Dry Creek Park in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN PHOTO)

Dry Creek Park in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN PHOTO)

Disc golf expands to Port Alberni’s Dry Creek Park

New 18-hole course will be ready to play by spring of 2021

A new, 18-hole disc golf course will be opening up next year in Port Alberni’s Dry Creek Park.

The Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club (AVDGC) has spent the last two years working with the City of Port Alberni’s engineering department, wastewater management and even biologists (for Dry Creek’s fish habitat) to install an expanded disc golf course at Dry Creek Park.

“It’s been two years of working with the city,” explained AVDGC president Kyle Munro during an “open house” on Saturday, Oct. 24. “We’ve done two years of back work to get to this point where we’re at now.”

The club spent two days over the weekend clearing out brush at Dry Creek Park and speaking to other park visitors about their plans for the area. Dry Creek is a popular spot for dog walkers, and Munro explained that all pedestrians will have the right of way when it comes to the course.

“All the people we’ve spoken to today have been in support of it,” said Munro. “We want more people coming through, and to have it feel more safe and cleaner. We’ve been clearing out a lot of the shrubbery,” he added. “We want to make it a nice park to walk through.”

Dry Creek Park includes more than 26 acres of land in the heart of Port Alberni, but the park has earned a dubious reputation due to dumped garbage and homeless campsites.

The AVDGC is hoping that increased traffic will help to deter some of this. Munro and the club’s vice-president, BJ Gillis, drew comparisons to Bowen Park in Nanaimo, which has an 18-hole disc golf course managed and maintained by the City of Nanaimo.

“Once they cleared the brush and had traffic going through—[the garbage and tents] are a fraction of what it used to be,” said Gillis.

“[Dry Creek Park] was one of the nicer places we looked at, with the layout and the fact that the park was being under-utilized,” explained Munro. “We want to see the park utilized. We want this to become a multi-use park, not just a spot where garbage is dumped.”

The park includes a fenced horseshoe pitch operated by the Dry Creek Horseshoe Club (drycreekhorseshoeclub.ca).

“It’s also right in the heart of town here,” added Gillis about the park. “We want to bring people into town, instead of just driving through.”

The AVDGC has been an official registered society for a year now, but the club has been around since the Echo Park disc golf course was established in 2011. The eight-hole course is located behind the Echo Centre, but Munro explained that the club has outgrown this space over the years.

Dry Creek Park will be an 18-hole course, with two sets of tees (for both pros and amateurs). The larger course will allow the club to host tournaments, bringing in disc golfers from other communities.

“The growth of the sport is too much for the Echo Park course,” Munro said. “We’ve had more families coming out, especially now with COVID-19.”

“It’s a sport you can do socially-distanced,” Gillis added.

The cost for installation will be fully covered by the AVDGC. Munro said the club wanted to avoid reaching out to the city for funding and putting the burden on local taxpayers.

“We’re paying for the installation,” said Munro. “It’s something that we as a group wanted to take the initiative on.”

Some clearing still has to take place, but the club is hoping to have the Dry Creek Park course fully installed and playable by spring of 2021. For more information, reach out to the club on Facebook at AVDGC or email avdgc1@gmail.com.

The AVDGC is hoping to raise some funds for the clean up of the park with a Go Fund Me.

GolfPort Alberni

 

From left to right: Mark Walter, BJ Gillis, Kyle Munro and Danny Gillis of the Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club stand beside a disc golf basket at Dry Creek Park. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

From left to right: Mark Walter, BJ Gillis, Kyle Munro and Danny Gillis of the Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club stand beside a disc golf basket at Dry Creek Park. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)