New disc golf course coming

The City of Swift Current will use grant funding to create a disc golf course along a section of the Chinook Parkway.

Council members supported a motion to develop a disc golf course on the city’s south side during a regular council meeting, March 8.

City General Manager of Community Services Jim Jones provided details about the recreation option that will be available to residents this summer.

“The disc golf course is a financially feasible way to continue to develop our parks and provide barrier free opportunities for all residents in our community to be active,” he said.

The project will be funded by grant dollars. The City received $6.500 from the Living Sky Community Development Corporation for the initial phase to design and develop a nine-hole disc golf course with signage.

The grant funding will be available after April 1 and the course will be developed this spring. It will be located in the area of the Chinook Parkway between Riverside Park and Kinetic Park.

Future grant funding will be used for the next phases of the project. The cost of the second phase to install tee boxes for the nine-hole course will be $5,000. The third phase will add another nine holes at a cost of $11,500.

Jones said disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in Canada. There are currently 65 disc golf courses in Saskatchewan, but only two in the southwest. One is located at Cypress Hills Provincial Park and the other is currently being developed in Gull Lake.

“The Association of Urban Parks and Conservation Agencies noted that since COVID-19, disc golf courses have seen increased use with both Yorkton and Moose Jaw expanding their courses,” he added.

It has a similar format to golf, but instead of hitting a ball into a hole, the players will throw their frisbees into a basket. It is easy and affordable to install a disc golf course and also affordable to play.

“As this course is being designed within an existing green space, there will be no additional maintenance costs required for cutting or course maintenance,” he said.

He mentioned the City received “considerable inquiries” about disc golf from the community over the past four years, but the issues of funding and location of a course delayed a decision about the project. Community Services staff held a meeting with a team of designers from Disc Golf Saskatchewan in the fall of 2020 to discuss the design of a course in Swift Current, and they decided the Chinook Parkway on the city’s south side was the most feasible location.

Councillors expressed their support for the development of a disc golf course in Swift Current and referred to the benefits of such an activity. Council Ryan Plewis felt it is an easy decision for council to say yes to this project.

“I just want to pass our thanks on to the Living Sky Casino development grant for making this possible,” he said. “It's a great addition that's made possible through that organization's giving back to the community. So a big thanks to them and their team for making this work.”

Councillor Leanne Tuntland-Wiebe said it will be a free and family-friendly sport that will be available in the city. Councillor Ryan Switzer felt there will be many benefits to have a disc golf course in Swift Current.

“It ticks so many boxes,” he said. “It's affordable, it's going to be in a great location, it's going to bring people to our community. There's a lot of folks that are interested in disc golf and there's some businesses on the south side in our community that will benefit from having this nearby.”

Council approves contract for major intersection upgrade:

The upgrading of several intersections in downtown Swift Current will continue this spring. Council approved the construction contract for the 1st Avenue NW and Chaplin Street rehabilitation project during the regular council meeting, March 8.

The contract was awarded to Knudsen Excavating Ltd. of Swift Current for a total amount of $156,417.96 (PST included, GST excluded).

Funds for this project was already allocated in the 2019 capital budget, but work could not continue for various reasons. The hosting of the Western Canada Summer Games in the city during 2019 caused scheduling conflicts. The project was therefore postponed to 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainties caused another delay.

Knudsen Excavating originally submitted the lowest bid of $148.047.02 for the project. The company had to update the pricing due to these delays, which required council approval of the contract. The adjusted bid is an annual increase of 2.8 per cent from the 2019 bid to account for the increased cost of labour and material.

City General Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Mitch Minken said this will be the third out of seven intersections to be upgraded. A downtown intersection analysis was conducted several years ago by an engineering consulting firm, which identified the need to upgrade the seven signalized intersections in the downtown core.

“It identified geometric inadequacies in the downtown intersections that do not accommodate turning movements of large vehicles, such as the Fire Department’s ladder truck,” he explained. “Along with the recommendations for lane improvements, the analysis identified that the traffic signals and controllers are out of date and have limited programmability. The existing traffic structures have been damaged in traffic collisions due to their locations, require frequent repairs due to aging electrical wiring and some of the bases are inadequately sized, posing safety issues for motorists and pedestrians.”

The upgrading of the traffic structures will create consistency and the intersection analysis also identified the need to replace deep underground utilities, which have reached the end of their serviceable life.

“It was determined that to reduce disruptions and make best use of resources, it would be most efficient to replace all aging infrastructure components concurrently when upgrading an intersection,” he said.

The project at the 1st Avenue NW and Chaplin Street intersection will therefore include the replacement and realignment of the existing water main. The existing sanitary line will be upgraded and replaced with a larger diameter pipe to increase capacity and extend its service life.

“This work is anticipated to take between six and eight weeks of construction, depending on conditions that are found when we open it up and weather,” he said. “We're looking probably in the beginning part of May to begin this project.”

City Chief Administrative Officer Tim Marcus said after the meeting during an online media briefing that the City is working on a traffic accommodation plan to still provide access to businesses located around this busy intersection.

“We have to talk to the businesses that are going to be affected by the intersection closure first before we make the traffic plan public, but it is our intention to make sure that they're all accommodated in some way, shape or form so that, although you have to avoid that intersection, you'll still be able to get to those affected businesses fairly easily,” he mentioned.

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