2019 Year-End Member Update

Prepared by Jerry Rousseau

On behalf of the WCTA Board and staff, we appreciate your involvement and confidence in our efforts to support turf management professionals in western Canada.  This summary report is somewhat of a score card, reflecting upon the past 12 months of association accomplishments and industry activities.

2019 was a really good year for growing grass across most of western Canada and it was a great year for the WCTA with a record setting 103 new members!  Of course we lose members too, to retirement, changing jobs, and even competition between associations, but attrition was less than average at just under 12%.

Many of you are in the 10, 15, 20 and even 25+ year membership category but thinking about it a certain way, if 100 or so new members join every year and attrition averages around 80, in eight or nine years we have an entirely new set of members!

Of course it doesn’t actually work that way but the point is, our membership changes and so does the association.  At the same time, top of mind is our foundational mandate of ‘Research, Education, Networking and Advocacy’, keeping us focused, balanced and in tune.  If anyone's wondering, that’s been the secret to our success😀. 

Housekeeping

If you missed submitting 2019 dues, please give Leslie a call at (604) 888-7759.
2020 dues invoices will be emailed early November, please take care of these as soon as you can.  Less admin = better member services.
2020 conference registration will begin in early December.  Expect a delegate registration package with your copy of the Dec/Jan Turf Line News.
November through January are very busy months for the office.  Thanks in advance for your patience, we will respond to requests as quickly as we can in the order received.
The office is officially closed December 23rd and re-opening January 6th but we’ll still be processing member dues submissions and conference registrations so don’t let that stop you from sending these in!

Events and Programs

Once the dust settled from our 56th Annual Conference and Trade Show, held for the 2nd consecutive year at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond this past February, we were able to reflect on the encouraging and positive feedback overflowing from delegates, suppliers, speakers and even event supplier contractors and venue staff!  With 2018’s incredible numbers and three other major shows in the west this year, we planned for a little softer attendance and it turns out we were right, but with just 52 fewer delegates than 2018, it was much less of an impact than expected.  We’re really looking forward to going all-in for 2020 and hope to blow the roof off the River Rock again this year!

Only one First Green event took place this year on May 13 at the Kamloops Golf Club, hosted by WCTA President Travis Olson.  It was, however, one of the best FG events we’ve had with about 40 students participating and zero cell phones coming out for the full duration.

This year’s Sportsfield Training Day came back to BC, hosted by the City of Surrey at South Surrey Athletic Park and produced in partnership with Sports Turf Canada.  A little later than usual, the October 2nd date was risky considering the typical wet, west coast fall weather but the sun was shining and it was a terrific day for about 150 friends and colleagues who joined organizers for a full day of education, networking, on-field demonstrations and a comprehensive turf industry supplier and service provider trade show.

Outreach and Advocacy

As our most recently added member sanctioned mandate, advocating for the turf management industry and turf managers has been a big job for the past decade and no one really knows when or where the next issue will arise.  Case in point, working with WorksafeBC individually and through AGA-BC for the past 12 months on proposed requirements for light frame / slow moving vehicles, AKA golf carts, has been a lot of effort.  That isn’t meant to sound like a complaint; we’ve made immense progress and in fact on October 22nd, further amendments to the proposed Mobile Equipment regulation were released exempting golf carts from the ROPS requirement.  

The Japanese beetle incursion into Vancouver may seem like a distant problem for most WCTA members but it will become a lot of trouble if something isn’t done now.  To quote the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Economic Risk Assessment, “The golf course sector may have the most to lose if Japanese beetle becomes established in the province.”  The WCTA is involved as a stakeholder since this particular beetle is very problematic for all sectors, especially short mowed and irrigated turf, plus it’s a notorious hitch-hiker.  The Invasive Species Council of BC is spearheading control efforts with multiple partners involved including the City of Vancouver, BCLNA, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and others.  

The WCTA continues to help drive Allied Golf Association of BC initiatives and made a special contribution of $10,000 in 2018.  Unfortunately, additional funding wasn’t available in 2019 however our two representatives, Trevor Smith and I, spent considerable time over the past 12 months working alongside other key industry organizations to address the multiple golf sectors’ common issues.

Turf Research and Education

The WCTA has talked a lot about the value of turf in recent years, along with the value of turf managers.  The scientific process toward turf research has been a critical component in the evolution of our industry and continues to drive us forward, operating in the background, advancing the field by improving knowledge and education, and providing solutions to everyday challenges.  As the industry finds itself increasingly engaged in advocacy efforts, there is great need to detail and quantify all the good things that turf does for us.

In 2019, $31,265 was raised to fund research projects surpassing last year’s total of $29,000!  We will continue making great efforts to support turf managers from all sectors and thank everyone for your contributions.

This year’s project funding included $4,000 toward the Canadian Turf Research Foundation annual contribution and $10,000 USD was approved for Oregon State University’s project ‘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 management contract with the Canadian Turf Research Foundation was renewed this past summer after 3 years of service.  Over that first stretch, much time was spent restructuring and updating daily operations while more recently, the focus has been strategic planning and aligning the CTRF purpose and activities with Canada Revenue requirements for charities to ensure continued and meaningful collaborative turf research efforts within very stringent regulations.

Odds and Ends

We welcomed 103 new and returning members this year, a new record!
Congratulations to 12 retired WCTA members this year!
Application for 2020 student awards, up to $2500 in total, is now open.
New and powerful CEC point tracking software is still under development and while we’ve run into some bugs with data upload, system tests are expected to begin by mid-December.
The new IPM Manual for Turf Managers, a free online resource funded entirely by the BC Ministry of Environment, is still being worked on by AGA-BC but is very near completion with release expected soon.

What’s Next

Our current administrative focus is completing the 2019 fiscal year-end, preparing for 2020 dues invoicing and Dec/Jan Turf Line News publication.
We’re also in full conference production mode and hope to see you at the River Rock Casino Resort February 11-13, 2020!
Board and staff have begun planning for 2020 and beyond, more to come on this by conference time!

To close, note that much of our event planning and member service programming takes place alongside conference production over the coming months.  If you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions on any of the association’s functions, now is a great time to let us know.

See You in 2020!