From the President - Working Together

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work with others on several different projects that greatly affect our industry of turf managers. I hope this president’s message will be a positive one of how working together has been a significant benefit to the turf industry. 

The most recent collaborative work came chairing the 2018 WCTA conference education/speaker committee. This committee, from a diverse group of individuals and from many different sectors of the turf industry, has come together over the past four months to help produce a fantastic speaker lineup for the WCTA annual conference and tradeshow. Everyone contributed to speaker suggestions and production of events. I believe you have heard this comment from me before, slightly modified, but between the groups we had one good brain. As our Executive Director, Jerry Rousseau said “I would have never been able to come up with this on my own” and Warren Blue indicated, “I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this process”. Right from the beginning the committee pulled together to produce a high-end educational event that all sectors of the turf industry will benefit from.

Another opportunity that I need to share with you is also recent, and has to do with Metro Vancouver’s NEW drinking water management plan. This has two parts of working together, the first was working with a different department within the city’s framework. You may be unaware, that in most cities, the Engineering department is responsible for potable water; so many golf courses have to rely on another entity for their most vital resource. Can you imagine if the engineering department was at odds with the Parks/Golf department??? Let me just say, it would be disastrous. However, this collaborative effort between the City of Burnaby’s Parks (Golf) and Engineering departments was a smashing success. Both professional groups came together for the common good to protect the city’s assets and positively influenced Metro Vancouver regarding water usage. 

The second part to this story of successfully working together started two years ago when AGA-BC, the BCGSA, and the WCTA worked together to begin the process of influence. To make a long story short, these groups worked together to influence/change Metro Vancouver’s water use strategy after the drought of 2015. Not that we won’t see another drought, that would be awesome if we had that much influence, but that by influencing Metro’s conservation strategy, we controlled how to use water on our properties through a “water use plan”. Metro changed from a model of restriction, (i.e.) watering once per week on fairways at stage 2 and no water on fairways at stage 3, to a model of conservation of percent reduction at each stage. The model of percent reduction allows the turf manager to water based on science and research rather than putting as much water out as possible once per week. 

Sorry, I can’t resist, but check out the new research by Conner Olsen at OSU who indicates that frequency of water application is more important than amount. This new research was referenced in meetings with Metro and indicates up to 50% reduction in water use is attainable. Again SORRY, but research comes to save the day….and working together! 

I hope you can see that working together benefits us all.  

Peter Sorokovsky
WCTA President