A patch of gravel at the heart of Fort Simpson’s nine-hole golf course could become the NWT’s next championship mini golf complex.
Val Gendron says building a mini golf course in the community will cost around $200,000. She has lined up a small amount of NWT government funding and is hosting a series of fundraisers.
By the time the course opens – planned for 2022 – Gendron envisages a series of miniature holes sculpted to be reminiscent of Dehcho landmarks.
“Some of the holes will be like the Mackenzie River, with the island and Fort Simpson on it,” she told Cabin Radio.
“Then there will be planes with stickers like Simpson Air, South Nahanni, and Wolverine.
“There’s going to be a Virginia Falls and you’ll have to go over the side. And one of them will be Enbridge, Line 21,” she said, referring to the name of an oil pipeline that runs past Fort Simpson to Norman Wells.
“You’ll have to go down the pipe.”
Operating a mini golf in the Northwest Territories is not as straightforward as it might sound.
Recently, the CBC documented the travails of a mini golf in Yellowknife where a succession of operators spent years fending off near-nightly vandalism. Eventually, the course closed and fell into disrepair.
Gendron expects to use cameras to help deter anything similar in Fort Simpson, along with signs asking people to respect the property. “I live right across the street,” she added.
A weed grows at the proposed site of a new mini golf complex in Fort Simpson. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio
The gravel pad for the course has already been built.
Raising the money for the rest of the work will involve a 50-50 “ball drop” in which Great Slave Helicopters dumps a bucket of golf balls on the main course, the nearest to the hole being the winner.
A pancake breakfast, family day at the golf course (September 13), and clothing sale (August 21) are also planned.
The back-to-school clothing sale will see any leftover clothes shipped to Tulita, so the community can hold a sale of its own to raise money for sports programming.
“I’m just trying to create more opportunities for families to do things,” said Gendron.
“Two-year-olds can play mini golf, 102-year-olds can play mini golf, but not many people want to take young kids out around the big golf course because they’re not ready to do that.
“My hope is they’ll get really good putting skills, enjoy it, and they might want to move out onto the course and be the future as they grow older.”