Water world of fun in Airlie
LACHLAN Queenan's showbusiness past shone through on Wednesday morning as he watched his latest project - Airlie Beach's first water park - slowly inflate on the shores of Pioneer Bay.
"The idea is to make people's jaws drop, their body rock and their eyeballs pop as they slip and slide," he quipped.
"So yeah, we're all new and just for you - Airlie Beach!"
Airlie Ride & Slide, as the aqua park is named, is in the ocean along the south-west edge of the Airlie Beach lagoon rock wall and will officially open on Saturday at 10.30am.
Fully inflated, the park will cover 45m2, including a safety ring that excludes boats and other marine traffic.
With a capacity of 65 people per hour, the giant water-based playground is sure to be a hit with locals and tourists alike.
Mr Queenan said the idea for the water park had been in the pipeline for some time now.
"After years in the tourism industry and living and working in Airlie Beach and travelling away and working the largest shows in the country, I decided that the next step for me was to bring something back to the community and bring some entertainment and a bit of fun to Airlie Beach," he said.
"I wanted to not travel around the country doing the big shows, I wanted to stay home, I wanted to do more around the town, put back in and have a go - as a young Aussie I wanted to have a go.
"So I investigated an inflatable water park late last year and started making the appropriate conversations with the council."
The council approved a six-month trial of the aqua park in April this year, with an option for a further six-month extension to the trial.
"Both (Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor) Jennifer Whitney and (Whitsunday Regional Council Director of Planning and Community) Dan Staley, they both gave me guidance and support to see this come to fruition and make it not just a dream but a reality," Mr Queenan said.
Safety will be a priority for the park, with operators trained and accredited as lifeguards by the Airlie Beach Whitsunday Life Saving Club.
Mr Queenan said entrance to the water park would cost $15 for 50 minutes.
Discounted entrance fees of $10 are available to locals who call Mr Queenan on 0432 248 900 and book before Saturday.
Children under the age of 10 need to be accompanied by an adult.
More information can be found at http://www.facebook.com/airlieridenslide.
A second water park under the name of Airlie Aqua Park is planned for Boathaven Beach and will open on June 26.