Down­town vol­ley­ball

Beach courts still a pos­si­bil­ity on Syd­ney wa­ter­front

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEREMY FRASER Jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

Syd­ney out­door courts might be ready for sum­mer.

A pro­posed project could see vol­ley­ball courts lo­cated on the Syd­ney wa­ter­front as soon as this sum­mer.

Vol­ley­ball Nova Sco­tia ap­proached the Cape Breton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity last year with the idea of putting an athlete train­ing fa­cil­ity in the Syd­ney area.

The po­ten­tial lo­ca­tion for the courts is the grassy area be­tween the Joan Har­riss Cruise Pav­il­ion and a site owned by de­vel­oper Marty Ch­ernin, cur­rently be­ing used as a park­ing lot and where he has pro­posed to build a mixed-use res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial com­plex.

Ja­son Tre­painer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Vol­ley­ball Nova Sco­tia, said the sport or­ga­ni­za­tion is op­ti­mistic the courts could be in place for use this sum­mer.

“A lot of things have to fall into place, we are just in the process of se­cur­ing the land and fund­ing and if we can do that quicker then we will start work to fin­ish up and hope­fully there will be beach vol­ley­ball hap­pen­ing in Syd­ney in the sum­mer,” he said.

Dist. 5 Coun. El­don MacDon­ald said vol­ley­ball is more pop­u­lar in the cen­tral and western ar­eas of the coun­try then it is on the East Coast.

“It’s a sport that’s try­ing to grow,” said MacDon­ald. “I think there is an op­por­tu­nity to grow the cir­cuit here and hope­fully grow the sport so that we will be able to have tour­na­ments that would draw from across the coun­try.”

Vol­ley­ball Nova Sco­tia has close to 3,000 mem­bers across the prov­ince. In Cape Breton, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has roughly 400 play­ers.

There are cur­rently vol­ley­ball clubs on the is­land and school teams have also par­tic­i­pated in the Nova Sco­tia School Ath­letic Fed­er­a­tion.

Cape Breton Univer­sity had a women’s vol­ley­ball team, but the pro­gram was cut from the school’s bud­get in April 2015.

Mar­garet Mor­ri­son is a driv­ing force be­hind the po­ten­tial vol­ley­ball courts in Syd­ney.

“There’s no place to re­ally play it around here,” said the avid player, coach and ref­eree. “I think this is an ac­cen­tual part of the long-term de­vel­op­ment plan for vol­ley­ball and beach vol­ley­ball in Nova Sco­tia.

“Aside from our own lit­tle com­mu­nity, I think it would just be a way to add life to Syd­ney in gen­eral.

“When cruise ships come in they don’t see any­thing, they see an empty board­walk with no store­fronts, so I just see this as a way of not only grow­ing our sport and help­ing our youth, but I also see it is a way of help­ing our com­mu­nity and our down­town core to be a lit­tle more vi­brant.”

Tre­painer said the or­ga­ni­za­tion would like to have at least five courts on the wa­ter­front.

“We run a 12-court fa­cil­ity in Hal­i­fax and dur­ing the week­nights there is a lot of adult recre­ational leagues and groups that come in and play, while other nights there is some pretty se­ri­ous two-ver­sus-two com­pe­ti­tions hap­pen­ing,” he said.

Tre­painer said beach vol­ley­ball is one of the fastest grow­ing sports in the world.

“The com­mu­nity is pas­sion­ate about vol­ley­ball,” he said. “There are a lot of good play­ers that come out of Cape Breton and we think beach vol­ley­ball would be great there.”

Vol­ley­ball courts could have a po­ten­tial im­pact on the com­mu­nity.

“I think Hal­i­fax is the only other place in Nova Sco­tia that has more then three vol­ley­ball courts in one spot,” said Tre­painer. “Hav­ing five courts in Syd­ney would open up a lot of doors.”

With hav­ing the courts in Syd­ney, Tre­painer said Vol­ley­ball Nova Sco­tia could run tour­na­ments in the com­mu­nity in­clud­ing pos­si­bly bring­ing the At­lantic Beach Tour, an event that show­cases the best beach vol­ley­ball in the Maritimes, to Syd­ney.

Any­one want­ing to help sup­port the or­ga­ni­za­tion in its ef­forts for vol­ley­ball courts in Syd­ney is asked to con­tact Mor­ri­son by email at mar­garet.mor­ri­son@dal.ca.

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