Director's Reports for 2013 AGM

200P WCTA_BOARD_logoWCTA Director Portfolio Reports for 2013 AGM


Keith Lyall, Vice President – Sun Peaks Resort:  Health and Safety

Many of you have heard of go2BC and their Certificate of Recognition (COR) program.  This program offers discounts on WorkSafeBC premiums to companies that have extensive training, health and safety, emergency preparedness and return-to-work systems. These systems are currently required by WorkSafe but the difference is in order to get certification you need an outside auditor to review prior to certification and every four years after that.  The years between need to be audited by a certified internal auditor.  These internal audits also need to be submitted to go2 upon completion. If the company’s systems meet go2’s standard, they’re looking at a 20% savings on their premiums.

Sound good? Here is the catch - go2 represents the tourism and hospitality industry sub-sectors, but does not extend COR to the “Industry Groups” within those sub-sectors. What it is really based on is WorkSafe’s classification units (cu) for industry. The current “go2 industry partners” have agreed they will support go2 with their premiums paid to WorkSafe, which will go up slightly in order to cover costs. Currently, those of us in golf maintenance, Classification Unit 761031: Golf Course, Driving Range, Pitch and Putt, or Lawn Bowling Facility, are not an industry partner. The NGCOA did meet with go2 but at that time the association thought it was too much for golf to have yet another increase in these tough economic times.

When I had heard that the NGCOA had declined partnering with go2 I was disappointed, then I did some quick calculations on savings golf courses would realize. For argument’s sake, your annual payroll is one million per year, at our current rate of $1.43/$100 of assessable payroll, your company pays $14,300/year. If your company achieves COR with Return to Work program for injured workers, the total yearly saving is $2860. Not great but not terrible.

So then I looked at costs to achieve these programs.  Fortunately, Sun Peaks Resort Corporation (SPRC) sent me to go2’s Internal Auditors Course and other training focusing on BMPs over the years. So this is what I came up with in order for a golf course with a million dollar payroll (maintenance only) to create and maintain these programs to meet COR standards.

First the hidden costs; Superintendent’s time to evaluate risk of tasks, create procedures/checklists and other associated paperwork…..I think, based on my experience, 4 to 6 weeks if you’re starting from scratch. Then factor at least 1 -2 weeks per year to maintain, update and monitor performance.

Hard costs for initial certification: • Internal auditor course $149 plus expenses • External auditor $1500 - $2500 expenses included (depending on your location to nearest auditor) • Posters, training resources and associated supplies $500 to $1000 (depending on how elaborate you want to go)

So at the high end, costs to get certified can reach $3800 in hard cost and say $5000 for labour for a total of $8800. Add the total savings over four years, $11,440 minus costs equals a savings of $2640 over four years, or $660/year. Remember that this calculation is for start-up only and does not factor in labour required for yearly maintenance nor do we discuss the use of professional help to assist meeting COR standards.

In my opinion, at this time with our cu rates where they are, there is no need to become a partner with go2.

All that being said, it’s important to know that in 2011 or premiums in this cu were $1.07/$100, in 2012 they were $1.28 and now $1.43 - this is the wrong direction we want to go. Comparatively, ski hills pay $3.73/$100.

Keith Lyall, Vice President – Sun Peaks Resort:  Environment

We have all heard the recommendation made by BC Special Committee on Pesticides, and God knows I don’t want to get into that, but I do want to mention the possibility of turf professionals needing further certification. What that will be is unclear at this point; at the board level, I can tell you that we have kick around terms like, Red Seal or Journeymen. We have also discussed the use of outside accreditation companies such as Audubon, GEO and ISO.

A few of us have also discussed the possibility of our own set of standards based on our unique climates and regions. These standards would need to be audited, but how about evaluation from our peers.  My thought is we self-police and report to the Ministry annually.

The fact is things are likely to change in order to apply these much need products but we are much better off if we can make the change instead of others making it for us.

Keith Lyall, Vice President – Sun Peaks Resort:  Website and Social Media

Again I would like to start off thanking Dena for her continued work on maintaining the WCTA Facebook page. Also, thanks to Jeff Sutherland and his team at Inside Golf for a much more modern and informative website,

For me I’ve started a Twitter account, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s so cool to see others and their challenges on the job. @supersproblems has to be one the most interesting things I have seen in social media. I also enjoy the updated news and sports but guys like @bcgolfsuper, @MrPG1869 and @Gixxer60_0 keep me in stiches through the day. So if you are like me and have resisted social media but realize you’re behind the times, I recommend Twitter, no fuss and easy to use.

Respectfully, Keith Lyall Follow me on twitter @Keith_Lyall.

