For reasons that now escape me, all the way back in July, as winter descended and water slides were far from everyone’s minds, BayBuzz wrote about the plight of Splash Planet.

Actually, we made fun of the situation … perhaps being inconsiderate to Hastings ratepayers, since in fiscal year 2007/2008 the enterprise is projected to lose a bit more than $900,000, not counting another $473,000 in interest payments.

Here’s what we reported as a “Special Bulletin” (always a sure sign that BayBuzz is making things up) …

The Hastings District Council announced today an innovative plan to rescue drowning Splash Planet.

Following the recommendations of a $1.2 million study by Australian
consultants Atomiq Design Group, the Council will simply shut off the
water in the park.

The Council estimates that annual water savings could amount to as
much as $875,000 a year, enough for Splash Planet to turn a small
profit if visitor levels hold constant.

Says Mayor Yule, “If it’s a choice between a closed wet Splash
Planet and an open dry Splash Planet, I’m certain that area families
would prefer open and dry. Plus, they can always bring their own
bottled water.”

Indeed, sources at the Council indicate that Splash Planet manager
Vicki Munroe is considering a “Free for 4” plan to give free admission
to the park to any visitor bringing four liters of water with them.

Now, looking at our plan again as Splash Planet opens for another money-losing season, I have to say that our no-water idea — offered as a civic gift by BayBuzz at no charge — has a far better chance of working than the Council’s real plan, which is spearheaded by Squirt the watersaurus.

One can only be amazed at the quality of advice this Council will pay for (as Wayne Bradshaw liked to point out before he became a Counsellor and Finance Chair). Splash Plant has never generated the attendance that consultants claimed it would. Their projections were all wet. We’d love to see the Atomiq projections on how many more visitors Squirt is going to attract.

Here’s the warning in all this … The next time the Council says it’s going to build a “rates neutral” facility whose operating costs will be covered by user fees, WATCH OUT … ratepayers are about to be squirted!

Ooops! Isn’t that what we’re being promised with the new Kelt Regional Sports Park?! Could be more squirting.

With the bulldozers already hard at work on “Phase 1” of this project, anyone voicing concern in the consultation process will have to shout pretty loud to be heard.


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