Not enough time for community input | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

On June 15, the Bainbridge Island Parks board approved a nine-hole disc golf course to be located on the south half of Battle Point Park.

The good news is that this course is a scaled down version of the 18-hole course that was originally planned.

The bad news is the process by which the parks board chose to approve this course.

Very little time and opportunity was given for broad community input, yet the board spent six months developing the full-blown 18-hole proposal with an outside group of disc golf advocates.

Even so, in the two short weeks that this proposal came to light among the broader community, the board was inundated with complaints and concerns from other Battle Point Park users and community residents. Hence the modified nine-hole course.

The issue now is that the nine-hole course is only a trial. If the board deems it successful, the full 18-hole course may yet be approved.

And the same concern arises: The parks board will continue to operate without full input from other park users and community members.

Understand that a full 18-hole course may consist of a number of 10-foot—by-4-foot concrete slaps located across the entirety of Battle Point Park. The discs used are not simple frisbees; rather, they are more substantial and can easily cause injury to trees, wildlife and people. Even with the smaller trial, these discs are going to be traveling over sports fields, the walking path and picnic areas. At the June 15, meeting, the parks board chair refused to answer questions about the nine-hole course, such as how long the trial will be conducted.

The board has the option of forming a community advisory committee for any proposal. While the board refused a specific request to appoint such a committee for the original disc golf plan, it seems that now would be an ideal opportunity to make sure that all sides have a chance to voice opinions.

And they certainly need to be clear about timelines for approval and channels for providing input for everyone, not just a small select group.

BERNADETTE MITCHELL

Bainbridge Island

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