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Realtors step up to ensure public can enjoy sledding at golf club

'We have no desire to cut off the kids of Orillia tobogganing here,' says Couchiching Golf Club official, noting private donors will provide funds the city denied
2021-11-22 Ed Novosky toboggan hill
Ed Novosky, president of the Couchiching Golf and Country Club’s board of directors, is shown at the entrance to the course's toboggan hill.

Tobogganing will return to the Couchiching Golf and Country Club this year.

Ed Novosky, president of the club’s board of directors, said local RE/MAX real estate agents Roy Micks, Leanne Smith and Donna Telford have stepped up to provide the $5,000 that was requested of the city — a request that was denied during budget talks last week.

“We have no desire to cut off the kids of Orillia tobogganing here. I mean, it’s been going on for 100 years. The issue was more with the city accepting some responsibility,” Novosky said. “Fortunately, there are individuals who want to see it happen. That’s a good thing.”

He said there have been misunderstandings about why the club had asked the city for the money.

The city covers the insurance for the toboggan hill, but because the hill is open to the public for sledding, the club has to insure the rest of its property during winter.

Last year, someone was injured on the hill and named both the club and the city in a lawsuit, Novosky said. As a result, the club’s insurance premium doubled for this year and it will have to purchase and install about 250 additional feet of safety fencing.

“Just that one event last year has certainly turned into a significant cost,” he said.

In a previous interview, Novosky noted funding from the city would also help offset water and hydro costs. That comment was misconstrued by some, he said.

The club is billed year round for water and hydro, even when the course is closed to golfers.

There is a small pump house at the bottom of the hill. It is metered separately from the clubhouse. The club pays $458 every two months for water. The city turns it off in October, and it stays off until May, but the business still gets billed.

Novosky said he has asked the city to forgive the water costs during the months when the course is closed, rather than have the club appeal for funding.

“We’re just asking not to be billed for that pump house when it’s totally shut down,” he said.

The club is waiting for its one-year contract with the city to be renewed before opening the toboggan hill to the public. Novosky expects that will happen soon. Until then, the gate will remain locked and no safety fencing will be in place.

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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