As you're likely aware, the coordination of a return to competitive play for sports in BC is in flux.
In terms of process, one scenario that’s been proposed is that the BC government agency viaSport, in charge of coordinating return to competitive play, will come up with baseline guidelines. They’ll forward guidelines to sports groups, and organizations like the BCDS will tailor the guidelines to their particular sports. These plans would then return to viaSport, who would forward them to the Office of the Public Health Officer for approval. Once approved, the plans would be administered by the sport’s member clubs.
Corroborated by Steve Ewen's article in the Province May 18, viaSport hasn’t turned over the baseline guidelines to the sports groups yet. There’s no word on when they might be finalized, but BCDS president Craig Sheather has been in discussion with viaSport and the BCDS leadership team is due to meet Monday May 25 for its regular monthly meeting where the development of the provincial plan for disc golf will be discussed.
Weighing on the BCDS as a potential roadblock is the possibility that (per viaSport) “sport-specific plans won’t require government approval, but must be approved by your own board of directors”, which is where insurance issues come into play. As with most insurance underwriters, the BCDS' insurance policy excludes coverage related to communicable diseases and/or pandemics and liability would fall to the BCDS’ directors.
On the bright side, as outlined in B.C.’s Restart Plan, during Phase Two sport activities organized and operated by Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) and Disability Sport Organizations (DSOs) can resume in a limited way. Via Ewen: "viaSport is stressing an ability to maintain physical distancing, minimal sharing of equipment and a focus on skill development rather than competition. That suggests that there won’t be games between rival teams in the early phases." For the foreseeable future, sport will be more geared towards community participation and training rather than games and provincial competition.
Rest assured the BCDS board is gathering information, prepared to nimbly submit a plan for return to competitive play if required and in regular discussion with our insurance provider. We promise to keep you posted as soon as we know and update as our plan develops.
In compliance with our provincial health guidelines, no organized play is allowed anywhere in the Province and is therefore not covered by BCDS insurance, regardless of club membership or affiliation. This applies to club rounds, doubles and/or tag rounds that are typically covered by inclusion in the BCDS' online calendar listing. Outside of the Lower Mainland where casual play (only) is allowed, the BCDS board encourages players to follow the following guidelines:
We continue to monitor provincial and municipal guidelines for events and will update BCDS policy when orders change. We've reached out to leadership advising the Province to advocate for disc golf as a safe sport with appropriate measures. We'll continue to review and update our response monthly during our regularly scheduled board meetings.
We appreciate the patience and support of all of our members and very much look forward to coming together again as a community.
Covid-19 is top of mind for all of us. The BCDS is committed to a rigorous and proactive approach. We strongly encourage our membership to do everything we can to maintain a healthy and responsible environment for all. Please read the following letter and share with your clubs.
April 1, 2020
To: Members of the British Columbia Disc Sports
From: The president and board of the BCDS
Subject: Disc golf during a time of pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had broad ranging impacts on BC, Canada, and the world. The BCDS board has been working hard to support members and our sport as we follow developments at the local, provincial, and federal levels. For the most current information, please visit the website of the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Government of Canada’s Public Health Services .
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the BC government has declared a state of emergency that will be in effect through at least April 14th and the province’s public health officer has banned large public gatherings through at least May 30. All BC residents are being encouraged to engage in social distancing and self-isolation, as appropriate. Many municipalities in BC have closed recreational facilities, including disc golf courses. The BCDS board strongly supports these initiatives and urges all of our membership to follow local, provincial, and federal mandates and guidance.
We know that you want to be out playing right now; however, we need your help to set a good example for players everywhere – please take a break from heading to the course and stay home. This is something we all have the power to do in this crisis, and while it may seem like a tall task, it is the best chance we have to slow the spread of the disease. This goes for young and healthy players, as well as those considered more vulnerable.
Please remember that as BCDS members, you are a public representative of the sport and your actions in a time of crisis can have a strong positive impact on our playing community. We encourage you to demonstrate your value of the health and safety of the disc golf community, and all BC communities.
The BCDS strongly supports a unified approach to overcoming this global health crisis, and we’re asking disc golfers to join this effort, stay off the courses, follow government guidance, and protect yourselves and your communities by staying home.
If you’re lucky enough to have a practice basket at home, now’s a great time to work on your putting. If you feel like competing, join the Facebook Global Pandemic Putting Challenge. If you’re looking to maintain your throwing stroke, build a driving range in your home with a spare sheet. There are many ways we can continue to enjoy our sport while also demonstrating social responsibility and global citizenship. Please feel free to reach out to any member of your elected board with any questions or comments, and thank you for supporting the sport you love.
Craig Sheather, BCDS president, and the BCDS board
November 3, 2019 saw about 100 people come and try out BC's newest disc golf course at Veterans Park on Bowen Island.
Endorsed by BC Premier John Horgan on the community's Facebook page, the course is off to a great start. Opening day was sunny and warm for the beginning of November and even brought over a few carloads of people from the mainland to try it out.
The course is nine holes, beginner-friendly and the hope is it will become a hub of community activity on the island.
Huge kudos to Sam Nosek, who spearheaded the project, designed and built the course and signed all the sponsors for its development. Big thanks to Jeremiah Hart of Hartwood Creations for building the sign structures, Chris Hartmann and Jamie Bennett for their input on planning and design, and Nate Gosse and Sarah Gander for help with GPS coordinates and mapping.
#teamwork #buildingcommunities #growthesport #bcdiscgolf
I'm the PDGA BC Coordinator and a member of the BCDS board.
Dear BCDS Members:
It has been just over two months since the BCDS AGM and I thought I would share with you some updates and musings I have had since becoming President. I hope you enjoy reading about 18 “things” I have found notable in our community. Yes it is not an exhaustive list of everything going but it is a start. Think of it as my version of a family Christmas letter.
