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Shredded Scotch broom to help fuel Harmac pulp mill

NANAIMO — The City of Nanaimo has found a use for Scotch broom. The noxious weed will be shredded and burned as hog fuel to power the Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo.
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Broombusters member Joanne Sales grasps Scotch broom at the Nanaimo fire-training yard.

NANAIMO — The City of Nanaimo has found a use for Scotch broom.

The noxious weed will be shredded and burned as hog fuel to power the Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo.

This year for the first time, the city helped members of the public control the noxious weed by putting collection bins at three locations in May.

Enough broom was collected to more than fill a five-ton truck. It was shredded Thursday at a ceremonial “burning of the broom” event at the fire-training yard on Labieux Road.

No broom was actually burned at the event. That happens at the mill.

Judy Borserio, of Nanaimo, was there to witness the event. She is a volunteer with Broombusters, which organizes broom-bashing events around the Island. “It’s very addictive, if you’ve never done it,” Borserio said.

She does it to give native plants a leg up. “It looks better once you get it cleaned up,” she said.

Nanaimo residents were able to drop broom in bins at Woodgrove Centre, North Nanaimo Town Centre and Nanaimo Recycling Centre during May.

“If people want to remove it, it’s their responsibility to get it to the site,” said Gail Pasaluko, city parks horticulture supervisor.

Meanwhile, city parks officials have started work to control some bigger infestations of giant hogweed, an invasive plant that causes serious skin burns and blisters.

The weed reaches towering heights during the summer.