by Hannah MacLeod
Construction has started on the new outdoor volleyball court at Station Beach and while some are celebrating the long-awaited upgrade, for others it is a shocking sight.
Several days ago a generous plot of land behind the snack shack at Station Beach became home to what will soon be Kincardine’s long-awaited upgraded volleyball courts. This is an idea that was first proposed to the municipality by the Kincardine Outdoor Volleyball Association (KOVA) in 2019.
“At that time we met with the Parks and Rec department to explore different areas where new courts could be placed since water levels were rising and the courts on the beach were no longer functioning,” said Melissa Chauder, who is co-leading the project.
In January of this year an executive of volunteers was formed and a formal proposal was presented to Council. A request for a loan from the Municipality was made and an agreement that the loan will be paid back over seven years through fundraising, sponsors, and fees collected through rentals, leagues, tournaments and clinics, etc. Council accepted the proposal and during the February council meeting they KOVA Executive entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Municipality to begin planning and fundraising in support of construction.
“Building four new beach volleyball courts will bring an outdoor sport for all ages and abilities,” explained Chauder. “Along with being open to the public, we plan to run an adult league on various evenings as well as youth clinics, tournaments, usage by schools for physical education as well as business use for team building.”
“Once the loan is repaid to the Municipality we hope to use future revenue for maintenance of the courts as well as creating scholarships for local volleyball athletes,” she added.
The design plan for the location includes the courts being fully enclosed with fencing for safety with surrounding picnic seating and viewing areas, which they hope to have built locally.
“We are working on a location near the courts where people can loan out a volleyball for public use if needed,” said Chauder. “Throughout the process we have also been working with the Rotary Club on plans to plant new trees. We have also discussed future additions to the Snack Shack such as updating the surrounding patio and beverage licensing for special events at the courts.”
The Municipality is currently working on a Waterfront Master Plan that will identify the layout for the entire footprint.
“We are looking forward to being included in discussions of the Waterfront Plan so our input on landscaping the surrounding area is included for consideration,” said Chauder. “We are very confident that the volleyball courts will continue to be a vital part of Station Beach.
Besides public use of the courts for recreational beach volleyball KOVA hopes to host youth clinics, tournaments for all ages, recreational/competitive co-ed leagues, court rentals for private bookings, etc.
Anyone wishing to participate will soon be able to sign up through the KOVA website once it is completed. For now, booking and registrations will be done through the municipality.
While the new courts are exciting for some, for others it is a heartbreaking sight with the loss of some old trees. On Monday, July 11, prior to the Council meeting at the Municipal office, many attended a peaceful protest to vocalize this.
“It was a shock to those of us in the group ‘Kincardinites Concerned for Our Trees’ to see this entrance area completely cleared of healthy trees when many of the members had been told it was going to be just two Australian Pines cut down,” explained Mary Beth Dennis, on behalf of the Facebook group. “People who live here are upset at losing shade trees and a beautiful natural entrance area and wondering why another spot could not have been found.”
“It will be used for two months of the year and the cost is high,” she continued. “It was questioned at the last council meeting, the day the trees were ripped out … and it didn’t seem that they were clear about it all either. So who is making these decisions? Were the public notified properly? Our natural environment down at station beach is losing trees to private property owners wanting better views, and to erosion caused by the removal of trees. Now the Municipality has taken out more.”
“The proper trees to be replanted will not be a sufficient wind break for the entrance road in winter,” concluded Dennis. “The sand of the courts will be blown onto the roadway during our gale winds off the shore. We hope these concerns were addressed.”
“We have many people in our community and outside of the community who have been eager to see this project get started,” said Chauder. “The support has been wonderful. We have noticed once construction began the concerns of the removal of trees and green space. Our plan has always included the planting of trees and creating new shelter for shade and picnic areas for individuals and families.”
“Public notice was given the week before the construction began as well as all council meetings pertaining to the project being available for public viewing,” she concluded.
Over the three years many locations were considered, including Bruce Ave, Durham street flats, MacPherson Park, South end of Station Beach and the chosen location at the entrance to Station Beach. Chauder explained that the chosen area met all criteria for a safe and accessible location.
“The chosen location also benefits our local shops and restaurants being close to our downtown core,” she said. “We hope to coordinate nightly specials at our local restaurants on league play nights which will bring business to our community.”
The courts are expected to be completed by July 22.
To donate to KOVA please email firstname.lastname@example.org