The Cactus Club restaurant chain has had this model made of its proposed restaurant at English Bay. ((CBC))

The Vancouver Park Board has approved the application for a Cactus Club franchise as the new restaurant on the beach at English Bay.

On Monday night, the board approved the application from the restaurant chain, which already has 20 franchises in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver island.  

The new restaurant will replace the existing concession stand at the beach near the intersection of Davie and Denman Streets, which is one of the most popular summer spots in Vancouver's West End.

Park Board chair Aaron Jasper expressed concerns about building a restaurant at the beach when he was president of the West End Residents Association in 2006, arguing the board had not properly consulted with neighbourhood residents about the plan.

"The main concern that I had back then was a high-end restaurant and we didn't want a suit and tie kind of restaurant, so affordability was the main concern that we had had," said Jasper early Monday.

But now, as chair of the Park Board, Jasper said he believed the Cactus Club will provide a suitably casual experience for locals.

"This proposal, this Cactus Club, while some might dispute it, fits into that range of affordability — yes, it's not a McDonalds — but it's not a Hy's or a CinCins," he said, referring to two high-end Vancouver restaurants.


The Beach Cafe at Vancouver's English Bay will be replaced by an updated restaurant with more capacity. ((CBC))

The Vancouver Park Board, which manages the site for the city, is guaranteed nearly $250,000 a year in badly-needed cash from the operator once the new facility opens in the summer of 2011.

A similar move in 2005 to open a restaurant at nearby Kitsilano Beach originally generated a lot of opposition, but reaction to the English Bay Beach proposal has been relatively subdued.