Presidents Message Feb/Mar 2020

The new year is always a great time to reflect on the past. Looking back, 2019 was a great year for the Western Canada Turfgrass Association. We accomplished many goals and reached some key milestones that we had set out as an association. We also dealt with an unexpected curve ball with the WorkSafe BC Roll Over Protection amendments.

Looking back to the 2019 Conference and Trade Show, we started the year off on the right foot after another successful show at the River Rock in Richmond. This was the second year in a row we held the conference at this venue, and we received a great deal of good feedback. The conference (with the help of the Kwantlen Turf students) raised over $11,000 for turfgrass research and generated a strong net revenue for the association. This made it an easy choice to return here in 2020 for a third year.

The Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation voted in April to extend the contract with the WCTA to continue our administration of the national foundation for an additional year. The WCTA had been administering the CTRF since April of 2017. I feel this union has been a great asset for the WCTA. We are able to stay closely connected to the national body for turfgrass research, while collaborating with funding our own research that most applicable to our western Canadian climate. This helps reduce duplication and overlap, and ensures we spend our research dollars wisely.

The WCTA facilitated a number of First Green events, including one at Kamloops Golf and Country Club where over 60 grade 8 and 9 students spent the morning learning about golf course ecosystems and the benefits of turfgrass. The event was very rewarding, seeing the students’ eyes light up as they learn about how turf interacts with their world. I would encourage any turf manager to host their own event, please feel free to reach out to the WCTA anytime, we would be more than happy to help you set up your own First Green event at your facility.

The WCTA co-produced a hugely successful Sports Field Day with Sports Turf Canada and the help of our friends at the City of Surrey and Softball City. 150 people attended the event on October 2nd, with 15 vendors and 8 industry sponsors. The weather cooperated and we had some great demo stations, including a robotic line painter, which was a topic of much conversation.

Membership growth was also quite strong this year, as we rounded out the year with 21 more members than when we started. It is exciting to see our association growing with the addition of some new members, and of course our members who return year after year.

This year the WCTA played a key role in working with our allied associations at AGA-BC to tackle the WorkSafe BC ROPS amendments. Together we were able to make a positive change for our industry and influence the decision for Worksafe to exclude golf carts from the ROPS requirements. Advocacy has become such an important role for our Association over the last few years and will continue to be so, well into the future.

Looking ahead to 2020 we are anticipating another top notch Conference and Trade Show at the River Rock. Each year we receive great feedback which we incorporate to make tweaks and adjustments, leading to a much improved show each year. This year we have one of our strongest speaker lineups ever, featuring six PhD’s to give us all the latest and greatest information and knowledge on turfgrass. We have an improved social program with the addition of “The Great Canadian Pub Night” which I will personally be looking forward to! Our Trade Show will be featuring over 40 vendors with some of the newest products and equipment on display for two days. You won’t want to leave early to beat traffic this year, as we wind up the show with a professional stunt magician! Yikes!

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Conference again this year. Our goal is to provide the best education and networking event possible. I hope we can all get together to learn and explore all the latest in turfgrass, while getting to network with our colleagues and make some new friends. We hope to get off to another great start for 2020 with another strong show. We will SEE you there!...ha ha… get it?... SEE?… 2020?... Nevermind. 

Travis Olson
WCTA President

Editor's note: hindsight is 2020 Travis!