Nelson property owners who don’t try to control invasive plants could face a $250 fine under the city’s property maintenance bylaw.
City council is in the process of introducing new penalties for contraventions to that bylaw and while they’re at it, they’ve also added some new requirements for keeping properties up to city standards.
It will soon be mandatory for residents to “cut and/or remove noxious weeds from [their] property to prevent blowing and spread thereof.”
Examples of noxious weeds include scotch broom, English Ivy and several species of knapweed.
Several councillors expressed concern about the bylaw change. Councillor Paula Kiss fears residents might resort to using harsh pesticides on their weeds to avoid a fine.
Mayor John Dooley thinks it would be hypocritical for the city to hand out fines for invasive plants when so many grow on city property.
But city manager Kevin Cormack said bylaw officers won’t be going around writing tickets to everyone with a few undesirable plants in their yard. The main concern is vacant lands that aren’t being maintained.
“There’re a lot of invasive plants growing wild on private property along John’s Walk and other unoccupied properties around the city,” he said. “We need a way to encourage the property owners, who might not live in the city, to have somebody taking care of the land.”