Many of the skeleton staff that remains at Kananaski Country Golf Course have between 16 and 24 years at the scenic facility run by the Alberta government, so it’s understandable that they want it saved after June’s devastating floods in southern Alberta.
The Mt. Lorette and Mt. Kidd courses have been idle ever since due to the damage caused to the flooding. About 150 people were laid off shortly afterwards and while 2013 has been a write-off since then, the future doesn’t look any better than the immediate past.
If work began in the spring, opening in 2014 wouldn’t happen and chances are that most of 2015 would be wiped out too. The 2016 season would be a more likely opening if everything fell into place.
That’s a big if because the province, with other infrastructure and rebuilding challenges after the flood, has yet to determine the golf course’s future, if it does indeed have one.
It’s that insecure future that led to the Restore the Vision campaign that was launched last week.
For $20, supporters can purchase a Restore the Vision hat, or get a T-shirt for $25. For $40, a Restore the Vision adidas golf shirt is available by e-mailing head professional Bob Paley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paley says Restore the Vision isn’t a fundraiser, but an information campaign about the challenges ahead for a place that residents and visitors have enjoyed over the years.
“The idea was born out of our supporters and our guests. It’s been five-and-a-half, six months and right from the start, people were like, `Can we come out, can we help? What can we do?’” said Paley.
“The feedback we got was `We want to do something, we want to support something. We want to feel like we’re contributing to something,’” he added.
The rally cry from the campaign is the message they want to send to decision-makers about how important Kananaskis Country is as an attraction.
“The real neat thing about this is it’s not just golfers. I can’t even tell you how many hundreds of non-golfers who have never played these courses, but come to the Kananaskis Valley to just decompress,” said Paley.
“Whether it’s camping and they come here to grab a bit to eat or have a shower and just walk around the grounds, it’s golfers and non-golfers alike and it’s not just Albertans. It’s not just Canadians. I’ve gotten thousands of e-mails from people all over the world,” he said.
Organizers are using Facebook and Twitter to get the message out, while associations such as Alberta Golf and the PGA of Alberta have pitched in as well, according to Paley.
“It’s never ever been intended to be a fundraiser by any stretch. It’s an awareness campaign and it’s just to get people talking about the fact that the decision hasn’t been made and the future of the facility is just up in the air,” said Paley.
“It’s the middle of December and nobody’s really thinking about golf and we thought maybe now is the opportunity to get the word out,” he said.
As much a message about those who play there as it is about those who work there and its success may ring very clearly for decision-makers when the time comes to make a call that will have such impact.