By JAYMIE L. WHITE
Special to The Appalachian
STEPHENVILLE – During a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 19, Stephenville town council approved an outline provided by the Bay St. George Disc Golf Association to install a new nine-basket disc golf course on the property next to the town office. A $5,000 grant was also approved to fund the project. Mayor Tom Rose believes that disc golf will help bring more revenue to the town.
“The presentation that we received said that once we go to 18 holes we will be sought after more for larger tournaments. More people will want to come to Stephenville for these tournaments and with that comes greater economics for our downtown business, our hotels, our retailers, and our food establishments,” explained Rose.
Based on the experience of installing the previous disc golf course, Rose doesn’t think it will take long for new course to get up and running.
“I believe it is going to happen fairly quickly. It’s up to the committee who has the responsibility for it. It’s not a big piece of infrastructure to set up. The last one happened fairly quickly,” said Rose. “There may be some grooming work at the new site that could be more extensive but this will happen this Fall.”
Rose also said the location was an easy choice for the town.
“Right alongside the town office wasn’t really a site that had big commercial value for development, so it was more of a green space anyways. Overlaying a disc golf course on a green space is a way to protect that green space and increase your recreation so it was the perfect location for us.”
The first nine-hole disc golf course, which is located at Blanche Brook Park, was installed last year and since then has shown a lot of promise.
“The uptake is really good. We’ve had tournaments here that have brought in people from outside of our town,” said Rose. “It brings in economics, it brings in visitors to our town and most importantly it provides great recreation that is technically free for citizens of our town.”
Disc golf, a sport that is similar to traditional golf but with a larger target, can be played all year round and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
“It’s something that can be played from daylight to dark seven days a week. You can go down with your friends, some people have their own personal discs, and you can sign one out from the town for free through our recreational department,” said Rose. “It’s a really trending outdoor sport that we have embraced and supported. We were the first town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to have nine holes of disc golf.”
Rose said that the benefits of installing a second nine-hole course are far-reaching and not limited just to an increase in revenue.
“It’s really an economic-driven initiative, but it’s also a great recreation, mental health structure that we’re putting in place that is really going to help the community in every way you can think of,” said Rose.
Rose believes in the importance of green spaces and recreation to the town, and says it makes up a large portion of the equation to attract and retain young people within the region.
“Fifty per cent is a job, the other fifty per cent is how clean, how green, how respectful, how inclusive, how safe, and how good is the recreation,” said Rose. “When you start to build infrastructure around the community and you start to look at the 360-degree scope and see all the touch points across the board from those areas, that’s the fifty per cent.”
More information is available on the town’s website.