On April 15, 2023, the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities (AVICC) unanimously passed a Resolution presented by Qualicum Beach (and Broombusters) calling on local governments to control the spread of Scotch broom. All 53 local governments of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and adjacent islands voted to support the resolution. This is a big step! Now the Resolution will be voted on at UBCM in September. (The Union of BC Municipalities.) Here is why the representatives supported this Resolution!
RESOLUTION R-14. Control of Scotch Broom (Cytisus Scoparious) from the Town of Qualicum Beach for AVICC 2023
We haven’t taken any real action to control Scotch Broom for the 170 years since this alien invasive plant first came to Vancouver Island. Why take action now?
We’re facing new situations:
• Climate change is bringing us longer, drier summers, and increased risk of wildfires. Scotch broom is highly flammable. It’s a volatile flash fuel with high oil content and naturally occurring dry branches. It forms dense thickets of flammable material. The result? Scotch broom could dramatically increase the risk of wildfires and urban interface fires.
• We are in a biodiversity crisis worldwide – mostly the result of environmental degradation. Recent studies have shown that the Top Offender of biodiversity in BC is Scotch Broom.* Because it spreads so quickly, forms dense thickets, and is toxic to soil and grazing wildlife, Scotch broom harms not only our native plants but also terrestrial mammals, insects, and birds.
• Critical mass. Scotch broom has reached critical mass. Because it has already spread so extensively, it has the potential to spread faster than ever. With every mature plant producing 18,000 seeds which survive for over 30 years, it can spread almost everywhere!
• Economic impact. Scotch Broom inhibits forest regrowth. It’s hard to reclaim farmers’ fields or meadows. Scotch broom negative affects Forestry, Farming, food security, Recreation and even Tourism.
• Now Scotch broom has spread onto the mainland. We in the Coastal communities know how aggressive and relentless Scotch broom is. By taking action now, we will be sending a warning to the rest of BC. Stop the spread NOW, while you can.
All over the island now, there are very visible fields of Scotch broom. Countless acres of cleared development and investment properties – covered with broom. Neglected farms – covered with broom. Transmission lines – covered with broom. Roads, trails, and bike paths – restricted by broom.
This is not what we want to leave our children. It’s very inconvenient to have to deal with this now. But compared to other problems, this one is solvable. Qualicum Beach had broom lining all its roads in 2006. Now there is very little broom, and each year volunteers cut it down. Qualicum Beach (and other municipalities) passed bylaws – that helps.
Passing this Resolution does not commit your community to take a specific action. Instead, it asks: Find what works in your municipality or district – and do it. We need to take strong action. Share what works. Join together in this effort.
Scotch Broom can be controlled. It is totally irresponsible for us to leave this problem to the next generation.