Canberrans will be able to splash around on an inflatable water park in Lake Burley Griffin this Summer after the National Capital Authority (NCA) approved a six-month trial at Black Mountian Peninsula despite overwhelming opposition.
It was revealed in May that an inflatable water park was proposed for Black Mountain Peninsula, with the NCA opening the idea to community consultation.
The NCA received a total of 123 written submissions on the proposal (including five late submissions). 65 submissions opposed the aqua park, while 34 supported it though not in the proposed location and 25 respondents supportive of the proposal.
The key concerns raised against the application included poor water quality, issues with location and potential clashes with other event users such as Triathlon ACT, and insufficient parking and other amenities.
Despite written opposition from Radford College, Rowing ACT and Triathlon ACT, who use the section of the lake for other activities, the NCA said the park will not interrupt their activity.
“The aqua park will occupy a small portion of the of the water surface area within the buoyed swimming beach (approximately 37 per cent) which leaves the majority of space (63 per cent) open to public use, including access to the additional fenced children’s area,” the consultation report said.
“The proposal is unlikely to impact on the nearby rowing sheds, sited approximately 135 metres away from the closest shed.”
The consultation report said that the NCA believes multiple events can occur concurrently at Black Mountain Peninsula, with Triathlon ACT and rowing regattas located outside of the swimming beach buoy line.
“Triathlon ACT has never incorporated their swim leg in the buoyed swimming area of Black Mountain Peninsula, with the exception of the children’s swim leg that was undertaken once in 2018,” the report said.
“The NCA considers that multiple events can occur concurrently at Black Mountain Peninsula, and a large component of the buoyed swimming area remains accessible to the public and for event use.
“Therefore, the NCA does not expect any conflicts between scheduled events and the aqua park operation.”
The NCA also stated in the consultation report that traffic and parking has been considered in the assessment of the application and that overflow car parking may be considered if the need arises.
NCA chief Sally Barnes said the Aqua Park Trial will begin operations in November and will continue until April next year. Ms Barnes said the community consultation process was “extensive”.
“The addition of this summer activity on Lake Burley Griffin is a welcome one,” Ms Barnes said.
“The NCA is keen to see more community use of Lake Burley Griffin and this trial along with the hopeful reactivation of the Pedal Boats on the lake in the future, will continue to activate the lake for locals and visitors to our fabulous National Capital.
“This is a trial and we recognise the community’s views and we will continue to work with the Canberra community and stakeholders that utilise this part of the lake for sporting and recreational purposes to ensure that this site is managed for multi-use.”
The aqua park will be operational during warmer months only, with all inflatable structures to be dismantled, packed and stored away at a remote location during the offseason.
The aqua park will consist of a number of large inflatable obstacles floating on top of the lake, which are interconnected and anchored to the bottom of the lake.
The multi-level challenge obstacles will include tunnels, bridges, runways, slides, jumping pillow, slip waves and a swing tower, and positioned in water two or more metres deep.
The NCA also considered other locations for the water park, including Weston Park, Molonglo Reach, Grevillea Park, Bowen Park, West Basin, Lotus Bay and Yarralumla Bay but decided that Black Mountian Peninsula was the best location for a number of reasons including water depth suitable for aqua park activities.
If the initial trial is deemed successful, the NCA will consider a further time extension to operate for the recreational seasons of 2020-21 and 2021-22. Expansion of the facility will be subject of additional public consultation, the report states.