At the regular meeting on Monday, June 15, 2020, the Village of Port Clements council tentatively approved a proposal to turn the local soccer field into a small, no-contact golf course, pending the completion of COVID-19 safety planning and insurance paperwork. (Needpix photo)

Port Clements tentatively approves turning soccer field into small golf course

Two sisters have proposed a free, no-contact golf course to get people outside, active amid COVID-19

The Village of Port Clements council has tentatively approved a proposal to use the local soccer field as part of a free, social distancing-friendly golf course.

At the regular meeting on June 15, council discussed a June 6 proposal from residents Linda Berston and Sharon Buckley to use the soccer field for a small golf course, complete with modified flag poles that allow for zero contact play amid the ongoing pandemic.

“As the village moves forward with the COVID-19 easing of restrictions please consider these no-contact rules,” stated the proposal, which was included in the council agenda package.

Berston and Buckley proposed that golfers use their own equipment and abide by golf rules and etiquette.

To avoid players having to touch shared flag poles, the two sisters proposed that foam bumper targets be fixed on the surface of the ground, at the base of the flag sticks, instead of cups.

They said they would set up the course — providing the flags and bumpers as well as signs and maps — if the Village would remove the soccer goals. They also pledged to mow the greens and do some weeding.

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During the discussion, councillor Teri Kish said she was “absolutely willing” to help prepare a required COVID-19 safety plan for the initiative.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Kish said.

“It’s time to move things and get people out. We can self-distance. There are ways to work this. I’m willing.”

Councillor Brigid Cumming also said she “would like to see it go forward” and suggested that Haida Gwaii Rec look into insurance.

Councillor Kazamir Falconbridge was eager to get the golf course in play, and a motion was made to find out about insurance and move forward.

On Thursday (June 18), chief administrative officer Ruby Decock confirmed the proposal had been tentatively approved and Haida Gwaii Rec was looking into insurance.

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Berston told the Observer she and Buckley proposed the small golf course because residents are becoming restless and tired of being inside.

“I just thought it’s a sport that lends itself nicely to social distancing,” Berston said. “Soccer for the kids is not happening just yet so while the field is there, we thought it would be a good idea to make use of it.”

The sisters are hoping for six holes set up mostly on the perimeter of the soccer field. Berston said she even imagines some par 4 holes, such as a proposed hole where the drive is diagonal across the field, from one end to the other.

“I think it will give some of the players who are good at golf a good challenge,” she said.

Berston added that her and her sister are not even golfers.

“We’re just two seniors who came up with an idea and thought we could facilitate it,” she said.

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