WHEN the Bathurst Aqua Park concluded its first season in early 2019, it would be safe to say no one expected it would be almost two years before it could open again.
First there was the drought, which saw the water level at Chifley Dam eventually drop to below 30 per cent, making it impossible to have an inflatable park on the surface.
Water and algae concerns continued in 2020, and there was the pandemic, again preventing the park's return.
But in 2021, things are looking up.
Chifley Dam is full and COVID-19 restrictions will have eased to allow the park to open in mid-November.
ALSO MAKING NEWS: Bathurst having its best run of no new cases since Delta came to city
Owner of the park, Michael Hickey, is excited to be able to bring the summer experience back to Bathurst.
"We're really looking forward to being at Bathurst this year," he said.
"... The dam is going to be great. We're really looking forward to it. We're planning on trying to make the park better this year if we can."
Mr Hickey and his family operate a number of water parks around the state.
All their other parks are now open and thriving, giving them confidence the Bathurst will be able to open in November.
The park will look similar to what it did in the 2018-19 summer, with plenty of inflatables to climb on, slide down and jump off.
There will be measures in place to comply with health orders, including limiting numbers on the park and having QR codes to check in.
Mr Hickey said the intention is to have similar staff numbers as before, creating around 25 jobs for locals.
"A lot of our old staff that worked the very first year have already got in contact and want to work again, which is great," he said.
Although the park couldn't open at Chifley Dam last year, other water parks in the network did open and recorded great crowds.
It is hoped Bathurst will attract similar interest.
"I think it's going to be more popular than it was the first time, to be honest, because people can't travel and I think people are waiting to get out and do something. That's what we found last year; people couldn't travel and the parks were just flat out," Mr Hickey said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: