ClubLink – a corporate focus on sustainability

ClubLink Corporation operates four golf courses in the Lake Simcoe watershed, two of which participated with the Explore Lake Simcoe summer golf initiative – National Pines and King’s Riding.

Since the environmental policies for ClubLink courses are consistent between properties, ELS also spoke with Wendy Burgess, Director of Corporate Environmental Policy and Operations with ClubLink Corporation.

Although environmental work at ClubLink courses address a number of issues including water management, storage and use of pesticides, fuel, hazardous waste, sewage treatment, private drinking water systems and construction practices, Wendy highlighted ClubLink’s focus on water conservation and protection.  Lake Simcoe watershed examples of these efforts include projects undertaken with Ducks Unlimited to protect habitat, and a stream rehabilitation project with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.

As a reflection of the ClubLink commitment to responsible water management practices, they have developed a Corporate Water Management and Drought Response Plan. Part of this plan outlines best management irrigation practices that include daily monitoring, hand watering to reduce evaporation, timing of watering to avoid evaporation (evening and early morning), and immaculate record keeping of water taking, irrigation and precipitation.

As a company some of the key projects have involved the creation of large off-line irrigation systems which are used to store storm water runoff and—at times– treated greywater. ClubLink works collaboratively with external organizations like the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and Public Health above and beyond legislative requirements, and they broadly share their extensive monitoring data. Wendy sits on the CTC Source Water Protection Committee for watersheds in which ClubLink courses are located and she is a representative on York Region’s Low Water Response Team.

Although not in the Lake Simcoe watershed, ClubLink’s Grandview O’Meara Golf Club  is a case study in the use of treated sewage treatment facility effluent for irrigation.

As the focus on low impact development and storm water management intensifies, a great deal can be learned from the practices in place at facilities like golf courses. For example, ClubLink has established storm water management practices that include:

  • “Directing stormwater runoff to off-line ponds for stormwater quantity and quality control and/or re-use for irrigation;
  • Ensuring ditches or swales that convey stormwater flow are fully vegetated to slow down flows, reduce the potential erosion and sedimentation into surface water bodies; and,
  • Appropriate grading to direct overland flow away from sensitive areas and to reduce channelized flow.”

Read more about environmental practices at National Pines and King’s Riding.

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