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North Vancouver disc golf conflict lands in city council chamber

There have been more than a few conflicts in the park, but should the disc golf course be removed?
Eastview Park neighbour Brendan Burge and his dog Cody pass through the North Vancouver disc golf course that is causing friction between park users, Feb. 6, 2023. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News


The City of North Vancouver may be looking to lose its only disc golf course after years of conflicts between players and neighbours of Eastview Park.

Couns. Tony Valente, Don Bell and Angela Girard brought a motion to council Monday asking city staff to start working on options including “the possible relocation of disc golf to another city or Metro Vancouver park.”

Neighbours who spoke at the meeting highlighted numerous complaints since the course was installed in 2009: the risks of being hit by errant discs, smoking, cannabis and alcohol consumption by players, damage to the vegetation and intimidating behaviour from golfers.

Cedar Village Crescent resident Shelli Fayle says her children no longer want to go to the park because it’s “full of frisbee people.”

“I’ve seen the park change. It has an unwelcoming, sinister quality about it now,” she said. “We should be seeing children climbing trees, jumping in puddles and running at full speed breathless through Eastview Park. Instead, we now have overprivileged, entitled bullies smoking and drinking in our park. Gone is the sound of children’s laughter and the magic of childhood.”

Brendan Burge said he’d reached his limit when someone threw a disc at his dog.

“I’ve experienced a few near misses, and a few direct hits, which are mostly due to the dangerous cross-fairway layout with its many blind pathway/fairway intersections,” he said. “The more militant players have a seemingly pathological disregard for the safety of adults and children alike.”

Disc golfers, however, came to speak in defence of their honour and their sport.

Blake Newton acknowledged the safety concerns raised by neighbours but stressed his sport’s members do try to be good stewards, including volunteering for park clean-up and invasive species removal events.

“We do care quite diligently for the park and continue to make efforts to make it accessible. We are friendly to those that are using the park whether it be for disc golf or no and we try and make it a welcoming environment for everyone,” he said. “My position is that we work to make it safer collectively rather than abolish this this sport that we love in this park.”

Darren Butler emphasized how important disc golf is in providing outdoor recreation that’s open to virtually everyone and urged council not to “force the kids to have to leave the North Shore.”

“It’s enjoyed by many of all ages, all abilities all genders. It offers a very low barrier to entry, unlike a lot of the other activities that we see on the North Shore,” he said. “The course should not only be kept but it should be improved and invested in as a community asset that provides tremendous value.”

Currently, there are only two other places to place disc golf on the North Shore – a 18-hole course at the top of Grouse Mountain available to pass holders and six-hole course at Rockridge Secondary in West Vancouver.

The motion passed unanimously, with several council members saying their preference was not to lose the disc golf course entirely.

Valente said having walking paths intersecting with the projectile sport was probably not a good design for the park and all of its visitors today. The intent of his motion, he said, was not to “pick winners and losers” but to “find solutions for all users.”

Bell said it is likely that there are no other parks in the city big enough to accommodate a similar sized course but he said staff should look into it as well as possible locations within the District of North Vancouver’s parks.

Coun. Holly Back and Shervin Shahriari both specified they would not support any future motion that moves the disc golf course off of the North Shore.

Back said she’s lived near the park for decades and never witnessed any abusive behaviour.

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