Larry Olson – Penticton Golf Club:  Allied Associations

As my tenure winds down as a director on the WCTA board I feel I can leave knowing that the WCTA is in good hands.  No actually I feel it's in great hands.  Our executive director, Jerry Rousseau has a firm hold on the reins of our association.  That being said he is leading the association in the direction given by its members and directors.  Jerry is always looking for input from members, whether it is questioning our direction or helping to direct it, so please if there is something that concerns you, then it's worth your time to contact a director or our executive director.  I've never worked with a group quicker to respond to the concerns of its membership.  The only way you as a member will ever know how much work goes on behind the scenes of your WCTA is to get on the board or join a committee, which I encourage each and every one of you to do at some time in your career.  Sorry to sound like a broken record, but our association is only as strong as its members.  As we all know our industry is facing many challenges and these challenges need strong association representation to face them head on.  The days of burying our heads in sand are gone, so please come forward from whatever sector of our industry you are in and add your input, the board and your association need you.

Again, it's been my pleasure serving as director of the WCTA for you the members.   

Larry Olson

Trevor Smith - Keso Turf Supplies:  Industry Liaison, Publicity & Media

As the business of golf changes and evolves, so does the need to be “present” as an Association, with the large portion of the industry who faithfully support the WCTA and its members, “the Industry”. Without Industry support many of the directives of the Association would not able to be carried out.

Over the past 2 years a database of all Industry representatives has been compiled with the objective of being able to better communicate the pressures and issues the business is facing. This database will better enable us to communicate with Industry from all our Allied Associations and to enlist their feedback and support.

As I mentioned in my last portfolio report, with the change in the economy and the Turf Industry, the need to let others outside the Turf Industry know what value our Association and its members provide to the economy is imperative. This is where our Media and Publicity approach must begin!

Over the past year, our continued and devoted involvement with the AGA-BC reflects our last years goal of developing a very viable presence in the Golf and Turf Industry. We worked closely to develop and finalize the AGA-BC constitution, provide expertise and administration in support of the AGA-BC’s pesticide stance and played a significant in the development and execution of the 1st symposium on golf, as put on by the AGA-BC.

We are making our presence known, we are at the table and we are contributing and making a difference!

Sincerely, Trevor Smith

Peter Sorokovsky - City of Burnaby, Superintendent of Golf Operations:  Research

Another enjoyable year serving our great membership on the WCTA Board of Directors has come and gone and at the end of 2012 I will have served 5 years. I find myself asking the question where does the time go? I guess when one enjoys doing something time flies just as it has with my time on the WCTA Board. This year was no different than previous ones in that we have old and new challenges to our industry. I hope in 2013 we continue to grow our great association and you will consider contacting me with any of your concerns/suggestions as we move forward in our industry with the WCTA Board and Executive Director.

The portfolio I was involved with this past year was “Research”. As the Research Chairperson, I see the hard work that was put in by the Board in past years coming to fruition as other associations look to the WCTA for leadership. We have partnered with the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation and the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation to streamline our calls for proposal (CFP). In 2012 one national CFP went out and we received a record number, for the WCTA, submissions. Excellent news except for our research funding is less than past years and the committee will have difficulty selecting from the 16 strong submissions. So, for 2013 this will be one of our main focuses; to put our full effort towards increasing our fundraising. Our goal to be the funding hub of Turfgrass Research in the Pacific Northwest is still before us and with your continued support we can ensure that we accomplish it.

In the past year we supported the CGSA at their annual field day held at Oliver’s Nk’Mip Canyon Golf Course. During the event the popular “Make the Snake” raised money for research. We have other events and partners that also helped raise money for research in 2012 and I want to take the opportunity to thank all our partners that have supported Turfgrass Research by donating to the WCTA.

On another note the WCTA had the desired influence in our industry and with the Provincial Government in helping us win a pesticide use battle. However the war is far from over and I believe research will be the spearhead that will keep our use of pesticides viable in an ever increasing environmentally sensitive society. As a strong voice for Turfgrass Research and the Golf Industry I look forward to my involvement continuing in 2013 as a WCTA Board Director and as your Research Chairperson.

Respectfully submitted, Peter Sorokovsky

Brett Lamontagne - Mid-Island Landscaping:  Government Liaison  

My roll as government liaison for 2012 has quieted down from the previous year. The NDP now has me on their mailing list which is like being on the force of nature mailing list except Gathercole and company have not asked me for money yet. The old adage of keep your friends close and your enemies closer definitely applies in both cases.

We have an election in BC coming up shortly. I am going to pose the following question to all party leaders. “If elected government, will your party impose a pesticide ban of any kind on this province. Yes or no answer only.” I am interested in seeing the responses from all the illustrious leaders.

I wish to let my name stand for another two year term as director. I believe I can be an asset in dealing with some of the political garbage coming our way. The world of landscaping has opened my eyes to the misinformation that is out there about turf management. The worst offenders for this are the so called environmentalists. I have really learned to bite my tongue and let them hang themselves.

