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Floating inflatable fun park with ecological twist to open near Christchurch


The water fun park has been put together in a lake used to collect stormwater in Kaiapoi.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

The water fun park has been put together in a lake used to collect stormwater in Kaiapoi.

A new aqua fun park not only aims to bring a summer of fun to Kaiapoi but will also teach children about ecology.

The WHōW charitable trust has been granted consent to operate a 160 metre inflatable fun park on Courtenay Lake in the town just north of Christchurch.

Kaikanui​ Aqualand will open on Saturday and run until the end of March. It has consent to operate from October to March each year for the next three years.

The aqua park has been six years in the making and is a transitional project to build support for the trust’s other main project – the development of a whitewater, surf, and cable wake park next to the Kaiapoi River in the east regeneration area.

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A single 50-minute session at the fun park will cost $30, but WHōW vice chairman Jason Mill​ said a youth price would soon be available, as well as early-bird specials.

He said children from low-decile schools across the area would be offered the chance to play at the park for free.

They would also be given an ecology lesson at the same time, and would have the opportunity to plant trees around the lake.

Aqualand director Mark Holder says he is delighted to give the local community something fun for the summer.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Aqualand director Mark Holder says he is delighted to give the local community something fun for the summer.

About 1000 trees will be planted each summer, Mill said, and the aim was to leave the lake in a better condition than it is now.

The lake was created in the early 1990s to collect stormwater from a housing development. However, much of the surrounding area was red-zoned following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Mill said the lake water had been regularly tested since January and was completely safe to swim in.

Testing will continue throughout summer three times a week, and children will be able to carry out testing themselves as part of school trips.

Aqualand director Mark Holder​ said it had taken a long time to get to this point, but he was excited to be able to finally deliver something for the community.

Waimakariri District Council, which consulted with the public on the proposal before granting a consent, received 89 submissions, with 71 per cent supporting the project and 23 per cent opposed.

People against the proposal were concerned about water quality, the impact on wildlife, traffic management and parking, noise and the risk of vandalism.

Council community and recreation manager Chris Brown​ said the council was assured there would be no negative impacts on the environment, given the conditions of its consent.

The attraction would be a positive addition for Kaiapoi because it would bring more visitors to the town, he said.

In granting the consent, council planner Tim Johnston said the environmental effects would be less than minor and the closest home was 180 metres away.

In the off-season, the inflatables and any other associated buildings would be packed down and stored away.

WHōW remains focused on getting the surf park up and running after completing feasibility studies and signing a memorandum of understanding with the council.



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