New golf course lands provincial funding

Wayne Wettlaufer, parliamentary assistant to Tourism and Recreation minister Frank Klees, was on hand Friday to announce the province has invested $175,000 in the new Heron Landing golf course at Couchiching.
“This new golf course will provide jobs during its construction and employment opportunities when it is completed,” Wettlaufer said during a formal cheque presentation Friday afternoon at the Couchiching band office.
“‘SuperBuild’ is helping to build strong, healthy, and prosperous communities by investing in projects such as the Heron Landing Golf Club that contribute to local economic development,” he added.
“As a golfer myself, I’m interested in any golf course. And when this one is completed, I’ll try to come back and play here.”
“We are very appreciative of the contributions of [the] Premier Eves government,” said Couchiching Chief Chuck McPherson.
“This type of financial support to our golf course will enable our community to enhance its development potential,” he added. “It’s been an exciting project.
“Hopefully, if Mother Nature co-operates, we’ll be open next summer.”
Wettlaufer was given a Couchiching First Nation hat and shirt as well as a native art print as a show of thanks, after which he, McPherson, and several band councillors went out to hit a few balls at the new course.
The Heron Landing golf course is located on Frog Creek Road at Couchiching. While it initially was hoped the front nine would be open by this fall, project manager Shane Jourdain said Friday that flooding in June and unseasonable weather were a setback.
But a lot of the work on the course has been completed, including the installation of the drainage system, a bridge built over Frog Creek, and much of the landscaping.
Heron Landing superintendent John O’Brien noted about 70 percent of the grass had started to grow before the October snowfall.
Now expected to be open by next summer, Jourdain said he’s looking further into the golf course’s future, with an adjacent campground and RV park to accommodate visitors being a possible addition.
He added he also would like to start promoting the golf course this winter, and is hoping to work with other area businesses and tourist operators to fully realize the golf course’s potential as a tourist attraction for the Rainy Lake area.
When completed, the 18-hole course—with an estimated price tag of $3.3 million—will cover 120 acres. Construction began in March, 2001.