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REPORTING · 26th February 2012
Walter McFarlane
Mercy Hillis, The First Nations and Western Program Assistant for the Northwest Invasive Plant Council (NWIPC) came and gave Kitimat Council a presentation on invasive plants in the area.

“In 2010, the Haisla First Nations began developing capacity to manage invasive plants through a partnership with the NWIPC. The current situation with invasive plants, in particular, knotweed, presents an opportunity for the District of Kitimat to develop an effective, low cost program that will help prevent major issues and problems in the future. NWIPC would like to work with the District of Kitimat to do this,” said Hillis.

She explained native plants are there before any disturbances, they are kept in check by natural processes. Invasive plants are non native plants which can spread quickly, displacing and eliminating native plants. They can cause a lot of damage to the environment and areas are difficult to restore. They reduce food for animals as well as habitat.

Hillis explained Japanese Knotweed is one of the most troubling plants, as it can break through tarmac drains and concrete, adding costs. It has caused a lot of problems for the 2012 London Olympics. There it, caused 70,000,000 pounds of cleanup.

She showed Council 10 sites in Kitimat where Knotweed has been discovered. She expressed their highest priority was to stop the introduction of alien plants by increasing public awareness and decreasing dumping garden waste.

One such way to increase public awareness is a community weed pull event. There is not much knotweed in Kitimat and their action could be taken to reduce future problems. Later this year, from May to August, there will be a display at the Kitimat Museum and Archives entitled: Aliens Among Us.

Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to know where the Knotweed comes from. Hillis told him it comes from gardens and gets so big, it is removed but not properly disposed of.