The Fernie Volleyball Club has been getting it’s ducks in a row, with two-thirds of the $95,000 it needs for a three-court beach volleyball facility in Fernie lined up.
The club, which is in discussions with the City of Fernie on the future location of the new courts, has hopes for the new COVID-friendly outdoor facilities to be ready for the summer 2021 season.
Fernie Volleyball Club president, Dennis Staples said that the club believed it could do a lot to round-out the outdoor options available in Fernie.
“We think we can do quite a bit with events and tournaments and help with driving hotels nights not only in the summer months in July and August but it June and September, which I know are slightly softer months for tourism in Fernie,” he said.
“We feel that with three courts we can run proper events and partner with Volleyball Alberta and Volleyball BC and be a pretty big contributor.”
Of course it’s not just about tourism and numbers though, Staples said that beach volleyball was a vibrant and attractive event to have in any community, and it’s rising popularity was a testament to that.
The current funding mix for the $95,000 project would include $12,000 of the club’s own money which it has raised over the last few years, along with $25,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust, and a $25,000 donation from Teck. The remaining funds are being sought through the Resort Municipality Initiative.
Both the CBT and Teck funding is dependent on the club signing a land-use agreement with the City of Fernie, and Staples said those conversations were going well.
“Something central, perhaps near the Aquatic Centre would be wonderful if we can pull that off.”
Another site on the table was near Max Turyk Park, while a third location in James White Park was down in the ranking due to flooding concerns.
“We’re close now … we just need this last third of (funding) through RMI, and then we think we can push forward for breaking ground in early May and have the facility ready a few weeks later.”
City of Fernie staff and councillors have previously voiced support for the campaign, and the city helped the club secure the $25,000 in funding through the CBT with a letter of support.
Staples said the club was being cognizant that any new facility wouldn’t cost the city big dollars to keep clean and ready to use, saying that similar municipalities with courts had reported maintenance costs that were near zero.
“We believe that we’re a great supporting piece of infrastructure to help tourism overall. When you bring families and young users to the community for mountain biking they do look for other activities to round out their vacation.”
Currently there are no outdoor volleyball courts in Fernie. There is one court in Sparwood, and the shores ofLake Koocanusa are also ideal.
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