The Beach is under construction and will be a new indoor volleyball facility in the RM of East St. Paul. (Handout)
The beach is about to be closer to East St. Paul than ever before.
East St. Paul residents Kelly Crerar, Bill King and Daryl Didyk have started construction of The Beach Volleyball Centre at 2600 Wenzel St., and it will offer something for everyone.
Crerar said while it is definitely a volleyball centre that will fit players from recreational to international, it’s also a place where you can have your kids birthday party, your company’s team building exercise or hang out on a cold winter day in the 28 C weather, sipping a beverage and enjoying a meal at the restaurant.
“It’s really a building for the entire community,” Crerar said. “It’s for birthday parties, you can play multiple sports in the sand in the dead of winter, there’s tiki huts, it’s a total tropical experience…When you walk in you will literally think you’re in a tropical oasis.”
When they broke ground in mid August, it was the realization of a 17-year-dream for Crerar, who first imagined The Beach after working for the Pan Am Games Society from 1996-1999. During the Games, he realized the surging popularity of beach volleyball and how much Manitobans were digging it.
“I looked around Canada at the time and there was quite a few indoor beach volleyball centres in Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, but there was none in Winnipeg.
And so I thought this sounds like a great opportunity to really take advantage of a harsher winter than those climates had, and maybe pursue this,” he said.
Work obligations and a move to the U.S. put the dream on hold for six years, but when he returned to Manitoba in 2006, he revived it.
There were years of research, a deposit on land in a different location and even talks with East St. Paul’s previous council, but it was when newly elected Mayor Shelley Hart came on the scene that things started to take shape.
“Two months after being elected in October 2014, I was approached by East St. Paul residents Kelly Crerar and Daryl Didyk who were interested in building a multi-million dollar indoor volleyball facility in our community,” Hart explained. “The final decision to build in East St. Paul was not drawn in a straight line, we kept our hat in the ring while the partnership worked through many business decisions which included location. They knew we wanted them here in East St. Paul and it was that relationship and our ongoing communication with them that ultimately sealed the deal. We look forward to adding this recreation option and restaurant to our community.”
Crerar noted the trio had talks with the mayor and council, but still chose a different location. Ultimately though, talks with Mayor Hart, and her desire to have their business in East St. Paul, brought them back to the community where all three live.
“She gave us a lot of confidence in the investment the community was making in not only just the roadways and the highways, but that that was going to become a focused development corridor at some point,” Crerar said.
Crerar said he’s excited for everyone to be able to experience The Beach when it opens in early 2018, and he said he thinks seniors will especially enjoy it.
“We really feel that this environment is just wonderful for the seniors in Manitoba and East St. Paul to come in and walk in the sand,” he said.
You can expect Crerar and his partners to be introducing themselves to the community in the near future.
For more information you can contact Crerar at Kelly@thebvc.ca or go to http://www.thebvc.ca.