Thick, dark smoke erupted from a fire at the Prince Rupert Golf Course on Sunday, but it wasn’t by accident.
Prince Rupert Golf Club president Fred Hainstock and director Andrew Schaeffer were piling chopped alder trees to burn away as part of the club’s work party, which didn’t attract as many people as Schaeffer had hoped.
“The work party’s rather small today. There’s about three of us out here,” he said.
Schaeffer and Hainstock’s initiative started last year to finish some projects on course decor that time has either grown to unmanageable levels or eroded away.
“We’ve got salmonberries to pick up still … I know there’s a couple of bridges to repair. There’s some broken slats on them and no railings and we need to get at some limbs that need trimming,” said Schaeffer.
Their work began last fall. Cutting down the salmonberry bushes (six feet high at the time, now just one) that have infiltrated the course is just part of the perimeter work that the regular course maintenance workers don’t have the time or manpower to get to.
“We’re not taking work away from the workers,” said the director, noting that the crew usually works on maintaining the greens and has similar responsibilities.
The club also hires approximatelly four or five seasonal workers during the summer to help out.
“We try to cut the [alder] trees down to get more wind going through to dry things out,” said Schaeffer.
The executive board also wants to obtain more gravel to create a surrounding cart path. They received four truckloads from Adventure Paving as a donation and were hoping to obtain more from the city. But Schaeffer expects it may take close to 25 truckloads for the amount of gravel they need.
“I don’t know how far 10 yards of gravel [from a truck] goes, but it doesn’t go very far, from what people have told me, when you get it in and spread it out,” he said.
Schaeffer noted that sand and gravel is notoriously costly on the north coast, something the Kaien Island Slo-Pitch League has also found out as it needs new sand for their diamond these next couple years.
The golf club is encouraging anyone who enjoys the course to come out and lend a hand at the next work party. Details for those interested can be found at the club’s Facebook page.