Beach courts still a possibility on Sydney waterfront
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 email@example.com.