Couchiching golf course put on hold

Construction of the golf course at Couchiching is on hold pending overall environmental concerns and paperwork for a bridge which will span Frog Creek there.
“We have been on site,” said Earl Jessop, a habitat biologist with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “The course is actually on hold although they had done a lot of work.
“By the time we got out, it was difficult to make recommendations but we are going to ask them to make buffer zones,” added Jessop. “We would like to be involved in regards to fish habitat.
“Anything that has been destroyed we would like to see replaced.”
Land already has been cleared for the course, which will run alongside both the north and south banks of Frog Creek bordering Stanjikoming Bay just north of Couchiching.
Under the supervision of a Sault Ste. Marie architect, the course was expected to be completed by as early as next summer.
Now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has requested that buffer zones, made up of tall grass and shrubs, run along the edges of the creek in order to help maintain the proper nutrients in the waterway’s habitat.
The band also must provide the proper paperwork, including specs, for a bridge that will span Frog Creek to ensure it will not interfere with navigation of the waterway.
But, Jessop pointed out, if the recommendations are followed, the course should be an environmentally-friendly one as the band already has installed silt screens along the creek’s banks and planned for ponds near the greens which will work as a filter system for fertilizers.
“There was some evidence there wouldn’t be that much environmental damage,” said Jessop. “It will be sort of an educational process as well.
“They weren’t aware of what process they had to go through and they probably weren’t given good advice from their federal [representatives].
“It’s good that the [media] and the public at large keep their heads up in regards to these sorts of things,” he added. “It is an area that has other types of development that could have an accumulative impact on the water.”
The course, expected to cost about $2 million, is being funded by a combination of private investors, the Couchiching band council, and the federal government.
It will include a pro shop, driving range, and clubhouse.