By Trevor Busch
Flying discs may soon be sighted in the skies around Taber, but they won’t be unidentified or bearing any little green men.
On Nov. 23, town council signed off on construction of a nine-hole disc golf course for the community on the south side of the Taber Trout Pond after learning the town had received grant funding to help complete the project.
Earlier in 2020, William Friesen had contacted administration requesting to address the Taber Recreation Board and town council to present the idea of building a disc golf course at either the trout pond or west of the paintball area in the Oldman River valley. Friesen and Johnny Thiessen presented to the rec board on Sept. 3, which passed a unanimous motion supporting their initiative.
Administration subsequently applied for an Alberta Blue Cross COVID Funding grant in anticipation of a potential future disc golf course following the support received at the rec board. On Sept. 28, Friesen and Thiessen presented to town council, which accepted the presentation as information.
“I met with Ms. Monks (planning director) and Rob Janzen, our planner — who has a background in parks planning — at the trout pond, and we walked around the south side of the trout pond area, and we felt that would be a more suitable location,” said recreation director Dawn Phillips on Nov. 23. “It wouldn’t interfere with horseback riders, it’s away from the trails, and no real plans for development in that area, and we felt that that would be a suitable area.”
According to administration, although council did not move forward with the development of a disc golf course, the grant applied for earlier was approved in the amount of $5,000. The grant is designated to cover the cost of nine disc golf targets and sixty discs, to be lent out free of charge at the Taber Aquafun Centre.
Administration recommended the town work with Friesen to construct a disc golf course at an alternate location, on the south side of the trout pond. Coun. Garth Bekkering asked if the town was setting aside enough land to potentially expand the course to 18 holes in future.
“Our plan would be — Mr. Janzen indicated he could basically come up with the plan for us, and work with the delegation that came forward in the first place — but we would lay it out so that it was nine holes with the potential to grow to the southwest side of the trout pond so we could have 18 holes in the future,” said Phillips.
According to administration, disc golf falls within the Recreation Master Plan, and is an affordable recreation opportunity that connects neighbourhoods, parks and recreational amenities with the new trail system connecting Highway 864 to the trout pond.
Bekkering was also concerned about additional maintenance costs at the selected site.
“It would involve some maintenance,” replied Phillips. “It doesn’t need to be mowed finely like a golf course, but at least some rough cut mowing through the area, potential future growing of trees, we would work with this other group if they wanted to — I think they’d want some of those ‘hazards’ in place like trees, so there’d definitely be some maintenance in that area.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously (6-0) to direct administration to build a nine-hole disc golf course on the south side of the Taber Trout Pond, to be funded via an Alberta Blue Cross grant, with potential for expansion into an 18 hole course. Coun. Louie Tams was absent.