Sandra Sauer

Sandra Sauer

ACTIVE LIFE: Cutting weeds helps build community

NANAIMO – Good neighbours can have a positive influence and that is what a group from Stephenson Point Road is trying to do.

Good neighbours can have a positive influence on the lives of a street’s residents and that is what a group from Stephenson Point Road is trying to do.

The Stephenson Point Neighbourhood Association has done a lot of work removing invasive plants that have been overwhelming the area and nearby Planta Park.

Most recently, it has been removing the spurge laurel (Daphne laureola), a noxious weed that resembles the rhododendron plant, that is considered a threat to Nanaimo.

According to the Invasive Species Council of B.C., its bark and berries contain toxins and it is known to irritate the skin, cause nausea and even send people into a coma. It can limit the growth of native plants if allowed to grow unhampered.

According to volunteer Gary Smart and association treasurer Sandra Sauer, work parties organized over the last two years removed spurge laurel from the sides of streets and wooded areas – no easy task considering how it can overwhelm an area.

“It’s pretty major. There’s a lot of it,” Sauer said. “You want to get it before it goes to berry in June, so it’s starting to bloom now. It’s easy to pick so this is the time to get it.”

Smart says the spurge laurel seems to expand when cut and some plants are hard to remove.

“You can’t pull that out,” Smart said. “It has to be dug out … I know from personal experience in my own yard. I’ve gone out there and if you cut it, it’s coming back.”

Members get together with gloves and tools, creating an aspect of fellowship out of the tedious task.

“We try to incorporate a lunch, a social, at the end of the work party,” said Sauer.

“We try to keep the work parties relatively short so nobody gets exhausted or bored. You get in there, do the job and you have a social and get to know each other.”

Smart said getting to know the neighbourhood’s residents can be beneficial too.

“It’s getting to know neighbours … in case of emergency, anything like that that happens, you know who’s elderly, it’s a bonding thing that happens and you get to know that they’re just like you, or if they’re not like you, and that’s a real win-win part of it, too,” he said.

It’s about connecting and creating community so neighbours can help each other, according to Sauer.

“I don’t think I would do this if they asked me to go down to another part of the city and pull Daphne,” said Smart. “It’s because it’s my community, it’s my park, it’s almost stewardship. This is where I live.”

“We’ve taken out so much, it’s just amazing and actually you can see, where you can look and you don’t see any Daphne now,” said Sauer.

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read