Blackberry-picking a priority in Oak Bay

A resident concerned about the future of the blackberries in Uplands Park put a stop to their culling on Tuesday, July 16

A resident concerned about the future of the blackberries in Uplands Park put a stop to their culling on Tuesday, July 16, when “general maintenance” in the park may have devastated neighbours’ chances at that perfect summer pie.

The district’s parks department began to clear the blackberry bushes on the Midland Road side of Uplands, when the  Margaret Lidkea alerted staff of the usual berry-picking in the area. Although a significant swath of the bushes were removed with a flail mower, staff decided to hold off on the rest until the berries had finished their season.

“This is very usual bi-annual maintenance that we must do to keep the storm water run-off drain clear,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of Parks Services. “However, we realize there are people in the area who look forward to these berries each year, so we made the decision to wait until the berries have ripened.”

The drainage ditch, which Hyde-Lay says fills entirely with water in the winter, can become severely clogged due to the dense brush.

“Many Oak Bay residents enjoy picking blackberries from the site, and so I would like to say thank you to parks staff for delaying the necessary removal of the bushes. It was very kind of them,” said Lidkea.

Parks services will reassess when to remove the remaining bushes in the coming months.

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