FALLING dam levels and the threat of blue green algae have forced the cancellation of the planned return of the Bathurst Aqua Park for summer.
But just who made the decision remains unclear, with both the aqua park operators and Bathurst Regional Council saying it was the other party's choice.
The inflatable aqua park opened at Ben Chifley Dam in November last year, drawing thousands of customers from across the region over the summer months.
But despite the huge visitor numbers, it was not all plain sailing.
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Bathurst Regional Council issued an amber alert for blue green algae at the dam just days before the aqua park opened and while the opening went as planned, the aqua park was later forced to close four weeks earlier than planned after the algae returned in early March.
The aqua park was due to reopen in October but a post on the park's Facebook page last week confirmed patrons' fears.
"We have been advised by council that the aqua park cannot operate this summer due to the low water level and likelihood of early blue green algae at Chifley Dam," the post stated.
"We are very disappointed but completely understand the council's decision."
The Facebook post said the aqua park planned to return to the dam "bigger and better" in 2020-21.
Mayor Bobby Bourke confirmed the aqua park would not return this year but would be welcomed next year if conditions improve.
However, Cr Bourke said the decision not to return was made by the park's operators, not council, following discussions last week.
"The owners have decided to not operate the aqua park at Chifley Dam this year. Council was advised last week," Cr Bourke said.
"Council spoke with the owners of the aqua park to provide an update on the current climatic conditions and water levels at Chifley Dam so they were able to make a decision about the operation of the aqua park.
"The aqua park is not operated by council, so any decision relating to its operations is one that rests with the owners."
Cr Bourke said the original development application for the aqua park, approved by councillors in 2018, was valid for five years so the park's operators would not have to submit new plans if they decide to return next year.
"The aqua park was a great facility that provided residents and visitors a family-friendly activity over the warmer months," Cr Bourke said.
"The facility was fantastic for the local economy by increasing jobs, tourism and promoting Bathurst as a destination."
FOOTNOTE: Bathurst Aqua Park owner Mick Hickey has rejected suggestions it was his decision not to return to Ben Chifley Dam this summer.
According to Mr Hickey, Bathurst Regional Council advised the facility that it would prefer the park not to return this summer, due to safety concerns, and the park owners accepted the advice.
"We didn't make that decision. We have $700,000 of equipment there; we would rather run it than not run it," he said.
Mr Hickey said that, even though he would like to see the park return, he did agree with the safety concerns council had.
"It was a good call by council," he said.
"It is purely for safety and I can understand that."
Despite the setback, the owners are determined to bring the facility back to Chifley Dam in future years.
They are just waiting for the appropriate conditions and, at the top of that list, is a higher water level at Chifley Dam.
"We want to get back there," Mr Hickey said.
"We've got a five-year lease and we're looking to make [the park] bigger and better."