WCTA Executive Director Report - Summer 2019

The 2019 season is well underway and to prove it, the days are about as long and nice as they’re going to be all year. 

Hopefully you’ve hit your stride and at this point, everything is on track.  You might even get a chance to catch your breath after a busy spring and enjoy the few remaining pre-mosquito days!

57th Annual Conference and Trade Show Announcement – Feb 11-13, 2020

On April 15th, we announced the 57th Annual Conference and Trade Show will take place at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, BC, for the third straight year.
“If you made it to the last couple conferences, you know the River Rock is a fantastic venue for our conference and trade show,” stated WCTA President Travis Olson.  “If you haven’t, it’s definitely an event you won’t want to miss.” 
Event planning is underway and further information will be released when available.  WCTA Executive Director Jerry Rousseau confessed, “It will be tough to top the last two years at the River Rock but we still have a couple aces up our sleeve!”

Estimated $15-20m Hit To BC Golf Industry If WorkSafe Implements Proposed New Golf Cart Rules

Hopefully, you’re aware of WorkSafeBC proposed amendments to Part 16 of the worker safety regulation, 'Mobile Equipment' that would make roll-over protection and seat belts mandatory on golf carts.
Based on preliminary estimates of $1,500 to $2,000 for upgrades to each cart and an average of 60-75 golf carts per 18-hole golf course, cost could easily range from $90,000 to $150,000 per course with the total expense to the BC Golf Industry estimated between $15m and $20m! 
Previously, golf carts were exempt from needing roll-bars and seatbelts.  Proposed changes apply to work carts and beverage carts, marshal carts and even carts driven by a golf professional during a lesson.  All employees operating a golf cart at any time during work are protected by the proposed new rules and there may be other scenarios where new rules would apply, ie. a golf pro or other staff employed at Golf Course A playing golf at Course B.
A far greater concern however, is Worksafe’s determination that non-golf course workers are captured under this provision.  Specifically, employees playing in a corporate or charity event are considered workers under this policy and the rules would apply (that’s why 60-75 or more golf carts would need to be fitted with roll bars and seat belts).
The amendment process is in the final stages of public hearings.  I attended a hearing in Kamloops on April 30th, finding myself surrounded by loggers, construction contractors and road builders, all potentially negatively affected by proposed amendments to the regulation.  A common theme – engineering and manufacturing heavy equipment to the standards proposed by Worksafe isn’t possible due to material physics limitations.  In other words, equipment made to meet the new standards would be too heavy to operate.  Also, concern was expressed over ambiguity of the proposed amendments that would leave interpretation up to individual WorkSafe officers.
The WCTA is also working on this issue through the BC Allied Golf Association and met with WorkSafeBC officials on June 18 to clarify requirements of the new regulations, express concerns of their effect on the sportsturf and golf management industry and offer possible alternative solutions to any perceived safety issues.  A final decision from WorkSafeBC is expected this fall.

Member Programming and Events

The first, WCTA sponsored First Green event of 2019 was hosted by WCTA President, Travis Olson and the Kamloops Golf and Country Club on May 13th.  About forty local grade 8 and 9 students were bussed to the golf course to participate, along with their teachers.
     o On the organization and execution of the Kamloops Golf Club event, host superintendent Travis Olson admitted, “I was a little stressed in the initial planning stages but it wasn’t hard to put together.  The learning lessons themselves are easy to present because you’re really just talking about something you know very well.  The key is to remember that a lot of kids may never have been on a golf course before so keeping the presentation simple is important.  They were very enthusiastic and loved the hands on component of the lessons.”

Information coming soon on a sportsfield field day planned for early September and hosted by the City of Surrey.  

Turf Research and Education

2019 project funding has been announced with $4,000 earmarked for our annual Canadian Turf Research Foundation contribution and $10,000 USD approved for the Oregon State University project titled, “Comparing Iron Sulfate Versus Chelated Iron for the Suppression of Microdochium Patch on Annual Bluegrass Putting Greens in the Presence and Absence of Phosphorous Acid.”
The WCTA’s three-year management contract with the Canadian Turf Research Foundation ends July 31st.  Both Boards have agreed to a one-year extension option.  The current CTRF focus is a full review of the organization’s purpose and rewrite of antiquated bylaws.  Pretty dry stuff but necessary to ensure we are able to advance turf research priorities into the future.

There a lot more happening at many different levels.  Subscribe to our newsletter and follow along at www.wcta-online.com for more news, information and updates.

Respectfully submitted,
Jerry Rousseau, WCTA Executive Director
(604) 869-WCTA (9282)