both the Environmental Protection Bylaw and the Public Nuisance Bylaw and states, in part, that “every owner of property shall remove or cause to be removed from the property any noxious weeds or invasive plants on a regular basis or when ordered to do so by the city.”

The noxious weeds listed in the proposed amendment are giant hogweed, knotweed and yellow flag-iris and the invasive plant listed is scotch broom, but plant species could later be added or removed from the list “as required.”

The penalties for contravening the bylaw would be set at $250 for each offence and failure to comply could also mean the city would have the right to “take action to correct the situation with all costs and expenses defaulting to the owner.”

The amendment was given first and second reading at council, but Coun. Charlie Cornfield said he, at least, would need to see it reworked in order to pass it.

“It seems rather heavy handed,” Cornfield said. “As you know, I support controlling noxious and invasives and I always have, but to make it an offence for anyone to allow it to grow on their property and to for them to remove it from their private property, well, I have a little bit of concern that we have that hammer when I don’t think we have the resources necessary to enforce it on our own city property. Before we go heavy-handed on our citizens, we have to live up to a higher standard of accountability for the city’s land.”

Coun. Colleen Evans said her concerns about the bylaw surround a lack of an educational component.

“There will be a certain amount of education that would go along with it,” responded Terri Martin, the city’s environmental specialist, but admitted that it “won’t be a lot, because there’s a limited amount of funding, so we have to be cautious with it, and Greenways does a very good job of getting media releases out and information up on their website, as does Broombusters, so I think that will cover it. Of course, we do need more education around invasive plants, generally, and that’s something that has been covered in the larger implementation plan that came out a number of years ago.”

The city did set aside $10,000 this year for dealing with scotch broom on its property, but that won’t go very far, Coun. Larry Samson said, and agreed with Cornfield they shouldn’t be issuing fines for things the city doesn’t even have under control on its own land. He also agreed with Evans’ concerns about public education.

“I don’t want to say the city is the worst offender when it comes to having noxious weeds on its property, but it’s certainly up there,” Samson said, pointing to the provincial government as another “major offender.”

“I think until we get full buy-in, coming out with fines and penalties is too heavy handed. I would also like to see a higher educational component. To this day, I still see people dumping their landscaping – I don’t want to say garbage – on the beach.”

The bylaw amendment was given second reading and will now go to an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting for, “tweaks,” as Cornfield put it.

“We need to have a more wholesome discussion on some aspects of this. One of the things I think should be there would be banning the sale of these plants, which would be an easy-to-implement item. That’s the kind of discussion I’m hoping to have at the Committee of the Whole.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some members of city council say the current plan for rebuilding the library isn’t in the community’s best interest, but the majority of council say it should go forward as is, so the motion to reexamine it was defeated. File photo/Campbell River Mirror
Re-examination of plan for new Campbell River library narrowly voted down by council

‘I haven’t heard one argument that does make sense for why that has to be the location’

A welcoming ceremony was held at the meeting of the SRD board April 14, where gifts were exchanged between KCFN Director Kevin Jules (left) and SRD Chair Brad Unger (right) to mark the historic occasion. Photo Submitted
KCFN officially joins SRD as full member

‘For KCFN, this has been a long journey and a long time coming’ says SRD board member Kevin Jules

Fish processing workers fillet farm-raised salmon in Surrey B.C. Photo courtesy BCSFA
Discovery Islands salmon farm removal impacts jobs in B.C.’s Lower Mainland: report

The City of Surrey is the hub of the salmon farming industry in Metro Vancouver

Island Heath has issued an overdose advisory for Campbell River. If someone has overdosed, administering naloxone can help. File photo
Overdose advisory issued for Campbell River

People using drugs advised to protect themselves

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Most Read