Deemed unsafe for public use, the waterslides at Kinsmen Water Park will not open this summer
‚ÄúWhen we have our facilities open we want to make sure they‚Äôre safe for the public,‚ÄĚ community services director Jody Boulet said at a Tuesday press conference.
‚ÄúWhen you have the (fiberglass) fibres exposed then it does run risk of someone coming down the slide and ‚Ä¶ essentially getting a fiberglass sliver, which is not something we want to see and certainly would be potential for serious injury,‚ÄĚ
Everything, from the waterslides‚Äô main steel support structure to its fiberglass slides need to be re-built, at a total estimated cost of $260,000.
Mayor Greg Dionne said city council is currently only willing to contribute $60,000.
Anticipating public criticism that the city should have been building up a reserve fund to pay for the waterslides‚Äô inevitable reconstruction, Dionne said that while he agrees, the city currently does not have the funding.
‚ÄúWe have had major work done on it in the past, both on the steel and the fiberglass slides, but now the report (notes that we have) got to a point where after 28 years of serving the community it has to be rebuilt,‚ÄĚ Dionne said.
Boulet explained that almost the entire structure has to be stripped down and re-built from the bottom up.
‚ÄúThis is the first year where we‚Äôve had to make a major decision with the slide structure,‚ÄĚ he said of the 28-year-old facility.
‚ÄúThe question became; ‚ÄėWould you send your own children down it?‚Äô The answer was ‚ÄėNo,‚Äô so it was a real easy decision when you were put into the shoes of the user.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs a shame to see the waterslides close for the season, Dionne said, estimating that of the 35,000 people who visit the Kinsmen Water Park per season, more than half come for the waterslides.
‚ÄúFor lots of our young children in our community, this is where they go (if) they can‚Äôt afford to go to the lake or other places like that, so this park means quite a lot to them,‚ÄĚ Dionne said.
For now, the city is looking at community service clubs to help fund the re-construction of the Kinsmen Water Park waterslides, with those interested in chipping in encouraged to contact the city‚Äôs community services department.
Once the waterslides have been reconstructed, Boulet said that if the city spends an appropriate amount of money per year on their upkeep, they should remain operational ‚Äúindefinitely.‚ÄĚ
When you have the (fiberglass) fibres exposed then it does run risk of someone coming down the slide and ‚Ä¶ essentially getting a fiberglass sliver, which is not something we want to see and certainly would be potential for serious injury. Jody Boulet
‚ÄúWhat you will have for a final product will be the exact same product as a brand new structure,‚ÄĚ Boulet said. ‚ÄúIt will be completely restored, completely back to what it was in 1986, so it would be an exciting opportunity to restore them and make it available again.‚ÄĚ
In the best-case scenario where a service club comes on board immediately, Dionne said that the waterslides could re-open as early as the last few weeks of the season.
In the event that a service club does not come forward, Dionne said that council will face a difficult discussion during 2015 budget deliberations.
Although the waterslides are out of the picture for the season, the balance of the Kinsmen Water Park, including the outdoor pool, hot tub and mini-slide, will open on Friday, June 6, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The park will remain open seven days per week throughout the summer, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dionne said that admission costs to the Kinsmen Water Park will not be affected by the waterslides‚Äô closure.