Duncan Walters stands in the area where he hopes to build a disc golf course north of the Salmon Arm airport. The stake next to him sits at the site of one of 18 holes planned for the course. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm disc golf proponent eager to give back to community

A member of Rapattack, Duncan Walters would like to see trails, course available to public

For Duncan Walters, it’s more about providing a public amenity than playing disc golf.

Walters is the person who presented the idea to city council of allowing the creation of an 18-hole disc golf course on a piece of city property near the Salmon Arm airport.

“I wouldn’t call myself a diehard disc golfer. It’s something I’m interested in. I wanted a place for people to go who have limited barriers to entry,” he says, pointing out that regular golf can be expensive.

He’s been looking for a while for a spot that would be good for the public to access and also provide an interesting course to play.

Walters has been with Rapattack for 12 years and the property is right beside the base. When they’re not fighting fires, members of the crews often take part in work for the community, like building trails with the Shuswap Trail Alliance.

“It seemed like a good opportunity for us, whenever things aren’t busy. We can do some brushing – that way we can contribute to make the community a better place.”

Read more: Salmon Arm council to look at proposal for ‘informal’ disc golf course

Read more: Proposed disc golf course mapped on long, narrow property

The 3.25 hectare (eight acre) property is at 4380 10th Ave. SE. Fresh with the summer scent of white pine trees, it is beautiful with small rolling hills and glimpses of Mount Ida.

Walters said there are still lots of steps to be taken, including consultation with the private landowners nearby as well as discussions of funding during city budget deliberations.

“It’s city land, we don’t want to go upsetting people.”

He says the spot has been more or less unused.

“There are a few people walking through, there’s half a trail there but it’s not a very good one. I think it would be a community benefit having better trails there – nice walking trails like Little Mountain. Having people young and old, just kind of meeting organically.”

Read more: Year-round training envisioned for Rapattack base

Read more: Rapattack teams build Shuswap trails

Read more: 2013 – Juniors take on Rapattack training

Walters has been in Dease Lake, fighting fires with a crew of four. They were sent home when it snowed there.

At 29, he started with Rapattack in high school with the junior initial attack program. Now he’s been doing it for 12 years, 10 as a formal Rapattack employee.

“The greatest thing is being from town and being able to give back,” he says. “We have 35 people all willing to work. If there’s no fires, we like to stay busy and help out.”

He says there are about a dozen people from Salmon Arm who work at the base.

Regarding disc golf, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, states: “It is important to note that no formal approval has been given for the construction of the course and that the property is not open to the public until all is approved. Rapattack has been given approval to do some minor brushing on the property but no major works will be started until a budget has been approved.”

Walters has asked the city to supply the cost of the 13 baskets required as well as liability insurance for the course.

“I’m hoping it’s a win-win for the community as far as cost goes,” he says.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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