YORKTON - The Yorkton Cross Country Ski Club was hoping to have ‘& Nordic Centre’ added to the name of Deer Park Golf Course in recognition of winter activities at the course.
The club made the request in a letter dated March of this year and at a meeting presented to Council in April and Yorkton Council finally had a report back on the request at its regular meeting Monday.
At the conclusion of the Ski Club presentation, City Council referred the request to the Recreation & Community Services Committee for further review and input and requested Administration to report back to Council with their findings, explained Taylor Morrison, Director of Recreation and Community Services with the city Monday.
“The Recreation and Community Services Committee met in June 2023 where the Ski Club’s presentation and request was shared with the Committee. The Committee was in favour of exploring the renaming and requested that a search of golf courses who also provide skiing activities be conducted to review their naming conventions and branding protocols,” he said.
Certainly the ski club has been a long-time user of the course.
“The City and the Yorkton Cross Country Ski Club have maintained a positive working relationship over the last 50 years and the Ski Club has utilized Deer Park since the Club’s inception,” said Morrison.
“The Ski Club provides all trail maintenance and grooming during the winter months, and in turn the City has not historically charged the Club rent for the clubhouse for their activities. Although the Club was responsible for general janitorial and maintenance of snow and ice on sidewalks at the old clubhouse, a formal agreement regarding the operations at the new clubhouse has yet to be determined, and will need to consider other factors such as special events and rentals, the Club’s own events, and year-round operations of the restaurant.”
In reviewing the ski club request Morrison said administration undertook research to see what other golf courses in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta do when it comes to Nordic activities taking place at their respective golf course locations, and how those locations are named and marketed.
While 14 courses with Nordic activities were identified across the Prairies no golf course brands their location to be a “Nordic Centre”, noted Morrison.
Morrison did note marketing the course for winter activities is something the city has started.
“Some work to promote Deer Park as both a golf course and winter facility is already under way. Currently, there is no highway directional signage pointing in the direction of Deer Park, either as a golf course or as a winter destination. Administration is working with the Ministry of Highways to install signage near the entry to Deer Park identifying the facility name and utilizing standard highway symbols for both golf and cross country skiing. Costs for this new signage is roughly $3,000, and would be expensed through the golf course operating budget,” he said.
However, if a total renaming of the golf course is directed there will be added costs for the rebranding.
This would include course signage, score cards, branded clothing, website, and other elements currently showing the Deer Park Golf Course name. Additionally, changes to the large feature sign on the exterior of the clubhouse should also be considered to reflect the addition of “& Nordic Centre”.
A hybrid naming model could be considered which would market the facility according to the season (summer for golf, winter for Nordic), which would reduce the financial costs of a total rebranding, continued Morrison.
Councillor Ken Chyz said no name change was warranted in his mind.“Personally I don’t want to see a complete renaming, “ he said.
Chyz went as far as to question the timing of the request coinciding as it did with the new clubhouse being built.
Coun. Dustin Brears was more amiable, noting that efforts to see the course used more in winter was “beneficial for the entire city.”
It was a view echoed by Mayor Mitch Hippsley who noted with the investment the city has made at the course expanding course usage is important.
Coun. Randy Goulden was on-side with greater usage too, suggesting billing it as a four-season facility and keeping it busy was a positive.
In the end Council approved the idea of marketing the course based on the season, golf in summer, Nordic uses in winter.
However, renaming and how even to acknowledge winter usage in signage was referred to administration to work with the ski club and others to formulate options for Council to consider at an undefined date.