Letter Sent to BC Tourism Minister Over Golf Cart ROPS Issue Triggers Media Flurry

By WCTA Staff

A flurry of media coverage has ensued after release of a letter sent to BC Tourism Minister Lisa Beare by opposition MLA’s supporting golf industry concerns over WorkSafeBC’s 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.

The first mainstream print article appeared end of August, written by Black Press’s political columnist, Tom Fletcher and titled 'Seat belt requirement a double bogey, B.C. golf industry says'.  The piece was run by a wide variety of syndicated community news outlets across the province including The Abbotsford News – see the following link:

Picked up by Global News several days later, videojournalist Kylie Stanton presented a piece called, 'A very stupid idea’: Industry slams proposed golf cart seat belt rules', run as a live segment on September 4th and 5th.

The letter of support, signed by Doug Clovechok, MLA Columbia River-Revelstoke and Michelle Stilwell, MLA Parksville Qualicum, reflected many components of the WCTA’s submission to WorkSafeBC last October and the recently released powerpoint presented to Kootenay superintendents in July by WCTA Executive Director, Jerry Rousseau.

Rousseau stated, “While there’s a lot more lobbying to do, opposition party support is helpful and I’m glad the WCTA’s work on this issue was put to good use.”  He added, “Media coverage is a mixed blessing in that it generates awareness but the ‘stupid idea’ segment capitalizes on a certain tone of disbelief that may not bode well for our continued discussions with WorkSafe.”

Initial media coverage implied WorkSafeBC would rescind its proposal to make rollover protection mandatory on golf carts while the Global segment quotes WorkSafeBC spokesperson Ralph Eastman saying, “Based on stakeholder feedback, WorkSafeBC intends to limit the proposed changes to golf-course workers only, and workers in other industries where golf carts may be used.  The proposed changes would not affect the public or golfers.”

It goes on to say “There are indications that WorkSafeBC is backing down from proposed new regulations B.C.’s golf courses say would have been disastrous,”  however neither the WCTA nor the Allied Golf Association of BC has received confirmation from WorkSafe that the issue is dead.  Rather, the two groups were told that feedback would be considered and if there was "more than a tweak to the proposed amendments," another round of industry and public consultation would be required before going to the WorkSafe Board of Directors for a final decision.