LOT 5 in Shipbuilders' Square will be home to beach volleyball players digging, setting and possibly delivering epic match point spikes for the next few summers.
City of North Vancouver council approved spending $140,000 to bring in the sand, poles and nets needed for the sport after months volleying the possibility back and forth.
The city is still considering what to do with the prime location and the rest of the waterfront in the long term, entertaining ideas about a cultural precinct, a satellite location for the Vancouver Aquarium, more space for Capilano University, a new home for the North Vancouver Museum and Archive as well as commercial space, restaurants and possibly a hotel.
The beach volleyball plan has been championed over the last several months by Coun. Craig Keating, mainly on the basis that the property, as-is, is an eyesore.
"The immediate and crying need is to lend some liveliness to a site that, yes indeed, will have other development opportunities going forward but right now it's a wad of dirt surrounded by metal fences. It looks horrible on our front doorstep," he said. "I don't think any homeowner in the City of North Vancouver would be allowed to keep their front yard the way we keep our front yard down there."
Volleyball B.C. has stated it will rent the courts three to four nights a week for league play and training camps, as well as one weekend a month for tournaments, however critics on council noted there had been very little direct pleas for volleyball on the waterfront from residents.
"It's not about which group we like and which group we don't like or which use we like and which use we don't like, we're trying to create a lively, healthy city . . .," Keating said in response.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto added that Lower Lonsdale is increasingly becoming the neighbourhood of choice for the young demographic, and beach volleyball would be a good fit.
The motion passed 4-3 with Couns. Pam Bookham, Guy Heywood and Rod Clark opposed.
"There are big decisions that are going to be made with respect to redevelopment of the waterfront. I do not see this as the right way to go - putting an activity in place on a temporary basis for the amount of money that is required. I would prefer to have a conversation about other temporary uses of this site that would meet the needs of a wider group of individuals," Bookham said.
Bookham said the city ought to consider outdoor theatre or theatre in a tent, similar to Bard on the Beach in Vancouver, or live music for the site rather than "grabbing onto one proposal before considering other uses."
For Clark, it was a lack of commitment to funding by volleyball users, which sets the amenity apart from other recreational facilities the city provides where user groups are expect to chip in for the costs, including several users groups at the Harry Jerome Recreation Centre.
"By comparison, beach volleyball people are being given $140,000 without so much as an ask. I find that somewhat puzzling," he said.