Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:27 pm
"A new $70 million Wet 'n' Wild water park at Aussie World is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors in its first year of operation, and will provide 400 jobs for locals if approved by the Sunshine Coast Council.
Plans for the Village Roadshow theme park were submitted to council yesterday and, if approved, the 23 hectare park could be up and running by the end of next year.
But if the Wet 'n' Wild park goes ahead, it could threaten plans for the Adventura water park in Caloundra.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks chief executive John Menzies launched the plans at the site yesterday, saying Wet 'n' Wild Aussie World would be similar in concept to the Gold Coast Wet n Wild park, but with an Australian bushland theme.
He said three hectares of native bushland would be preserved to create a local biosphere and the water park would be “fully self-sustaining” in its water use.
“We’ll have a 60 megalitre dam on site to fill the pools and maintain them, and a state-of-the-art filtration system,” he said.
“Rainwater harvesting will be extremely important and it will very much be an ecologically-driven park.”
He said the park would also use grey water for irrigation and solar power for night-time operations, and there would be a 20-metre tree buffer around the perimeter of the park.
Mr Menzies said the site was chosen because it was already zoned for tourism use, it was easily accessible from the Bruce Highway, and was close to Brisbane, Caloundra and Maroochydore.
He said a ridge on the site meant waterslides would run downhill, allowing for less invasive structures, and the existing shops and Ettamogah Pub would be retained.
The park would feature tornado and kamikaze waterslides as well as designated children’s water play areas, and a wave pool.
In its second stage, the park would add a roof over the children’s play areas and slides and would be heated during winter, he said.
Mr Menzies said it was expected visitor numbers would increase to three times the amount currently witnessed at Aussie World.
He said it was also expected that Aussie World would remain open throughout the construction process, and more car spaces would be added to cater for between 5000 and 6000 visitors every day.
Once completed, Wet 'n' Wild Aussie World was expected to cater for up to 850,000 guests each year and would generate more than $300 million for the local economy within a decade.
Mr Menzies said Village Roadshow was not opposed to any competition from other theme parks or water parks on the Sunshine Coast, and hoped they would draw more people to the area.
But Adventura water park spokesman Damian Brown said the Sunshine Coast did not need two water parks.
He said Adventura submitted its application to council in December for the $110 million project on 75 hectares of disused cane land on Caloundra Road and would submit follow-up information to the council next week.
“We’ve taken a view that once we’re moving forward with the council we will go into a detailed design phase, because in this industry changes are made quickly and we want to make sure we have the most up-to-date (technology) for the market.”
He said the Caloundra site was big enough for future expansion and had easy access from Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.
Mr Brown said the company would be carefully monitoring the approval process, and if the Aussie World plan went ahead, it would “go back to the table” to consider its options.
“We don’t know if the council will approve both, one, or neither, and if the two parks go forward, both parties will need to look at what’s being delivered,” he said.
But he said Adventura would not pull out of the race and risk the Sunshine Coast being left with nothing."
Village Roadshow Theme Parks CEO John Menzies at the unveiling of the Wet 'n' Wild Aussie World water park plans.
An aerial artist's impression of the Wet 'n' Wild Aussie World with the Ettamogah Pub marked in the centre.