What was once a dumping ground for the region’s garbage is being transformed into a place for all to enjoy.
The old Pottery Road landfill, which ceased operation in 1986, is finally being officially closed and in its place will be a recreational park.
The $1.8 million project will see construction of a bike skills park and disc golf course in 2015 (at the earliest).
It’s an exciting announcement for those involved in the popular new sport, who currently have no public courses to play on in Vernon and have to travel to Kelowna to play.
“We’re looking forward to having another course that we can come and play at that is close to our community,” said Paul Brownfield, a Vernon resident with the Kelowna Disc Golf Association.
And there could be more to the park.
“It’s not complete yet as to what all the amenities will be here,” said Rick Fairbairn, Regional District of North Okanagan vice chair.
The park is one of five regional projects aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions and creating cleaner air and water. Each of the projects is made possible thanks to $4.15 million in federal gas tax funds.
“We’re only bringing your tax money back to you,” said Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes of the permanent fund that is fulfilled through five cents of every litre of gas purchased.
“We feel that money spent in your communities is going to boost economic growth and create jobs in the area.”
The other gas tax funded projects on tap are:
n $1.9 million – Greater Vernon Recycling and Disposal facility gas management system (2016 utilization)
n $100,000 – Eco Depot on Birnie Road (total cost $200,000, options being examined in September)
“It would replace the existing hazardous waste roundup which is about $80,000 a year,” said Fairbairn of the depot which could collect styrofoam, flourescent lights and other hazardous materials.
n $100,000 – replacement of the old Enderby/Armstrong BC Transit bus (expected to arrive in the fall of 2013)
n $250,000 – Official Community Plan regional context statement – coordination of regional policies for regional growth strategy (expected to wrap up July 2015)
“This whole suite of projects, from the Pottery Road facility and the Eco Depot to the new Enderby/Armstrong bus is helping us to do our bit for a healthier environment in the North Okanagan,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.
But the addition of disc golf to the community is something those involved in the sport are most excited about.
“This sport is picking up rapidly everywhere,” said Andrew Best, a Falkland resident with the Kelowna Association.
Along with being a sport that doesn’t take a lot of time or money to be part of, it’s also not restricted to spring/summer play.
“We play in the winter – we tape a piece of flagging tape to the bottom of the disc and at night we have little LED lights and we also have glow in the dark discs,” said Best.