Kind Regards Brett Lamontagne

Brett Finlayson – Arbutus Ridge Golf Club:  Professional Development and Education

In 2012, I took over the reins from Kevin Neufeld in managing the Mentor Booth at the WCTA Conference and Trade Show in Victoria. I felt there were few hiccups and the booth went well considering it was my first year at the helm. I would like to thank Kevin and Jerry Rousseau for the assistance in making the transition successful. I would also like to say thank you to all the participants of the 2012 Mentor Booth for making it a success. It was a great opportunity for new “turfies” to meet some of the top professionals within our industry and hopefully there were some great connections made.

Heading into the 2013 conference, I felt the need to be more organized and have a proper game plan setup for this task. Creating a procedures list along with a timeline for the Mentor Booth has made this process much more enjoyable and less stressful. This will also make future transitions of this task onto new board members that much easier.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Penticton at our 50th Annual Conference and Trade Show and hopes everyone has a great time. Here is to a successful 2013!

Respectfully submitted, Brett Finlayson

Jason Pick – Olds College:  Professional Development and Education

It has been my pleasure to contribute to the progress of the WCTA, as a board member partnering with Mr. Finlayson, on the Professional Development and Education portfolio.  Furthering the WCTA’s educational reach, I have enjoyed representing the association with seminars in Western Canada at the AGSA, BCGSA, and SATA conferences. 

In addition to these speaking engagements, my primary focus of the portfolio since 2010 has been to investigate, develop, and implement new educational opportunities for our members.  As you might remember in September 2010, a survey was distributed regarding your interest in on-line Golf Course Management training.  With overwhelming response, this started the ball rolling towards the development of an on-line BASc. through Olds College.  With support from our administration, faculty and executive, a significant grant was approved to develop this digital platform.  Although I admit the learning curve has been steep, eighteen months of development have resulted in ten new online courses, incorporating more than 500 hrs. of turf management instruction into an interactive, collaborative experience. 

Through the interest and request of our members, it gives me great pleasure to report that Olds College is now accepting applications for September 2013, to the only online Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Turfgrass Management available in Canada.  

I have nothing but gratitude for those who have shared their advice, opinions and expertise in assisting us reach this educational milestone.  Thanks to our members for providing me the opportunity to contribute to the association and to participate on this esteemed board of professionals.  Executive Director Mr. Jerry Rousseau has been instrumental in our success, and hope you make time to thank him for his tireless efforts, proactively leading our prestigious association.

With gratitude, Jason Pick

Mike Schellenberg – Calgary Board of Education:  Sportsfield Managers

First and foremost I would like to thank the WCTA and all its members for the opportunity to represent you as a director for the past 2 years.  It has been a learning experience to say the least but an experience I value moving forward as I continue to learn and develop within the industry.  I would like to extend a shout out to outgoing President Tab Buckner for all his collaborating efforts in forming a partnership between the WCTA and Sports Turf Association. 

This past June saw our 2 association’s ink a deal that recognizes the STA as the national body for sports turf managers and sees the WCTA as the conduit for STA members hailing from British Columbia and Alberta.  I encourage all members to explore the membership opportunities provided as the resources available apply to all of us with a common goal of growing the best turf possible!.  A reminder of some of the benefits to joining are:

  • A network of experts to assist sports turf managers with their turf problems and field related safety 
  • An online membership directory, invaluable for communicating with professionals in the sports turf industry 
  • An annual educational conference and field day at reduced registration rates 
  • Complimentary subscription to the quarterly magazine containing leading research, STA programs and activities, industry information and coming events; 
  • Educational books, brochures and other materials at reduced rates 
  • Subscriber access to the Michigan State University’s Turfgrass Information File (TGIF), the most comprehensive publicly available collection of turfgrass educational materials in the world, via the Michael J. Bladon educational link 
  • Professional development opportunities and, 
  • Liaison with and support of other turf organizations.

Congratulations Tab on a job well done as President of the WCTA!  

This past year was a busy one at the Calgary Board of Education as we went through the somewhat tedious process of 3 complete Sports Field Renovation projects.  The first project saw the implementation of a Built-up Sand-Capped system installed on one of our most over utilized, poorly drained football fields and the remaining 2 projects saw the complete renovation of 2 elementary school soccer fields.  I look forward to seeing the results of these projects this coming season and would welcome anyone to contact me to discuss the projects in more length.  We are also exploring the opportunity to host a  WCTA TARS (Travelling Annual Road Show) event in Calgary this coming season and would welcome any feedback from members as to ideas they would like to explore. 

Thank you all for your continued support and I wish you all the best in 2013!

Michael Schellenberg