Powell River’s two new beach volleyball courts are now operational at Willingdon Beach.
Director of parks, recreation and culture Ray Boogaards said the city is still awaiting approval from the provincial archeological branch for making a permanent installation, so the city has affixed the volleyball net posts to concrete blocks so they are not a permanent installation. The archeological branch is assessing the Willingdon Beach area for first nations archeological significance.
“We are still awaiting for the approval to come from the archeological branch, and with the setup we have now, we didn’t have to excavate at all,” said Boogaards.
He said the city brought in loads of fine-grained, top-quality sand to provide a great surface for the courts.
While the installation is not permanent, it does provide for a volleyball play area for this summer season.
The school district had been running beach volleyball camps on the courts. Additionally, some BC Bike Race participants played at the courts during the Powell River leg of the competition.
Everything on the new courts is regulation size.
“When there are competitions or when people are playing in a league, there are the borders and everything around it,” said Boogaards. “That works out really well.”
Next year, leagues will be started, said Boogaards. The community will be able to participate in fun volleyball, he added.
The city’s parks crew did an awesome job putting the courts together, according to Boogaards.
“When they got the go-ahead, we had a lot of the parks crew down here working on it,” he said. “I was really pleased to see the great job they did.”
Funding for the project came from Powell River Community Forest.
Boogaards said there is no room for expansion at Willingdon Beach, but if there is demand, the city can look at other locations for beach volleyball down the road.
Brooks Secondary School principal Bill Rounis, one of the proponents for the volleyball courts, ran a beach volleyball camp through the school district at the new courts early in July.
“We’re so excited to get the courts. When I first moved here, probably the first thing I noticed was that we needed to have a viable beach court where people could train and play,” said Rounis. “It’s been something that has held us back, but no more excuses now. The courts are awesome, absolutely great. What’s really exciting is the location right on the beach. The new sand surface on the courts is amazing.”
Rounis said the group training on the courts was getting ready to head over to a beach volleyball tournament in Parksville for the Volleyball BC tournament series.
“We could not participate in the tournament without our new courts in Powell River,” said Rounis. “We’re really appreciative for the facility we have here.”