Turf & Rec

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It’s deadline time for IPM public meetings


December 6, 2012
By Mike Jiggens

The deadline has arrived for Ontario golf courses to conduct their
inaugural public meetings at which their integrated pest management
practices are to be outlined and discussed for the benefit of the
general public.
Staging the meetings is the concession golf courses have had to make
with the provincial government in order to continue to use certain pest
control products and maintain their exception status with the Ontario
cosmetic pesticide ban act.

Some courses chose to get their meetings out of the way a number of months ago, but most, for practical reasons, have waited until the golf season reached its end, freeing up the superintendent to focus on the meeting’s requirements without having to juggle his day-to-day responsibilities on the course itself.

Preparation for these meetings, depending on the golf course’s location, could be either a piece of cake or a logistical nightmare. A large part of the preparatory work includes the placement of a newspaper advertisement to alert the general population of the meeting and the more painstaking (depending on course location) task of personally notifying neighbouring property owners whose homes, farms, businesses or other form of real estate are located within 100 metres of the golf course.

As of late November, several courses in southern Ontario had either just completed their meetings or were in the midst of setting them up. Feedback from those superintendents who had just held their meetings has suggested they were largely a “bust” and were a supreme waste of both time and money.

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This really comes as no surprise. Although the superintendent or other designated IPM agent is doing his due diligence in advertising the meeting, alerting his immediate neighbours and spending who knows how much time and money is needed to ensure both the meeting and all its required pre-planning goes off without a hitch, it’s all a bit of a joke when no one shows and all that time and expense could be better spent on something more worthwhile.

But that’s the reality of the world today. In the end, the superintendent or his designated IPM agent has achieved his mandated responsibilities. If members of the public fail to show, that’s not his responsibility. It’s just a shame that it ends up as a waste of the golf course’s money and human resources.

The Ontario Golf Superintendents Association is understandably curious to know of the outcomes of these meetings. The organization has posted a quick online survey aimed at both member and non-member courses to learn such things as:

• attendance at the meeting
• the expenses involved in advertising, meeting room setup, staff time, etc.
• comments (negative or positive) about the meeting in general
The link to the survey is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H2SM3X7.

Hopefully, the information derived from the survey will be shared in January with those attending the Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show in Toronto, which will be jointly presented with the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association.

Whether or not every public meeting in Ontario is a “bust,” this information could prove valuable if shared with the provincial government. Maybe then the requirements of the golf course can be tweaked somewhat to avoid unnecessary expenses and time allotments for the future.