Moncton man challenges City over rogue park golfer
City says it can't do anything to stop golfer from using Victoria Park as driving range
A Moncton man and a lawyer plan to take the City of Moncton to task over the so-called "Park Golfer."
Fred Leidemer and Brian Murphy have scheduled a news conference for Friday to publicly ask why nothing has been done about the golfer who has been using Victoria Park as a driving range.
They say area residents have been complaining about the situation for months and it's time the City changes the bylaws to prohibit golfing in a public park.
The city and Codiac RCMP have both fielded plenty of complaints about the golfer, who allegedly threatens anyone who suggests he stop and has even posted profanity-laced videos of himself teeing off on YouTube.
Leidemer says he was shoved and punched when he confronted the golfer in the park on Saturday, after a ball almost hit his wife. Leidemer suffered a broken arm and wants criminal charges laid.
RCMP will only say that a complaint is under investigation.
Sue Calhoun says the golfer also got angry with her when she suggested he practise his swing elsewhere.
"He looked right at me and said: `I have as much right to use this park as anyone,'" said Calhoun.
But the rogue golfer has yet to face any consequences.
Moncton's bylaws don't prohibit golfing in a city park. Coun. Dawn Arnold has heard complaints about the golfer, but says it's not worth changing a bylaw because of one person's actions.
"The city did act on it, they met with him twice, but both times he claimed to just be lobbing the ball lightly," said Arnold.
Arnold says the police have told her they need more evidence before they can step in.
The city says it approached the man a few weeks ago and asked him to stop, but it wasn't able to force him to stop, because city bylaws don't mention golf as a prohibited activity.
City of Moncton spokesperson Isabelle LeBlanc says the city isn't sure what it can do.
"We do feel this is an isolated event," she said. "We have no reports of any other types of incidents having occurred.
"Certainly we are concerned but we'll see what happens over the course of the next few weeks."
Calhoun isn't satisfied with the response of the city and police.
"I think it's a serious issue of public safety and I really hope the city or the RCMP are not going to wait until somebody … a child or a senior citizen or a walker … anybody … takes a golf ball to the head and is seriously injured or killed," said Calhoun.
Veteran golf pro Gerry Connolly says he suffered a concussion and lost some of his sight when he was struck, in his youth, by an errant golf ball.
"Most people using common sense wouldn't do it," he said, noting golf balls can come off the club face at well over 100 miles per hour.
The golfer told CBC his golfing in Victoria Park isn't hurting anyone and that he is the one being attacked.
He disputes Leidemer's claims of a physical altercation.