Hollyburn Sailing Club wants West Vancouver council to take a decision that would not impact the club as the district moved forward with its Ambleside Waterfront Concept Plan. The club’s commodore, Mike Bretner, says the club is open to changes but those shouldn’t in any way jeopardise the club’s ability to continue as a public amenity.
The club fears the concept plan would do just that. Hollyburn Sailing Club leases land from West Vancouver and now the council and staff want a pop-up bistro on the east portion of the club’s compound. Bretner says the ask would impose a hardship as the proposed bistro would reduce boat storage space by almost 40 per cent and the storage revenue by 23 per cent or $6,300 of the overall storage revenue of $27,000. More so, it will reduce the membership revenue by $2500 and the volunteer hours available to run the club.
“With DWV’s closure of the trailered boat ramp, member boat storage is now even more critical to being able to get a non-powered boat out on the water. We have gained members because of the ramp closure,” he said.
Bretner says there has been a suggestion that the club should increase its rates to compensate for loss in membership, but that is not a viable solution. The sailing club is run by volunteers and the club subsidises the summer sailing school with as many as 200 students taking part in the program. “In reality, the Club is no different from West Vancouver’s community centres. If anyone, across the North Shore, wants to use the community pools and fitness facilities and socialize, you pay a $400 plus annual fee. If you want to sail, paddle-board or kayak and socialize, you or anyone can pay a lesser fee to join the sailing club,” he said.
Bretner says the Hollyburn Sailing Club is open to suggestions. For example, the club has put forward proposals such as a new combined clubhouse/bistro/public washroom building. The other idea is to put the bistro on stilts and place it over top of the Spirit Trail, or the relocation of the bistro along with the clubhouse to the non-working fountain area to the west of the club. The club is open to other ideas as well, he says, as long as those don’t jeopardize the club’s ability to continue as a public amenity. Bretner notes that the Hollyburn Sailing Club uses less than 1 per cent of the area of Ambleside Park to provide access to the water.
Bretner says the District of West Vancouver stated in the public consultation process that the sailing club would be enhanced, but that is far removed from what is being planned.
“A bistro taking away storage space and the loss of resulting revenue does not enhance the club. Hollyburn Sailing Club just wants the change that will benefit the community and will not hurt the club,” Bretner says.