Wollondilly Council identifies potential water park locations

Splish-splash: Kids got soaked under the searing sun during the opening of the highly-anticipated water park in Elderslie in 2018. Picture: Chris Lane
Splish-splash: Kids got soaked under the searing sun during the opening of the highly-anticipated water park in Elderslie in 2018. Picture: Chris Lane

Wollondilly Council will vote on the location of the region's two new water play parks at its next meeting.

Earlier this year the council sought community feedback on potential location for the parks.

Several possible sites were identified, including Emmett Park in Tahmoor, Memorial Park at Thirlmere, Barrallier Park at The Oaks, Picton Leisure Centre or Warragamba Pool, Redbank Reserve in Picton, Picton Botanic Gardens, Harold Noakes Reserve in The Oaks, Bargo Showground and Bargo Community Park.

Following community consultation, council staff have recommended that the council's Water Play Facility Strategy pursue two small scale facilities at Barrallier Park in The Oaks and Emmett Park in Tahmoor.

The report recommends that each location will feature a 'mix of water play, non-water play and educational elements'.

"There is great community interest in the idea of water play facilities in Wollondilly Shire, as shown by the enthusiastic response to the survey," the report stated.

"Almost half of the survey respondents (47 per cent) stated they usually visit water play facilities during the summer months, and the vast majority of these visits are to Curry Reserve, Elderslie in the Camden local government area."

Councillor Simon Landow has been a long-time advocate of the plan to bring splash parks to the region.

Earlier this year he told the Advertiser that families in the shire were calling out for a local water play park.

"This isn't about keeping up with the Joneses and keeping up with Camden," Cr Landow said.

"Our area is in need of something like this because we have a lot of young families living here now."

The council's report states that 'no funding is currently available for this project'.

However, it notes that water play parks could be ideal candidates for government grants.

"A budget in the order of $75,000 would be required for each site to pursue master planning, noting these are not included in the draft 2021/20 Operational Plan," the report stated.

"Capital costs for each site would be up to $700,000 for each site and are currently not allocated under the draft 2021/22 Operational Plan.

"Ongoing operation and maintenance costs are significant, up to $35,000 per site per annum for consumables plus labour resourcing up to $96,000 per annum m (noting could be utilised for other activities throughout the off-season).

"The inability to appropriately fund ongoing maintenance may influence the priority sites to focus on the existing aquatic centres, where existing resources could subsidise ongoing water quality testing."

If councillors vote in favour of the water park plan at Tuesday's meeting, council staff will investigate possible grant funding and 'appropriate budget allocations' to masterplan the sites.