2018 Year-End Member Update

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

Finding a single word to describe 2018 is difficult, perhaps peculiar fits while change and busy both come to mind.  It’s been highly productive yet the new normal seems like each year is very different than the last in terms of industry wide challenges.  Having had a chance to speak with many of our members, it’s much the same at every level and if there was just one reason to be part of the WCTA, it would be to continue moving the turf management industry forward together.


If you missed submitting 2018 dues, please give Leslie a call at (604) 888-7759.
2019 dues invoices will be emailed end-November, please take care of these as soon as you can.  Less admin = better member services.
2019 conference registration will begin in early December.  Expect a delegate registration package with your copy of the Dec/Jan Turf Line News.
November and December 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.
Office hours between December 24th and Jan 2nd are reduced 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

Arguably the best conference and trade show in the last decade, our 55th annual event, held for the first time at the River Rock Casino Resort, was a big hit!  In the early planning stages it was difficult to predict uptake but strong supplier support of the trade show was a good first sign.  Blowing through our room block was the next positive indicator and fortunately we were able to secure an extra 100 rooms.  When the dust settled, total attendance surpassed expectations (500+) and feedback from all angles was excellent.  There were some minor production glitches but a new venue tends to do that.  Thank-you for attending, next year is going to be even better!

Many WCTA field days took place at UBC in days gone by and it was great to head back this past June to the Vancouver Whitecaps National Soccer Development Centre.  Hosted by Gary Bartley, participants sat in on a talk by Dr. Eric Lyons of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and tour of the impressive Whitecaps FC training centre.

Organized by our First Green coordinator Stan Kazymerchyk, the talk and demo held at Two Eagles during this year’s Exchange Tournament was well received.  First Green, a great community outreach program, is designed to teach grade school kids about STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) using a golf course or sportsfield as a learning lab and hosted by the course superintendent or sportsturf manager.  The WCTA is the only Canadian First Green licensee currently but we’re hopeful the program catches on across Canada and it looks like the Northern BCGSA Chapter will host a series of First Green events next summer!

Sports Turf Canada and WCTA partnered on an annual sportsturf field day once again, held for the first time in Edmonton, hosted by Leanne Nadwidny and City of Edmonton Parks staff.  Dr. Casey Reynolds, Turgrass Producers International Executive Director, reinforced the benefits of turf to those who take care of it on a daily basis while Jason Pick from Olds College gave attendees a review of turf management best practices and finally, Tab Buckner from the Township of Langley brought forward some synthetic turf maintenance pointers.

Outreach and Advocacy

In a way, when industry advocacy was added to our mandate in 2015, it was to make official the pesticide issue work we were already doing with regulators.  At the time, I’m not sure we expected the need for advocacy would grow so much but the WCTA is very well positioned to address new and developing issues affecting the turf management industry.  Increasing water restrictions in particular have been a handful and most recently, the proposed WorksafeBC roll bar requirement for all ‘mobile equipment’ has kept us busy along with our usual interaction with Health Canada’s ongoing re-evaluation of individual pesticides products.

The WCTA continues to help drive AGA-BC initiatives and made a special contribution of $10,000 early in 2018.  The WCTA Board understands the golf industry faces many issues and has left the final decision on how best to use the funds up to AGA-BC Directors.  Some of the money helped support a visit to Victoria on May 28 that raised golf industry awareness within government; the WCTA was pleased to work with the Club Managers, BC Golf Marketing Alliance and the BC Golf Association in this capacity. 

The Japanese beetle incursion into Vancouver may seem like a distant problem for most turf managers in the province but it could become a very big deal in the coming years 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 heavily involved as a stakeholder since this particular beetle is very problematic for all turf sectors, especially short mowed and irrigated, and 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 and others.  Meanwhile, we’ve just released a golf and sportsturf industry potential economic impact study of this pest written by Jim Ross.

Turf Research and Education

The WCTA is a firm believer in the value of turf, the value of turf managers and the need to continue researching turf management.  The scientific process has been a critical component in the evolution of our industry and continues to drive us forward, operating in the background, advancing the field 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 2018, $29,000 was raised to fund research projects surpassing last year’s total of $23,418!  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 $15,000 approved for the Guelph Turfgrass Institute’s new ‘Environmental Turfgrass Outreach Project’.   The latter is a unique effort in Canada aimed at educating public stakeholders and the various end users of turfgrass facilities about the benefits of turf.

The WCTA’s management contract with the Canadian Turf Research Foundation is now into its second year.  It took several months over the summer of 2016 to develop and execute a service contract and by April 2017 the transition from CGSA was completed.  Much of our time since then has been restructuring and updating the operation, ie. full financial review, major content updates to the turfresearchcanada website, creation of a project tracking tool and many other administrative functions.  While more work is pending, the CTRF is now ready to begin strategic planning and execution and we’d like to welcome Northwest Turfgrass Association as the newest and only international member.    

Odds and Ends

Student member rate drops to $35 for 2019.  Application for 2019 student awards, up to $2500 in total, is now open.
Congratulations to 14 retired WCTA members this year!
We welcomed 73 new members to the association this year!

What’ Next

Our current administrative focus is completing our 2018 fiscal year-end, preparing for 2019 dues invoicing and Dec/Jan Turf Line News publication.
We’re also in full conference production mode and we hope to see you at the River Rock Casino Resort February 20-22, 2019.
Development of new and powerful software to manage the CEC points program was put on hold about a year ago due to higher priorities but work has now resumed and we hope to have it launched for the 2019 conference.
The Board has begun planning for 2019 and beyond, more to come on this by conference time!

To close, note that much of our event planning and member service programming for 2019 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 2019!

Jerry Rousseau
Executive Director Western Canada Turfgrass Association