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A place to play golf, a place to cool off

Tuesday, January 07, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

On a bitterly cold winter night, City Councillors discussed golf at their regular meeting Monday.

Plans for an indoor golf driving range, that is.

Council's discussion of establishing such a facility (to be located at the Northern Community Centre, pictured here) came from a September resolution whereby Council agreed to let City staff look into the possibility of an indoor establishment for Sault golfers to enjoy.

Commissioner of Community Services Nick Apostle reported to Council that protective netting for a driving range is in place at the Northern Community Centre (already protecting the walls from soccer balls). 

It was suggested indoor golf programming could run Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (from September to May), and Monday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (in April and May).

An increase in part-time staffing would be needed, but that revenue generated would offset the cost of that. 

Professional instructors, it is expected, would book time to give lessons.

Apostle's report recommended that four practice ranges per field be set up, at an estimated cost of $35,000 to $40,000, with more ranges possibly added at $8,000 to $9,000 per range.

Golf balls, golf ball buckets and practice mats could be purchased for $1,500.

Council agreed to accept the report and refer it to the 2014 City Budget deliberations.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Joe Fratesi said he anticipated the indoor range would be approved as a 2014 Budget item, as it would be a revenue generator for the City. 

On another very un-wintery matter, Council discussed a resolution regarding the establishment of a Splash Park (a public place where children can cool off in summer) in Sault Ste. Marie.

Commissioner Apostle, in a separate report prepared for Council, stated the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie was originally interested in working with the City in a Splash Park project in 2011, but that the Club has since backed off, due in part to the issue of costs.

It is estimated it would cost $300,000 to $500,000 to establish a Splash Park, with that cost easily increasing as a result of operation, maintenance and insurance.

Ward One City Councillor Steve Butland urged Council to move forward with the project, stating money for a Splash Park could be accessed from an existing City fund, adding that projects such as these usually don't make it past the Budget Deliberations stage. 

Ward Three Councillor Pat Mick mentioned some of her constituents have informed her that Splash Parks are indeed cost-efficient, with many communities having more than one.

Several other Northern Ontario communities have Splash Parks.

CAO Joe Fratesi urged Council to do some research before taking any action, stating that Splash Parks have been known to be replaced with public swimming pools as a place for children to cool off, and deemed no longer necessary and left largely unused by the public.

Council eventually decided to pass a reworded resolution, whereby the City will research how other communities have established and maintained their Splash Parks, and whether Splash Parks in other communities have been replaced by public swimming pools.  

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
thegarbage 1/7/2014 11:29:06 AM Report

Best news I heard all day
learningaswego 1/7/2014 11:39:05 AM Report

Great idea, just like I suggested on here about 2 years ago.
Could have already brought in GOBS of money to city coffers - way, way more than probably the soccer does or ever would.

People will line up at the door to golf during the winter, if it is set up so you can at least hit a full shot with a mid iron. If you could hit all clubs fully, even better.
C'mon council, get this thing going - there's hundreds of people waiting with their wallets open.
OICU812 1/7/2014 11:47:35 AM Report

Total missapropration of tax payers $$$ I say.

If there were money to be made doing this Private Industry would have done it here.

Just my opinion tho, maybe I am wrong and there is a windfall of money to be made here.

But memberships are down at all the Golf Courses from what I hear and there are no driving ranges set up.

Was there a study done to see how much interest there is in this venture ? I thinks city hall is catering to a select few .
JSMills 1/7/2014 11:54:06 AM Report

Love this idea. I would totally support. Although the hours mentioned leave a lot of the golfers in town out as there are plenty of us who work 9-5 and wouldn't be able to hit the driving range until after work. I suggest having hours until 8 or 9pm on weekdays and being open weekends!
Pakadeva 1/7/2014 11:56:34 AM Report

I personally don't golf, however, I think they are catering to a "few" 100's & 1000's as I know a lot of golfers who will likely LOVE this idea!
learningaswego 1/7/2014 12:09:23 PM Report

If it brings in money, which it should, why the he11 wouldn't it be a good idea?
Is it better to leave the facility empty, all day during the week? In fact, it would be easy to predict that they may want to devote an evening or two, when most people would want and be able to pay to play, for this activity.
Assuming it's done right.
learningaswego 1/7/2014 12:15:42 PM Report

Of course, it would have been much better to plan for this prior to building, as the height of the roof will be a factor in how attractive it is to a golfer
hockeypucker 1/7/2014 12:42:28 PM Report

Ya this is what we need more
Things for old people to do!!! Spend the money on something useful for the youth of today stupid city
Council give your heads a shake
learningaswego 1/7/2014 12:53:59 PM Report

Yah, stupid people - built a whole new, state of the art facility, so YOUTH can play soccer during the winter. so local YOUTH, who would like to excel at soccer if they want, can get first class year round training.

Oh yeah, some YOUTH even golf - imagine!

Stupid city.
Pakadeva 1/7/2014 1:18:25 PM Report

I have family members ranging in age from 13-22, all love golfing. Maybe they're stupid too? Everyone has different tastes there hockey person with the closed mind, & if it gives some older people something to have a problem with that? Those are the same people who provided all the facilities for the sports YOU like to play!!! You're welcome!
Too much! 1/7/2014 2:06:17 PM Report

I think that both ideas are awesome! I do feel that while Bellevue Park has become a supurbe play facility, we are lacking in a splash park. When we travel to other cities, we find ourselves seeking splash parks for our kids and they love them! Splash parks also give parents with very young children something to do on hot summer days that is easier and somehow more user friendly than swimming pools or beaches.
havenesegal 1/7/2014 3:28:04 PM Report

for the splash pads I agree it is and would be a wonderful idea even infants can cool off there .not everyone has access to beaches or even pools for that matter Joe u suck i really wish u would take yr narrow minded ideas and resign :)
blue diamond 1/7/2014 5:54:52 PM Report

Sure okay, but how about fixing up that joke of a marina we have at Pine Street. I pay a lot to use that facility.... it is something to be desired. I do not use any of the other facilities in this city. I would like to think I get some pay back from my taxes dollars paid.
I think we need to do more to fix up our waterfront. It could be more of a jewel. John Roswell had a great idea yearsago, a water park on the river that could operate year round with an attached hotel and maybe a few boat slips.

For you non boaters the USA transient marinas are always busier. Do you wonder why?

Just my thoughts. Fore! 1/7/2014 9:01:17 PM Report

I miss mini putt around here.. LOL might as well throw a course in there too!
ryeandcoke 1/8/2014 10:40:29 AM Report

SmAsHed 1/8/2014 8:41:41 PM Report

Having lived in a few different cities before coming back home to the Soo has really opened my eyes to the fact that the 'old boys club' has hindered any possibility of progress or anything that could be of benefit to the social lives of our citizens.

Heaven forbid we do (or have) anything fun in the community anymore. A splash pad would be a great thing for families to enjoy but naturally that idea gets shot down as soon as it's out of the gates. (Personal opinion- no research) I would be apt to think it would be more hygienic than a community pool?

Personally, I think we need some younger people involved with city council who can help liven things up here :\
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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