PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
October 26, 2009
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendent Gies
Absent: City Council Liaison Silbiger; Superintendent Dials
Gardiner called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. at Council Chambers,
GOLF COURSE ISSUES
Robertson said the commission requested an additional study session discussion about golf course issues. He said their previous approvals of non-golfing events at the course included cross country meets and weddings, and he said they had also considered developing walking trails, a cart path, and a disc golf course. He displayed an aerial photograph of the golf course for the commission’s review.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed the importance of providing additional opportunities at Oak Knoll Golf Course (beyond golfing), voicing that the 66-acre property was the second largest city-owned park land. They considered placing a disc golf course over the existing golf course and installing a walking trail around the perimeter. Robertson said the commission set aside $20,000 in the current fiscal year for golf course improvements.
Commissioners said some capital improvements were completed, including the installation of new tee boxes, and further improvements would enhance the quality of the golfing experience. A combination walking trail / cart path was discussed but the commission agreed that each required a different surface and route, so the two could not be combined. Staff noted that a regular group of walkers used the perimeter of the course without an established trail. They suggested directing walkers around the course with the aid of a walking route map, then deciding at a later point whether to install a walking surface.
Commissioners said the park acreage was located close to neighborhoods and they discussed making an exception to the Parks “no dogs in parks” policy and allowing dogs on leashes around the perimeter of the course. Some commissioners expressed a desire for a trial period.
Commissioners discussed deferring to the disc golf association or local experts about the possibility of integrating a disc golf course over the existing course. Staff reported contacting Fly 18, a disc golf company, and learning about installation options. Robertson said the commission could direct staff to install a trial course in early spring. He said the full installment would not be a substantial investment. He said a disc golf course might not generate much revenue but would open the course to non-golfers. Gardiner suggested enlisting Men’s Club members to volunteer their time for cleanups and repairs at the golf course.
Staff was directed to prepare a cost sheet for the installation of a disc golf course and walking / cart paths. Commissioners suggested walking the perimeter of the course (the potential walking path route) with staff.
Robertson said the commission discussed pesticides many times over the past months and heard a great deal of public input. He said commissioners submitted to staff their thoughts and concerns regarding pesticides and staff compiled the list and prepared answers to some questions. He invited the commission to talk among themselves about pesticide goals.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners said their questions and thoughts pertained to possible reductions or eliminations of pesticides in certain areas within the parks system. They questioned how such phasing out or eliminating of pesticides might be implemented. They considered directing staff to reduce pesticides by 10% or more per year—with staff using their best judgment about where and how to reduce—and said that they would ask staff to report back to the commission after several years. Additional commissioner questions and thoughts included:
· Impacts of pesticide runoff into creeks
· Impacts of pesticides on soils
· Most used pesticides
· Most toxic pesticides
· Using more volunteer effort (rather than pesticides) to reduce problem vegetation
· Changing the park aesthetics or making compromises rather than using pesticides at same levels
· Importance of re-reading the Valdez Principles and being good stewards of the land
· Researching other cities’ successful pesticide reductions
· Probability of accomplishing the same landscaping goals using fewer pesticides
· Possibility of changing the Parks pesticide policy to reflect reduced pesticide usage
· Changing commission standards from “proof of harm” to “proof of no harm”
· Utilizing Donn Todt’s expertise to responsibly reduce pesticides
· Not eliminating all pesticides used on city-owned or managed lands (on guidance from experts)
· Forming a pesticides subcommittee to craft an action plan
Noraas and Eggers volunteered to serve on a pesticides subcommittee. Gardiner said he would recommend the formation of the subcommittee at the next regular commission meeting.
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 7:03 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard,