As the Sunshine Coast Disc Golf Association (SCDGA) reports increased local involvement in the sport, it is being required to remove half of the only official public disc golf course on the lower Sunshine Coast.
A written order from the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to remove the course “back 9” at Shirley Macey Park was sent to the group on May 5.
In a May 23 email, SCRD communications manager Aidan Buckley said the removal of “unauthorized alterations," including a tee pad, access trail, and signage is required. He indicated the association was made aware the “back 9” was non-compliant with SCRD bylaws in 2021 but did not state if a deadline date to complete the removals had been set.
“The SCRD has received complaints from residents in the area and users of Shirley Macey Park about the expansion of the disc golf course. Due to the contravention of the SCRD Parks Bylaw, the SCRD has directed that effective immediately, the SCGDA must cease all unauthorized work on the course and remove all unauthorized structures," wrote Buckley. "Proper process was not followed nor were approvals for this work sought, so the SCRD must take formal action."
The local government’s concerns relate to work done in the park without environmental or archaeological assessments and with “multiple instances of limbing and cutting of healthy conifer trees." The course has also been expanded onto adjacent Crown lands that are under other jurisdictions in contravention of a stewardship agreement between the SCRD and SCDGA for the disc golf course, according to Buckley's statement.
Association calls to expand or build courses elsewhere
Receipt of the letter prompted the SCDGA to reach out via social media on May 18. In a Facebook post, they requested their supporters respectfully let SCRD area directors know that limiting the Shirley Macey site to “only 9 holes of public disc golf is not enough to meet the demands of this community.”
The association posted that it was “obligated” to comply with the ordered course component removals "to ensure the future of the 'front 9' layout at Shirley Macey Park and potential future courses on SCRD lands."
Association vice-president Trevor Connors wrote in a May 19 email to Coast Reporter, "Our concern is less about who is in the right or the wrong with things as both sides bear responsibility for the situation that we're in.
"Our concern is more that the SCRD doesn't seem to be supportive of expanding the course at Shirley Macey and/or building courses elsewhere despite the unprecedented growth we've experienced in the sport since 2021. We're hoping to generate positive community support for what we feel is an underserved community."
In his email, Buckley said that, “The SCRD will meet with representatives from the SCDGA later this month as we look to move forward in a collaborative manner that sets the sport of disc golf up for success on the Sunshine Coast."
An association Facebook post cited statistics generated through UDisc, a mobile score keeping application for disc golf, which showed that in 2022 more 300 players (with 159 of those being new to the sport) played 3,010 rounds at the Shirley Macey course. The association pointed out that those numbers “only truly represent the most dedicated disc golfers. Most casual players are not submitting scores to UDisc and, therefore, are not included in these totals."
The course in Shirley Macey Park was established in 2004. In 2020, the SCDGA and SCRD entered into a stewardship agreement for the operation and maintenance of the front half of that course and to advance interests in developing more facilities for the sport in other Coast locations. Since July 2021, SCDGA has been responsible for the disc golf course's maintenance, signage, repairs, reconstruction and improvements.