Our say | Aqua park plan sounds like dam good fun

A PROPOSAL to establish a water park at Ben Chifley Dam is sure to create plenty of excitement.

Chifley Dam is one of the great under-valued resources for our region.

The raising of the dam wall two decades ago established for Bathurst a degree of water security that is the envy of most regional centres.

It is a source of pride for Bathurst Regional Council that the city has never been forced to water restrictions even during recent droughts that have crippled other towns and left farms on the outskirts of Bathurst reduced to dustbowls.

There may be a good argument that such pride is misplaced - particularly when we see water being wasted in town because there are no restrictions - but the fact remains that water security is used as a selling point for the city to attract new residents and businesses.

But council has identified the potential for the dam to be used as much more than a water storage and this latest proposal plays neatly into that.

After the Sydney Olympics, council acquired some cabins from the Athletes’ Village and installed them on-site at the dam as accommodation for visiting families.

And about 10 years ago, council finally upgraded and sealed the road that leads to the dam, immediately increasing the amount of traffic going there and back for water-based recreation activities such as water skiing and canoeing.

Still, though, there remains the feeling that more can be done.

And an aquatic park, such as the one proposed by a consortium of Queensland investors, could be the perfect answer.

Anyone who has visited Lithgow’s Lake Lyell over the past few summers would have seen just how many Bathurst families have also made the trip to take advantage of the Aqua Blitz fun park there.

So there is clearly a demand for this type of venue and the aquatic park proposed for Chifley Dam is much bigger than the one at Lake Lyell.

The Chifley Dam proposal is far from a done deal and there will be hurdles for both the investors and council to negotiate before it ever opens.

But the Bathurst community can do its bit to help make it a reality by showing their support for such a facility and demonstrating the demand is really here.

This is too good a chance for our region to miss out.