Frisbee golf players teed off after ban

New location didn’t work out

MICHELLE SIMICK

CALGARY HERALD – June 5, 2000

Calgary frisbee golfers, plagued by vandals and community complaints, have been thrown yet another curve in their plans to relocate.

“It’s a really fun sport that has been available for years at Pearce Estate Park — and now we’re looking for a home;’ said Craig Burrows-johnson, a long-time frisbee golfer and member of the Professional Disc Golf Association.

The disc-wielding athletes, whom Burrows-Johnson describes as generally well behaved outdoorsy types, have been suspended from playing on their new course.

After being forced out of Pearce Estate Park at the beginning of May to make way for the building of a wetland interpretative park, the players were granted a six-month trial period at Canmore Park, in the city’s northwest.

But since the “tones,” the metal cylinder-type baskets the players aim the frisbees at, were installed on top of wooden posts in the park a few weeks ago, there has been nothing but conflict between the players and local residents.

Two community groups in the area, the Banff Trail Community Association and Triwoods Community Association, have been flooded with complaints about the frisbee golfers disturbing wildlife and concerns over wayward discs hitting innocent passers-by.

Vandals even sawed off six of the wooden posts on the course and threw them in the bushes.

Both Burrows-Johnson and fellow player Alan Herring feel they are being bullied out of the park when they have done nothing wrong, especially considering there were no injuries in the sport’s 10-year history at Pearce Estate Park

“It’s frustrating after going through all the red tape to make it happen… The Alberta Disc Sport Association worked closely with the city to identify possible new sites and this one was OK’d by both parties,” said Herring.

After the site was identified, he said, the city studied the enviornmental impact the sport would have on the area and consulted with the two community associations in the area.

There was zero response when the community associations posted an article about it in their newsletter. It looked like no one minded and now they have their backs up against the whole thing. It boils down to a ‘get out of our park mentality,” said Herring.

Since the vandalism, the frisbee golfers have suspended playing their game in the park

And at a recent community meeting, which included representatives from the city, members of the two community associations and residents, Ald. Bev Longstaff decided that play would continue to be suspended until a committee made recommendations for a compromise.

Bill Fraser, superintendent of community and neighbourhood services for the city, said he expects the committee to be formed right away and recommendations in early June.

He said the frisbee golf players, which number more than 3,000 in Calgary, are taxpayers as well and shouldn’t be penalized for wanting to play an alternative form of recreation.

“We’ve been working with the frisbee golfers for eight years and we’re certainly looking at trying to provide a plan for these people. We felt this was the best locale. We didn’t antici pate such a large public outcry.”

Neither did the Banff Trail Community Association.

“We did initially give support on a trial basis, not knowing the impact it would have. We now no longer feel we can support it,” said Ross Legge, vice-president of the association.

John Stiles, acting president of the Triwoods Community Association, said he feels badly for the disc golfers because they went through all the correct procedures and the residents simply failed to respond when they should have.

He admitted one reason many people are ruffled by the players presence is that frisbee golf is not a mainline sport.

“Why does it work in 2,000 other parks in North America?” he questioned.

Herring wonders the same thing, especially considering Edmonton has two frisbee golf courses with no problems.

 (Reproduced without permission)