Sports Turf Canada Dissolves Partnership Agreement

by WCTA Staff

On March 8, 2024, Sports Turf Canada (STC) Directors voted to dissolve the decade plus long partnership agreement with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA).

In an official letter of notification received by the WCTA on March 25th, Rory Doucette, STC President stated, “It has been discussed and voted on by the Sports Turf Canada Board of Directors to Terminate the Letter of Understanding between the Western Canada Turfgrass Association and Sports Turf Canada.”

After months of discussion, on July 7, 2012, what was then called STA and the WCTA, jointly announced a formalized, 5-year partnership agreement between the two organizations.  The agreement was renewed for another 5 years in 2017 and a non-term renewal was executed March 2, 2023 with amendments.

Among other things, the agreement was originally designed to endorse STA as the national body for the promotion of better, safer sports turf in Canada and as the Canadian International Affiliate Organization of the USA-based Sports Turf Managers Association (now called SFMA).  It also intended to protect and foster a strong regional organization by avoiding competition for members and unnecessary duplication of services/administration.

Shortly after agreement execution, several initiatives started taking shape designed with partnership forging in mind.  For example, WCTA representatives travelled to Ontario to tour the Guelph office and research station and to participate in the 2012 STA Field Day held at the Ontario Soccer Centre.  Meanwhile, STA representatives had already travelled west to attend the 2012 WCTA conference in Victoria.  

By 2013, WCTA began actively promoting STA and collecting dues on their behalf by including an option for ½ price membership on annual dues invoices for WCTA members from BC and Alberta.  40 WCTA members joined STA by 2013 fiscal year-end and that number has grown to over 90 joint members presently.

In 2014, Sports Turf Canada was incorporated and collaboration started ramping up.  WCTA representatives attended the STMA conference jointly with STC representatives, participating in meetings with the STMA Board.

2016 saw our first major event partnership with the inaugural ‘Alberta Sports Turf Field Day’ hosted by the City of Calgary.  Generally on an alternating basis between BC and AB, these events continued subsequently as follows:

  •  2016 City of Calgary, host Norley Calder
  •  2017 Aldergrove, host Tab Buckner
  •  2018 Edmonton, host Leanne Nadwidny
  •  2019 South Surrey, host Hugh Norris
  •  2020 and 2021 cancelled due to COVID
  •  2022 City of Kamloops, host Mike DeCicco
  •  2023 District of North Vancouver, host Nick Barbour

Moving forward
The WCTA will no longer collect STC dues for BC and Alberta WCTA members.  At the same time, anyone from BC or Alberta wishing to join STC will no longer need to be a WCTA member first.  Specific details about this transition will be emailed to affected members.

Other implications of the agreement’s dissolution are not yet known and while potential to collaborate remains, WCTA Executive Director, Jerry Rousseau, stated, “Unfortunately, dissolution puts us back at square one.  The whole idea of a formal agreement is to layout the necessary groundwork for partnered efforts and not having something on paper seriously limits what we can do together.  Even something as simple as co-producing an event requires clarity and structure.”  

He added, “From the perspective of the WCTA Board, the agreement remained sound and enabled a decade long successful partnership between our two groups.  No agreement is perfect and while there have certainly been growing pains and unintended consequences along the way, I have no doubt that we have moved the needle in the right direction by working together over the past 12 years.”