ROTHENBURGER – Disc golf, pickleball and other passing sports fads

(Image: Kamloops Pickleball Club file photo)

AS THE CITY ASKS FOR PUBLIC INPUT into upgrades to Tournament Capital facilities, a review of the process leading to this week’s decision on the old McArthur Island golf course might be instructive.

Community and protective services director Byron McCorkell took the media on a tour of the TCC on Thursday to explain that improvements are needed to parts of the venue and the City wants opinions from the public on any new directions it should take.

It sounds like a bit of minor tweaking but recent events suggest a more expansive review of the Tournament Capital vision is in order.

Two days before McCorkell’s tour, City council made a difficult decision on the McArthur Island property. It was one that doesn’t sit well with those who wanted a nature park there but it represents a million-dollar leap of faith in expanding the tournament capital franchise.

It was more than a little ad hoc, less “how does this fit into our vision” and more “we’ve got this piece of land, now what the hell do we do with it?”

Or, as Coun. Arjun Singh described the site on Tuesday, “a piece of dirt.”


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

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6 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Disc golf, pickleball and other passing sports fads

  1. Where did the disc golf proposal come from? Why, out of the sky. No, seriously, they are killing two birds with one stone. (oops inappropriate that). I think they solved the chronic problem of what to do with the disc golfers and in one stroke effectively blocked any notion of a substantial nature preserve or related education resource in our city. Of course, given the relative paltry number of disc golfers, they had to pile on 3/4 million dollars of expenditure – the amenities in corporate speak (to attract the masses and bring the food trucks circling like flies) all in order to justify the thing. Taxpayer alert – there’s empire building going on here! Reason enough for many to attend the supplementary budget hearings – watch for them – and put the boot to this mad spending plan. In city thinking, the way to justify spending two hundred grand on a marginal activity is to spend another eight-hundred grand. It’s one more version of the multiplier effect.

  2. There we have it in succinct form. “Kamloops doesn’t need a nature park because it is surrounded by them”. Aha, the real reason must be that the city hall powers do not want nature parks in our, ah, provincial, small-minded town. Odd, when so many of our citizens want a nature park in Kamloops. Our kids need such a place. This statement flies in the face of trends in the most progressive of cities, big and small, everywhere. Search google for “Natural Parks Define American Cities”. Adrian Benepe, New York City. , 9 April 2014. Benepe has worked for more than 30 years protecting and enhancing parks, gardens and historic resources, most recently as the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation in New York City, and now on a national level as Senior Vice President for City Park Development for the Trust for Public Land.

  3. It was the correct decision. Kamloops is surrounded with ” nature parks”.

  4. With his usual penetrating analysis, Inspector Clouseau, might say, “Eet is all very strange, n‘es`t -ce pas? How much land befits a tournament course even came in for debate. When pressed for answer, the lead city staffer replied, hopefully, to the effect, that that the requirements are elastic. Well it seems not too stretchy. The course acreage guidelines from the Professional Disc Golf Association recommend that a Blue tee championship course of average foliage, calls for 22 acres. (That`s a mid level tournament layout).We have 18 acres there. Strangely, whether it was acres or hectares even came into play. Whatever, by the charts, our space is very cramped indeed, and that`s not even leaving room for the mini-golf, washrooms and food trucks. Mayor Christian, demonstrated alarming reason, and thereby justified his vote, by worrying that if left to be natural, we might see an explosion in the resident deer population – leading to, gasp, a need for culling. It`s a resourceful politician who reaches for the weapon of killing Bambi. Then there was Councillor Sarai stridently scolded the passive naturalists present for, allegedly, walking away if they did not get it all. Strange indeed, when the naturalists offered the only true compromise, as in – we take this half and you take the other. I really must listen to the audio record of the council meeting, as I have not revisited Alice in Wonderland for a long time.

    • The crafty sarcasm…is nearly killing me (laughing) never mind the Bambi! Perhaps it is the resourceful politician than needs some (reasoned) scalding…but really where did that sudden interest in disc golf come from?

  5. “When asked how many people will use the disc golf course, the answer from Parks and Rec staff was, “I don’t have any numbers for you…. I’m hoping the numbers increase.” If that is true then Parks and Rec staff did not do their home work which makes their recommendation…a piece of “dirt” and council decision just as laughable…aren’t they supposed to make reasoned decisions?

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