Monash Council Mayor Hits Out At Pokemon GO 'Geeks'

Image: Kotaku

First it was the residents and governing council of Rhodes in Sydney struggling to deal with the hordes of Pokemon GO trainers. Now it's the Monash Council and the Glen Waverley Golf Course, with the course banning players to stop them interfering with the grounds.

Much like Sydney's Rhodes a month ago, the Glen Waverley Golf Course is a bit of a hotspot for rare Pokemon. It's been a popular nest for Charmanders in particular, although Dratinis and Dragonites have been spotted there in the past.

Image: Pokemon GO Melbourne Facebook

But according to a report on the weekend from The Age, that's set to come to an end. The influx of players to the golf course, according to Monash Council mayor Geoff Lake, was destroying the grounds.

"Having more than 500 people congregating at the course at night has all sorts of worrying issues around wear and tear on the course [as well as] vandalism," the mayor is quoted as saying.

One golfer said around 30 or 40 players could be seen walking across, so the frustration is understandable. But there's also a catch: because the public golf course is part of a reserve, it's also considered public land — entitling users to walk through the grounds if they choose.

That hasn't changed the mind of Cr Lake, however, who said the council would not allow a "bunch of geeks looking for Pokemon" negatively impact the course.

The Pokemon GO hotspot's days appear to be numbered, however. The duty manager for the course's golf shop has petitioned Niantic to have the course's Pokestops and spawns removed. If the Rhodes experience is anything to go by, the days of Charmanders roaming Glen Waverley will be done within a week or so.

Until then, some users have pledged to continue roaming the grounds. "This makes me sad ... generally people cant have a good thing without ruining it," one user posted.


    People are still playing this?

      I don't really believe your worldview only pitifully extends as far as the room you are currently in, but when you make comments like this, it makes it really hard to give you the benefit of the doubt.

        Wow, touchy. My implications come from only having seen two people playing the game in the last week; one on a bus, and the other awkwardly standing around a street corner at night flicking balls. All mention of the game on my social media feeds has died off. The friends I have who started off praising the game as the second coming have all mellowed on it and stopped playing. So, yes, to my worldview people have, for the most part, stopped playing this grind fest of a game. Sorry that you personally have so much emotion invested in a free phone app ...

          I don't even have the app installed on my phone. But people are definitely still playing it. I guess I am just fed up with comments like this because they don't actually contribute to the discourse, if you really think about it, it's not a constructive thing to say, it's just unnecessary negativity. People say it all the time about Destiny too, which is still one of the most popular games on consoles. Just reeks of ignorance and immaturity.

          All your reasoning for why people probably aren't playing anymore is based on a tiny sample size.

          But yeah, I don't play this game at all, as soon as I realised I had to leave the house to do so I knew it wasn't the game for me. I'd much rather be fighting with strangers on the internet than go outside.

          Last edited 22/08/16 4:42 pm

    Thanks Mr Lake, I've been looking for Charmanders since launch =P

    ...because the public golf course is part of a reserve, it’s also considered public land — entitling users to walk through the grounds if they choose.
    That hasn’t changed the mind of Cr Lake, however, who said the council would not allow a “bunch of geeks looking for Pokemon” negatively impact the course.

    Uhm. The fuck? Banning people from public land because they weren't actually expected to use it as public land, thus 'ruining a perfectly good golf course'?

    Sounds like borderline (if not literally) corrupt, rich asshole behaviour.

      Yeah but how would you feel playing a game in a public space when you've rented a part of it (golf aint free) only to have people wandering through your line of sight/play area constantly? EG you rent a giant screen and continuously can't see or have to pause for people to get out of the way, oblivious to what you're doing. It's a bit shitty imo. Again you're impacting others for something unrelated to the use of the area you're ruining.

      It'd be the same as a bunch of pokemon players having a casual sojourn across a cricket pitch mid game, or wandering through a kids soccer match. It's public land, but it has a designated use and you're ruining that for everyone else :(

        The complaint indicated they were out there are night, and seemed to be focused on the fact that there's foot traffic that's impacting the grounds and its use as a golf course, from what I understand.

        It SOUNDS a lot more like getting shitty at the fact that people are playing rugby in a public park at night when you want to use it for croquet during the day.

          Yeah.... Golf does need nice grass though... So you know :P If people were playing rugby on a croquet green, or lawn bowls green, I'd see why the regular patrons would be pissed though.

          Just a difference of opinion I guess ^_^

            Yeah, so why build your course on a public nature reserve, invite the public to walk it, then ban them from doing so when they actually do?
            I also ponder the reverse of the claim, assuming the course must not impact the parks use as a public reserve and the their right to use it.

            So now we have a private group, who calls a public gold course home, attempting to remove the public from said course and the council is rushing to help them.

              You understand how a public golf course works right? It's not like they've walked into 'public land' and built a golf course on it. Public golf course means you don't have to be a member to play at the course. It also means that the course (in most cases) is maintained and funded by whichever local council it falls under.

              Just because it is part of a larger nature reserve doesn't mean you're reverse claim works either. You've made an assumption some bunch of people have just laid a claim to the golf course. This is not the case. The local council has designated it as a golf course and therefore that is now it's primary use.

              Finally I can't see anyone inviting people to walk on a golf course as a normal part of day to day routine. Most golf courses are fenced off in case people wander across the course and get hurt by a stray ball. The same is also true in reverse (balls going outside the course).

