THE Bathurst Aqua Park has moved a big step closer to reality after councillors voted to approve the development application on Wednesday night.
In an extraordinary meeting that took barely 15 minutes, the councillors discussed the proposal before all of them voted to approve the DA.
Deputy mayor Bobby Bourke kicked off discussion with a letter from Michael Hickey of Hickstar Investments, the applicant for the aqua park.
The letter aimed to reassure Bathurst Regional Council that the park would work with all dam users to provide a fantastic and safe facility.
“We want this to be a destination and a draw point for locals and abroad as a fun family activity for the young and young at heart and leave wanting to come back time and time again to Bathurst Aqua Park, the largest aqua park in country NSW,” Mr Hickey said in the letter.
Cr Bourke said Hickstar Investments had been “upfront” with council about its intentions and there was no reason not to approve the DA, given the tourism and economic benefits it would bring to Bathurst.
Cr Alex Christian also couldn’t see a reason why the DA shouldn’t be approved.
“This project ticks all the boxes: local economy, jobs, tourism, entertainment, outdoor recreation, healthy lifestyle, community group support and it promotes Bathurst as a destination,” he said.
“Everybody knows Bathurst for the mount and I suggest once this is up and running, Bathurst will be known for two things primarily, the mount and this aqua park.”
While the councillors were largely positive about the aqua park, there were some concerns raised with the proposal.
These included the safety of park users and whether the park would interfere with a planned regatta that the Bathurst Pan Dragons will be involved in on November 4.
Councillors were advised that those questions, along with others, would be answered in the licence agreement that still has to be established.
While the DA was approved, there were some amendments to the initial recommendation from director of Environmental Planning and Building Services, Neil Southorn following late advice.
These where that one of the self-contained portable toilets had to be suitable for disabled access and that the 20-metre wide corridor to provide unimpeded access for marine craft had to be increased to 60 metres.
Hickstar also has to submit a final plan of the layout of the on water infrastructure to council and evidence of approval of the plan from Roads and Maritime Services prior to the start of construction.
In addition to other approvals, Hickstar will need to enter into a licence agreement with council to prescribe operational and other requirements.
The inflatable structure is to be approximately 100 metres long and 50 metres wide, located on the western foreshore of Chifley Dam, with refreshment kiosk and ticketing facilities in close proximity.