CHIFLEY Dam could be home to an inflatable water park by time summer rolls around.
Councillor Alex Christian told the Western Advocate investors from Queensland have approached himself, deputy mayor Bobby Bourke and Bathurst Regional Council with a proposal to build the permanent facility on the dam.
If the proposed development were to go ahead, the facility would be located near the Chifley Dam cabins and be named ‘Bathurst Aqua Park’.
“In short, it is basically an inflatable floating playground out on the water,” Cr Christian said.
The park would be similar to other aqua parks at Bli Bli and Coolum, owned by the same investors, and potentially include elements such as trampolines, climbing walls and slides.
“The size of that for Bathurst would be 150 metres by 60 metres and in that comprises all of those things,” Cr Christian said.
Based on the proposed size and the popularity of the investors’ other parks, it is anticipated Bathurst Aqua Park could be used by an average of 200 people every hour.
Part of the proposal from the investors is to turn the area near the cabins into a “sandy beach” and have a lifeguard on duty for the safety of patrons.
The facility is not expected to impact any other water sports on the dam, such as boating and water skiing.
The investors have told council that Bathurst Aqua Park would be open between November 1 and March 31, when the weather is warmer.
Cr Christian said there are still a few things to iron out before a development application can be formally lodged, but at this stage the facility is anticipated to cost between $500,000 and $600,000.
Council would have to put very little money towards the project, Cr Christian said.
“It is currently just up to the development application. Council are just waiting on a few agencies to get back to them for the green light,” he said.
Cr Christian said the interest from the investors to build an aqua park was a fantastic thing for Bathurst, as it is a facility that would draw in tourists and provide jobs to local people.
He also believes the facility would help to “bring that area to life”.
“Chifley Dam isn’t utilised as much as it should be,” Cr Christian said.
“I believe it will attract tourists from all around. It is just something different.”
He said the investors would like to have the park up and running by summer this year, but how soon it can open depends on a number of factors.
“With the amount of time the development application process takes and talking to other government agencies, it may take a bit longer than that, but council are pushing hard for it,” he said.
“I think the Bathurst community should be very excited about this application.”