Disc golf, nature education or both? Public weighs in on future of former golf course
Disc golf club says it needs a new course after losing one earlier in 2017
After losing one of its courses earlier this year, the Kamloops Disc Golf Club wants the city to consider replacing an old golf course in a public park with a new disc golf course.
The City of Kamloops has been asking for public input on what should happen to the space that was once a golf course at McArthur Island Park, a recreational island on the city's North Shore with soccer fields, hockey arenas and walking and bike paths that surround the facilities.
"It's a unique opportunity to have a championship level disc golf course on manicured grass in this part of the city with all the amenities," said Kamloops Disc Golf Club president Ben Laidlaw. "It doesn't happen very often."
Only one other course exists in Kamloops' Rose Hill neighbourhood. Rose Hill used to be home to two courses, until the land of one was marked for development.
Another course is located at Logan Lake, a 40-minute drive away from Kamloops.
In order to host championship-level tournaments, Canada's tournament capital needs another course, Laidlaw said.
"Kamloops has always kind of been at the forefront of Canadian disc golf," Laidlaw said. "We've hosted the Canadian National championships many times."
The club has most of the equipment required to set up a new course, like baskets and pads, so the only costs associated with setting one up, he said, would be installation and maintenance.
If the course is approved, Laidlaw said it would be free and open to anyone who wants to use it, unless the club is hosting a tournament.
The Kamloops Naturalist Club has said it would like to see the old golf course at McArthur Island Park used as an educational tool for people visiting the park and for school field trips.
The Kamloops Sports Council thinks both those ideas can work. It said the space at McArthur Island Park should be used for training and competition for a variety of sports and activities and could also support educational signs throughout the park to teach residents about nature.
"I think all of them could work in an ideal situation, for sure," said Duncan Olthius, executive director for the Kamloops Sports Council.
Laidlaw said the disc golf course in Rose Hill is near biking and hiking trails, and disc golf players respectfully coexist with other people and activities nearby.