A campaign with the slogan “Leave nothing, take nothing” is being proposed to stop people from picking plants from Point Pleasant Park.
At a meeting Thursday, the Point Pleasant Park Advisory Committee agreed to push for a public awareness campaign. It’s asking the Halifax and West Community Council to request municipal staff to look into the matter.
No one is supposed to pick the plants. The penalty for violating this Municipal Parks Bylaw is a fine between $100 and $10,000.
But people still pick plants, said Paula Minnikin, the president of the advisory committee, at the meeting.
“I have personally spoken to people with Sobeys bags and said ‘hi, you can’t really take that bag full of plants out of the park,’” Minnikin said.
She described one area, near Sailors Memorial Way, where people tend to pick a lot of plants, usually in the early morning during the spring and summer months.
“If you go down there in spring, what you take a picture of one week, the next week there are half as many and there’s holes,” said Minnikin. “It is pretty obvious.”
Lady’s Slippers, Mayflowers, Irises, various orchids and some of the tubers existed in Point Pleasant Park when it was used as a residential area when Halifax was first settled. But they are the plants that easily become targeted by plant pickers.
“Those are obviously things that we would not replant. So when we lose them, we lose them for forever,” said Minnikin. “It is really difficult to regenerate the actual seeds, tubers and roots of the plants.”
Stephen Rice, supervisor of major parks in the Halifax Regional Municipality, said most of the complaints or calls through 311 about plant picking are about Point Pleasant Park.
Minnikin said some people may forage plants for their medicinal or edible properties, however, she reminds them that “it is against the law to take plants out of the park.”
As for berries, they are allowed to be taken from Point Pleasant since they fall from the tree and can regrow, said Coun. Waye Mason.
There are more than 700 public parks in the HRM. Rice said the no-picking campaign would apply to all parks, not just Point Pleasant.
If approved, people could see “Do Not Pick the Plants” signs sprouting up.