The National Capital Authority has granted approval for the inflatable Aqua Park to go ahead on Lake Burley Griffin at Black Mountain Peninsula for the next three years.
After what was considered a successful trial run last summer, Canberra Aqua Park applied to the NCA to again set up operations at the Tarcoola Reach swimming area for the warmer months of November to February in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Canberra Aqua Park expects to attract more than 15,000 visitors to the area this summer. Last season it drew more than 16,000 patrons despite losing 24 days to bad weather, bushfire smoke and poor water quality.
It will be a bigger operation than last year, with the licensed area extended approximately 800 square metres to the nearby island and deeper waters of the swimming area.
The Park will also operate for more hours each day but the season will be shortened to align with school holidays and the Park dismantled prior to university orientation week.
Security cameras will be installed in discreet locations to deter trespassers. Last summer a trespasser nearly drowned at the site, according to the Canberra Aqua Park annual report.
The NCA says feedback received during consultation said the Park was a great use of an underutilised space and commended it for encouraging use of the Lake in summer.
Others said it was a well run and professional operation with quality equipment, and was a wonderful outdoor attraction and physical activity.
Those opposed cited conflict with other event users such as Triathlon ACT and rowing clubs, and people using the facilities outside of the Aqua Park boundary.
Others also had concerns about the potential impact on the heritage values of Lake Burley Griffin.
But the NCA said there were no issues or complaints from other users of the park, and all facilities (car parking, barbecue, playground, toilets etc) were unaffected by the Aqua Park operation.
The Aqua Park had addressed issues with Triathlon ACT and rowing clubs, and no submissions were received opposing the renewal of operations.
On heritage matters, the NCA says the quality of shipping containers for storage should be improved and will seek changes for this coming season and future years.
It says the Park is unlikely to impact the ‘quiet and still’ nature of the Lake, given the existing use of the swimming beach and buoyed area during summer.
”The Aqua Park does not propose loud motor/generator components and is temporary/reversible in nature and will be removed for eight months each year. The site will be reinstated by ACT TCCS at the expense of the proponent to original condition for each off-season,” the NCA says.
The NCA says the Aqua Park is not inconsistent with the policies outlined in the Lake Burley Griffin and Adjacent Lands Heritage Management Plan.
It also allayed concerns that the Aqua Park could move to West Basin, saying there were no plans now or in the future to do so.