SOME DAYS I think we need a Disorganized Sport and Recreation Association to give voice for the rest of us.
That’s what I thought this week when I heard that the Kamloops Disc Golf Association is lobbying for a new disc golf course in Centennial Park in Weststyde.
I wasn’t thinking about disc golf particularly, but more how effective user groups are in getting recreation and sports facilities in Kamloops. And also how sometimes the voices of the unorganized are lost.
I think of the Kamloops Pickleball Club who came out en masse (and with rackets) to successive City budget meetings, and convinced City council to install pickle ball courts across the City. Green space was even dug up in Riverside Park to create additional courts.
I think of the Kamloops Rugby Club, who after being granted fields out in Rayleigh, convinced City council that their home should be at Exhibition Park in downtown Kamloops.
Or the swim clubs who have the use of large portions of the swimming pool at the Tournament Capital Centre, and thus limit times and space available for casual public swimming users.
Organized sports and recreation in Kamloops do a great job of getting more and better facilities for their clubs.
The disc golfers are proposing a course in Centennial Park that would be located in a treed and grassy area, which some might say is underutilized.
But while Disc Golf is lobbying for an active use for the park space, will the voices of those who simply want things the way they are be heard?
A recent press release from the City of Kamloops stated that there were over one million visits to nature parks in Kamloops every year. That means, on average, every person in Kamloops visits a nature park once a month. We like our parks, not only for sports and recreation. We simply like to spend time in them.
During COVID times, it is all the more evident, as there are constantly singles, pairs and families out in our parks and trails. Some are walking, some are jogging, some are walking their dog. All are enjoying time outside.
When different organized groups ask for more space to do activities in our parks and facilities, their voices are heard by City Hall. What the City shouldn’t lose sight of is disorganized users of parks who just want to spend time outside enjoying nature.
The disorganized swimmers taking their kids to the pool. The casual pickup soccer players looking for a field. The disorganized users are a million strong.
Organized sports and recreation groups in Kamloops have done a great job lobbying City council to provide outstanding facilities for their needs. Maybe it’s time for the Disorganized Sport and Recreation Association to have their inaugural meeting and join the club of lobbying the City too.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.