Nelson city council won’t be dealing with a request to build a disc golf course above the cemetery until at least September, though some changes to the boundaries of the burial grounds are on the way in the interim.
Councillors once again debated the wisdom of allowing sports in the area Monday, as a bylaw that would rejig cemetery boundaries and allow council to approve recreational activities in the area hit the table.
However, though they both dealt with the same lands and are part of the same bylaw, the two changes weren’t related.
The border change will remove a portion of the cemetery that isn’t in Nelson’s boundaries (and thus can’t be municipally regulated) from the bylaw, and add in a small portion of the grounds already in use that isn’t formally identified.
Neither area includes the steep hill below the Salmo Rail Trail, where a group of disc golfers has asked to build a trial course.
Mixing the two unrelated proposals into one motion had some councillors up in arms.
“I feel we’re really opening up a Pandora’s box to allow some future council to allow sports in the cemetery when that’s not what we’re intending,” said councillor Robin Cherbo, who asked if staff could break the proposed disc golf course off from the cemetery the same way it was removing the portion outside city limits.
“I’ve had a number of people comment they’ve not wished to allow sports in the cemetery,” he added. “And this would solve it.”
Though staff had previously said such a move would require costly surveying, it’s now looking like Cherbo’s request might be possible.
City planner Dave Wahn says it’s possible staff could draft a description “that says the cemetery starts so many meters east of the developed portion,” though deciding how many meters and what will count as developed lands may take some work.
Whether council decides to go ahead with that plan won’t be determined until council “re-prioritizes” in September, when it decides what to tackle in the last months of its term.
In the meantime, changes to the cemetery boundaries passed first and second reading, and when the amendment returns for third reading all references to playing sports in the area will be dropped.