The Village of Cumberland will launch a Village-wide invasive plant treatment and education program targeting knotweed.
Cumberland council gave the nod Monday to a Village staff request to spend $2,270 on the program, which Village parks and outdoor recreation co-ordinator Kevin McPhedran said the Village will work with the Coastal Invasive Species Committee to set up the program.
“Right now there is an opportunity to kind of piggyback off of the program the (Comox Valley) Regional District has already started,” McPhedran told council. “There’s heightened public awareness and we’ve already received a lot of reports from the public about knotweed within the Village boundaries.”
McPhedran added the Coastal Invasive Species Committee already has a list of sites containing knotweed in Cumberland thanks to public reporting.
The $2,270 was earmarked for invasive plant education and treatment inside Cumberland Community Forest boundaries, but McPedran noted this part of the approximate $9,000 budget for community forest maintenance was not used this year. He pointed out the infestation of lamium near the yellow gate of the forest remains a concern but the best time to treat that invasive species is spring or early summer, and it was not treated this year due to competing priorities.
Rather than having those funds roll over into surplus in next year’s budget, McPhedran suggested using them to target knotweed right away.
“We’re nearing the end of September and the window for treatment of knotweed is running short; it’s probably a matter of weeks away,” he told council.
He noted the Village will use the committee as a resource in developing criteria to establish priorities for ridding the Village of knotweed. The criteria will likely look at ecological sensitivity, such as whether the knotweed infestation is near moving water or park area.
Some infestation areas noted in McPhedran’s report to council include land adjacent to the community forest on the north and south sides of Comox Lake Road, on Cumberland Road, on land adjacent to the South Wellington Colliery Trail and in Coal Creek Historic Park.
McPhedran added council should consider the importance of continued management of knotweed.
“There’s a need with any invasive plant management to always consider subsequent years after treatment happens in that, you know, you might go out and treat knotweed this year but not get all of it, and if you don’t come back to treat the remaining bits, then essentially, the problem will come back,” he said. “So it’s something to think about in future years for budget planning if we jump on board now.”
Council unanimously voted in favour of moving forward with the program. While the program is being set up, residents are encouraged to call the Coastal Invasive Species Committee regional hotline at 250-857-2472.