AN inflatable aqua park for Chilfey Dam is anticipated to be given the green light by councillors at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night.
Hickstar Investments lodged a development application (DA) with Bathurst Regional Council on April 27, proposing to install the inflatable structure adjacent to the western foreshore.
The aqua park would be comprised of inflatable obstacles, anchored by concrete blocks submerged in the water and held in place by chains.
The park is to be approximately 100 metres long and 50 metres wide.
In addition to the recreation infrastructure, the proposal seeks to have a portable site office with ticketing and refreshment kiosk facilities placed on the foreshore.
In a report prepared for councillors, director of Environmental Planning and Building Services Neil Southorn recommended consent be granted for the proposal.
He outlined several conditions, include that a minimum of four self-contained portable toilets, suitably designed and installed to eliminate effluent escape to the environment, be on-site for the duration of the aqua park season.
In the DA, Hickstar said the aqua park would operate between November 1 and March 31, opening seven days a week during school holidays and from Thursday to Sunday every other time.
Mr Southorn also said there had to be unimpeded access for marine craft using the boat ramp by providing a 20-metre wide corridor extending from the centre line of the existing ramp.
The DA was advertised and notified to dam user groups from May 7 to June 5.
Prior to the commencement of the public notification period, a submission was received from Bathurst Pan Dragons.
The letter raised several concerns, including the impact of the facility on water quality, if it would impede on access to the boat ramp and the availability of parking.
It called for careful planning of such a development, but did say that the club thinks “it is a great way to attract visitors to Bathurst and to increase awareness of the wonderful facility we have at the dam”.
In his report, Mr Southorn acknowledged the submission received from the Bathurst Pan Dragons, stating the list of concerns the club had.
“Council staff are of the opinion that most of these concerns can be addressed by way of conditions of consent for license or license agreement,” he said.
When speaking to the Western Advocate, deputy mayor Bobby Bourke added to Mr Southorn’s comments, saying that it shouldn’t be too difficult to resolve the issues the Bathurst Pan Dragons had raised.
He said he was quietly confident that the DA would have the support of the majority, if not all, the voting councillors on Wednesday night.
“I think it will go through okay. That is the feeling I have from the other councillors,” Cr Bourke said.
“The council staff have recommended that it goes ahead, so there shouldn’t be much opposition.”
He and Cr Alex Christian have been in conversation with Hickstar since October, 2017 to get the proposed aqua park from idea to reality.
They believe the proposal has the potential to increase tourism and generate jobs.
“All cities take advantage of their waterways and [Bathurst] council in the time that I’ve been there has lacked that at the dam and this is the time to start, with something that is fun for all ages,” Cr Bourke said.