• Carmen Marie Fabio

Wanted – Dead!

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Hudson Parks and Recreation Director Julia Schroeder is launching an initiative to have residents clean their properties of ragweed by offering a bounty on every kilo of the offending weed brought to her office at the community center with a special prize being offered to the winner.

With ragweed season in full bloom, the Town of Hudson is launching an innovative way of inviting citizen involvement in clearing private property of the allergen by putting a bounty of $0.10 a kilo on the loathsome crop. And Parks and Recreation Director Julia Schroeder has decided to make the payout even more interesting by upping the ante.

“I personally will offer $100 of my own money as a reward for the person who brings in the most ragweed by the cut-off date,” she said. Until September 14, residents are asked to bring the harvested weed, roots included, to the Parks and Recreation office at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, 394 Main Road, where it will be weighed and paid. Plants must not have been treated with pesticides and dirt from the roots must be shaken clean.

A reader had contacted Your Local Journal earlier in the week highlighting the prolific ragweed growth along the shoulders of Cameron Street and asked how the town’s administration planned to deal with the presence of the weed on municipally owned property.

“The town will be having the sides of the local roads cut again (as we did in June) to reduce any impact,” said interim Director General Duncan Campbell in an email.

Ragweed is typically most bothersome for hay fever sufferers between the beginning of August to the first frost and, according to the Quebec Lung Association, is found growing primarily along railway tracks, sidewalk edges, construction sites, and vacant lots. It is responsible for allergic reactions in approximately 17.5 per cent of the population.

Schroeder is asking homeowners to be vigilant of ragweed growing on their own property and, even if not taking part in the $0.10 challenge to either pull or mow the offending plant. “It’s considerably more damaging to our health than the threat posed by wild parsnip, yet is not currently in the public eye,” said Schroeder. She adds it’s also an issue which involves our entire region, not just Hudson. Schroeder will be spreading the word around town by hanging the old-western themed, bilingual posters, created by Hudson resident Kelly Deegan at public locales.

“I have asked the AMT (Agence métropolitaine de transport) to clean up its right of way especially west of the Hudson station where the tracks are no longer operated,” wrote Campbell. “They have answered today (August 17) that they will start tomorrow. Typically, rights of way are ripe with all sorts of weeds and certainly as we ask our residents to keep their properties clean, the AMT is no exception.”

This year, the contest is open to Hudson residents but Schroeder plans to challenge neighbouring communities in a friendly competition to take up the same initiative in coming years.

Contest is open until September 14 at 12 p.m. (noon) and the winner of the greatest haul of ragweed, plus the crisp new $100 bill – will be announced in the September 17 edition of Your Local Journal.

For more information, contact Julia Schroeder at julias@hudson.quebec.

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