Transport Canada wants to know if proposed waterslide park poses navigation issue

·2 min read
Splashifax plans to set up an inflatable waterslide park this summer on First Lake in Lower Sackville. (Splashifax/Facebook - image credit)
Splashifax plans to set up an inflatable waterslide park this summer on First Lake in Lower Sackville. (Splashifax/Facebook - image credit)

Two different options for a proposed inflatable waterslide park in Lower Sackville, N.S., are now posted on Transport Canada's website.

The public has until mid-June to comment on the navigational impact of the proposals by Splashifax. Both involve setting up seasonal waterslides on part of First Lake.

One option has a ramp and a dock on the Sackville Arena site. It was discussed at a public information session hosted by the local councillor on May 11. The other option places a ramp and a dock on the Sackawa Canoe Club property.

The co-owner of Splashifax, Dave Wolpin, told CBC he believes both options are still possible.

But according to Tyler Laidlaw, the building manager for Sackawa, the club's board met last Thursday and voted against the proposal. Laidlaw said the club thinks the waterslide is a fun business for the community but the proposal it considered "is not doable right now."

Owner confident of approval

Jeffrey Thibeau, who lives and paddles on First Lake, said he wants to take his daughter out on the lake this summer to learn to paddle, but he's worried about getting around the waterslide operation.

"You're forcing new paddlers to then paddle out into deeper waters that they might not be as comfortable to paddle in," said Thibeau, who left a comment on the Transport Canada website. "So it's really taking it away from recreational users and specifically from new learners."

But Wolpin is confident that Transport Canada will approve his waterslide business, pointing out it only uses less than a half percent of the entire lake.

According to Wolpin, Splashifax has also applied for a mooring permit from the provincial Department of the Environment. He added a municipal development permit has to be applied for by the owner of the property where the ramp is located.

That's because both the Sackville Arena and the Sackawa properties are zoned recreational, so a commercial business cannot apply for a development permit at either site.

"One of the ways around that is for a non-profit organization to be the host of the water park and then have Splashifax to provide the service," said Coun. Paul Russell.

But the councillor said so far no development permit has been applied for.

Splashifax has said it would like to open in mid-June. But the owners are concerned about the impact COVID-19 will have on the start of their new business.