1. Duck Golf seems to be alive and well as a BCDS series. Way to go Salt Spring Island! I was first involved with the BCDS Disc Golf branch when Duck Golf got reintroduced. I don’t think I have ever seen it this strong. It will take care and feeding to keep it this way though.
2. I have been to a number of Raptors Knoll work parties and it is incredible the number of people who are pitching in to make that course a reality. It will be by far the largest disc golf project ever undertaken in BC—I know we’re all waiting anxiously for the call to toss out our first discs!
3. The South Island Disc Golf Society had their opening of Layritz Park in October and there are also projects underway in the Kootneys, Kamloops, and Bowen Island. While they are just getting started it is another signal that the disc golf community is continuing to grow and flourish here in BC. Who noticed the Eastview tee pad upgrades!? How does that happen? Thank you to all the players out there sharing their sweat to make all these courses and upgrades a reality.
4. Happy to see the request for the letter of intent for BC Provincials is out nice and early. Thank you Tara Lynch. Hopefully we get some strong interest. This process will help the BCDS identify the event location for the next few years and allows for more planning time for organizers and players.
5. We have set a goal of adopting a 5-year strategic plan for the Society at the 2019 AGM. To inform the process I have asked Jenne Brett to redo a member survey on the future of disc golf in BC. Look forward to this process in the early spring.
6. The number of women in disc golf has taken off in BC! I couldn’t be happier to see it either as it has taken a long time and a lot of leadership to make it happen. Mundy Park has a female president (go Stacey McLachlan!) and Carrie Neal has driven disc golf in the interior for years. The BCDS is flourishing because of many years of work by Leanne Fulton, Tara Lynch, and Carrie Neal. Every gathering and event I go to has a significant female player presence developing into world-class competitors. Sometimes they show up as entire families (I’m looking at you Julie, Jordon, and Rachel Moens). It is awesome.
7. Oh and Briana Ainsley gets her own “Thing”. Following her on Facebook as she travels across North America spreading the BC love is impressive. So positive and engaging. Great job and we should all be proud of her. She represents BC disc golf so well.
8. I can’t help anyone with explaining the new PDGA rules. Sorry. If you have it worked out then take 5 minutes the next time we run into each other. I would appreciate it.
9. Ted Moens is working on a new disc golf team league format to pilot this spring. He is a great example of how our community helps itself. His model is scalable (anyone can run it in their local community) and accessible to all players. People stepping forward to create ways for people to enjoy the sport is the only way we will grow. Anyone interested in helping him out should connect with him.
10. Carrie Neal has formed a Zone Coordinator Committee for the BCDS. There are 8 sports zones in BC and we have aligned the committee to those areas. BC disc golf community is so broad now we need to bring more voices to the table to inform the growth of the sport. One of the goals is to eventually have a Zone Championships that feeds in to the BC provincials each year (stay tuned for more on this soon).
11. The BCDS has an opportunity to establish itself as a Provincial Sporting Organization. This status will enable the Society to access government grants for both capital and operating funds. We have had the status in the past but the rules became a little tougher and we lost it. Three hurdles we will have to overcome: the need for a National Sporting Organization (which is underway thanks to Don Lane in Ottawa), the need to have 1000 members signed up by the 2019 AGM (we really need your help with this one!) and the need to reorganize play and representation in at least 5 of the 8 sports zones. This will be a whole community effort but we will all see the benefits.
12. Canadian Nationals are returning to PEI next September. You should really consider making the trip. It was a huge success last year with more than 20 players from BC. Many of them doing very well and the awards had a strong BC presence. Casey Hanemayer from Cranbrook, Chris Hartmann and Dave Ross from Surrey, and Jenne Brett from Burnaby are a few special mentions.
13. I saw a post on some old BCDS Duck Golf newsletters produced by Peter Lizotte the other day. It was a great reminder of how much things have changed but stayed the same. I don’t think this list will be as memorable but I hope it helps. Thanks Ed Busch for the memories.
14. The recent vandalism at Quilchena Park in Vancouver is a sobering reminder that it is important to keep a strong relationship with the host of your course. Most often that is a municipal parks department. Without their support you easily find competing interests winning the day and loosing your course. If Vancouver City United Disc Golf Club was not as organized I worry about what would be happening now. A strong local club is key for every course.
15. When I head out to my little local course, Mundy Park, I am constantly surprised by the number of recreational players involved today. The future of disc golf is bright if we can begin to move these casual players down the continuum to a more involved and connected member of the formal disc golf community.
16. This month there was a tragic, police-involved incident that involved a member of the public at Passive Park in Langley. Players preparing for the Duck Golf event became witnesses. I want to thank those people who helped out the police and public and those who reached out to make sure they had support as needed. You all know who you are, and I just want to say thank you on behalf of everyone else in the BCDS.
17. The Johnny Mac Memorial doubles event was well done by Brad Henderson and family. I’m sure it was appreciated by Johnny’s family. Thanks to the 40-plus players who showed up to play in the doubles event and a special thanks to Bill Anderson for a great speech that got the day rolling.
18. Finally I want to thank the countless volunteers who organize the many regional series, Halloween doubles events, tag matches, glow leagues, afternoon doubles, club days, TD tournaments, print discs, waffle, travel to compete, post on Facebook or Instagram, and generally contribute to making our disc golf community what it is. Thanks and best of the season to you and your family.
19. OK so there are 19. As we turn the calendar to the new year I am looking forward to seeing the 2019 calendar of events for the Province. In the last few years there have emerged excellent regional events on the island, interior, and the north of the Province. I expect next year will only be bigger and better.