                Perhaps I needed to expand, my bad.
                I'm not saying anyone laid claim to a golf course, I'm saying the course is subject to the same rule that it not impact on the public reserve.
                I'm not assuming this, it's why there is existing pedestrian access to the park already and why the council has admitted they are in a bit of a legal quagmire at the moment, desperately trying to find precedent and conflating the issue with questionable claims.
                (Right now they are putting all their hopes on Niantic to remove spawns, because this is only going to get messier as it gets drawn out)

                For example, one of the more interesting articles interviews one of the security members, who explains that the green glow is how they know if a person is playing Pokemon or not.
                Now chances are there is some context missing, but it seems to imply that they aren't ejecting all walkers, only those playing Pokemon. (I don't need to explain the dangers there)
                Stories are also surfacing from players, describing heavy handed security and threats that fall apart when challenged. (Because yes, they cannot actually force you to move on unless you break the rules, of which Pokemon and walking does not constitute.)

                Now that I'm over my initial anger, the overall problem is this:
                We have two parties who have the right and freedom to use a public reserve and cannot impact on the right of others to use it.
                That should be as far as it goes before practical and fair decisions are made.

                Why not put up a sign reminding people that it is a an active course instead of a sign that literally singles out Pokemon players? (Yeah, an actual printed sign)
                Why not have the staff pop around and give people a friendly reminder instead of weekend rent-a-cops with an attitude and no legal backing?

                What they ended up doing was overreaching and using the cliche that Pokemon players are angry, loud, inconsiderate vandals and trespassers, straight off the bat.
                (It's a disgusting, and sadly common, misdirection for what is quickly on its way to be being discrimination)

                  Yeah the handling of this is, as usual, a joke. I agree they should be a LOT smarter about how they handle this instead of labeling anyone partaking as a damn geek etc.

                Sorry, just wanted to add.

                It gets really facinating since essential operational procedures already clash with existing legislation surrounding the use of reserve land.

                I think that's the true purpose here, Pokemon is just a vehicle.

                  So what you're saying is, the fallout of how this is handled may set a precedent for future clashes like this? Ooooohh. Kind of funny how something as innocuous as an augmented reality game is now going to stretch the public reserve rulings for the future.

      While public land, the council has the right to dictate its use or impose rules.... to ensure that it is both undamaged and being used as intended.

      Childrens parks, skate parks, picnic areas, hiking trails, sport fields, golf courses are easily damaged and council ends up paying the repairs... elsr its public land and I can do what I want so I am turning the golf course into a motorcycle track and the childrens park into an open air beer garden.

        Fair point. Still seems a bit of a dick move and very extreme to ban walking.

        Where did you get motorcycle track and beer garden from? That's just taking the issue to an insane extreme to diminish the actual debate.
        We are talking about using public walking tracks to walk on....

        I was at Jells park the other weekend, it was fantastic. All the added Pokemon players of all ages were out enjoying the park with everyone else.
        The mood was exciting, the players weren't walking around like the Pokemon GO zombie stereotype, they were enjoying the walk and stepping aside when a monster popped.
        There was clearly signs of heavy foot traffic, but the idea that a council can't maintain areas designed for walking is laughable at best, especially since the spot is already huge for private events. (The biggest group I saw there was a religious community group having a luncheon)

        The councils right to ensure intended use doesn't even apply here, considering that walking the tracks are the intended use. (Were you also aware that the course is also bound to those rules, in that it cannot impact on the use of the publicly accessible land?)
        This is entirely about a private golfers club, using a local council and dictating the use of public land to the public. (It isn't their first attempt and I doubt it will be their last, Pokemon is just the easiest vehicle at the moment)

      Sounds like borderline (if not literally) corrupt, rich asshole behaviour.

      Yeah, as stated he works for the council. :P

        Whoa whoa whoa... are you saying people can be unscrupulous and abuse their position of power in the council? But we have such upstanding individuals to look up to, like Salim Mehajer and Joh Bjelke Petersen...

    Charmanders are so rare in my general play area. I've only gotten two since launch! Don't live near here though:(

    The only valid argument I noted was the possible environmental damage caused by excessive trampling feet.

      Yes, the grass needs to be kept in tip top people can send huge clods of it down range when they swing.

        Hey, people get given sand buckets to fix the divots.... *cough cough* XD

    I can understand the "one bad egg spoils the bunch" theory but I do not think it justified the way the security guards treated the public.

    I am just going to state some facts here - I’ll leave the opinions up to you readers:

    1. A car was in the parking lot for less than 5 minutes - the passengers did not come out of the vehicle and was clearly not obstructing traffic or any golf games. They were on their way out of the car park area. Two security guards and a cameraman was following a couple harmlessly walking around the carpark, and not the golf course area.

    2. Out of nowhere and unprovoked, a man in grey who was leaning on another car suddenly jumped into the middle of the road obstructing the moving vehicle and held his phone in front of the car as if he was taking photos and intimidating the passengers. Security did not do anything to stop the man. Instead, they were defending the man’s reckless actions in an aggressive tone towards the passengers and the couple who witnessed the incident.

    3. Personally heard the security guards lied – said the man in grey was a random golfer but was later forced to reveal that he was actually the Duty Manager (not sure what his role is – maybe his job scope is to threaten Pokemon Goers?) who hired them, only after being questioned repeatedly – they were unable to explain the actions of the Duty Manager jumping in front of a moving vehicle and further provided an incorrect version of events to the police.

    Last edited 22/08/16 8:10 pm

    I live about 5 mins from here. I'm gonna go get ma some Charmanders.

    councils dont know what real anti social behaivour much prefer kids playing this.

    Insert Principal Skinner "Am I out of touch? No, it is the children who are wrong" image here.

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