Bringing the beach to the bowling green

SHARE
Volleyball Southland board, staff and whanau gathered at the Otepuni Community Hub at Forth St, Invercargill, on Sunday. The former bowling green has been transformed into the world's southern-most beach volleyball courts and is ready to host a week of games and events to celebrate. Photo: Supplied

ONCE it was a bowling green, now it is an oasis in the middle of Invercargill.

Truckloads — about 641 tonnes — of sand was delivered to the former Southland Bowling Club, on Forth St, to create beach volleyball courts.

Volleyball Southland leased the bowling club and the building, in a partnership with the Southland Darts Association and used for a community hub.

Volleyball Southland chairwoman Donna Milne said the project was “her baby”.

She was pleased to finally see it happen.

“Six years ago we held a beach volleyball tournament at the velodrome which was a huge success.

“It has always been a dream of mine to get beach volleyball here [in Invercargill].”

While the grounds would be transformed into six beach courts could be used for national competition courts, the building had a dart room and a bar which could be used by community groups.

She hoped the new venue would be a great addition to Southland’s summer.

“We are meant to get a heatwave over the summer, so we are very excited with this project.

“It is quite sheltered in there and it is in the middle of the CBD. People can come during their lunchtime and play.”

Volleyball Southland regional development manager Alissa Light believed the development would be beneficial for the whole region.

“It is a community place for everybody.

“This [the beach volleyball court] has never happened here.

“It is very exciting and I think it can bring not only a lot community events, but also national competitions hopefully international as well.”

To celebrate the opening, Volleyball Southland is promoting a week-long event.

The South Island Junior Indoor would be held from November 22-25 at ILT Stadium Southland, where Volleyball Southland was based.

On November 26, the Beach Championship with about 50 teams would mark the official opening of the new site.

The next day, top New Zealand players would be part of the NZ Beach Players three-star and two-star tournaments, including Shaunna Polley, Julia Tilley, Mike Watson and Johann Timmer.

“It is so exciting. We are now just praying for the weather gods to help us with nice weather,” Ms Milne said.

Advertisement