Disc golf is coming to Niagara-on-the-Lake, sooner rather than later.
The NOTL Rotary Club is anxious to introduce the popular sport at the community centre, member Paul Lalonde told councillors Monday night, hoping to gain their approval to move forward.
He explained that pre-pandemic, when club members had completed the Rotary Rocks project at Queen’s Royal Park, they offered to sponsor another project for the town, and disc golf was suggested.
“But then COVID hit, and it was put on the back burner.”
Parks and recreation manager Kevin Turcotte recently presented an overview of the community centre property, including a community concept garden, and an area for disc golf was included. Turcotte assured councillors the space needed for disc golf would not interfere with the concept garden.
It’s a sport quickly growing in popularity, Lalonde said, and a focus group showed it to be the main request for those between the ages of 18 and 38.
“I’ve tried it a few times with the family, and it’s a fun thing to do.”
It’s typically played on a course with nine holes, or baskets, and players complete a hole by throwing a disc, much like a frisbee — “pretty much the same weight, just throws a little differently,” Lalonde says — from a tee pad toward the basket. The next throw is from where the previous disc landed, until the basket is reached.
The Rotary Club is donating $15,000 for the baskets, tee pads and discs. The plan is for the discs to be kept at the desk inside the community centre, to be signed out and used by anybody who wants to play, explained Lalonde. And it would be free.
“It’s easy, low maintenance, it’s great for everyone from kids to seniors, and there’s no noise involved,” he told councillors.
The town would be responsible for cutting the grass, which it’s already doing. “I feel like it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Coun. Wendy Cheropita said while she’s heard support for the sport, she’s also heard questions about whether it would be better suited to the Virgil Sports Park.
Lalonde told her they’d looked at that as a location, “but it would be pretty tight.” It’s already a busy place, and would require taking space away from one of the other sports. Also, the arena staff would not always be available for those who want to sign out the discs.
The community centre space is accessible, and the sport can be played seven days a week, any time the centre is open.
“We feel that the community centre is by far the best place to do it.”
Councillors agreed, with the exception of Coun. Sandra O’Connor, who said she wanted to wait for a complete plan for the community centre property before agreeing to space for disc golf.
That approval will need to be ratified at the next council meeting, after which the work will go out for tender, with the goal of completing the project as soon as possible.
Hopefully locals will be playing disc golf by summer, says Lalonde.