Hamilton calms waters at Wild Waterworks for 2020 season

News May 14, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton has pulled the plug on Wild Waterworks for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton Conservation Authority chief administrative officer Lisa Burnside said it will mean an operating loss of about $425,000 to close the park now. If the water park had operated during the summer, the operating deficit could be as high as $2.6 million for additional cleaning.

“This was a difficult recommendation to make,” Burnside told councillors on May 13.

She said there will be no layoffs of staff, but the estimated 150 seasonal staff, which includes lifeguards, waterslide attendants, cashiers, food services, cooks, security officers and maintenance staff, will not be hired for 2020.

Burnside said that even if the province eased its emergency measures, including allowing gatherings of people above five, the facility needs at least six weeks to prepare to reopen. That would mean an opening date of July 1, with a significant portion of the season already lost, she said, adding that the facility needs at least 10,000 visitors a day to earn enough revenue to cover its costs.

It is conceivable that the public will be reluctant to visit public facilities such as the water park due to fears of the virus. She said every drop of 10,000 visitors means a $200,000 loss in revenue.

She also pointed out that there could be gatherings of 250 people in the wave pool, creating health risks at a time when the province is ordering physical distancing.

“This is a realistic scenario we find ourselves in,” said Burnside.

The authority operates Confederation Beach Park and its amenities on behalf of the city for a management fee of 15 per cent of operating expenses, and has been doing so since 1990.

Wild Waterworks generated $2.9 million in revenue in 2019, about $137,000 more than expenses, which included a $360,000 management fee.

“It’s cheaper to leave it closed than open it up,” said Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who is also the chair of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s board of directors. “I know there will be disappointed people.”

One silver lining from closing the water park, said Burnside, is that needed maintenance will be done this season rather than over the course of two seasons. She said painting and resurfacing work will be done at the small children’s area to meet public health recommendations, and upgrades will be conducted at the cashier’s location.

Even though the water park will be closed, the conservation authority is intent on reopening Lakeland Pool and the other amenities in Confederation Beach Park.

Ferguson said the conservation areas generate about $8 million annually, offsetting other expenses, but the Wild Waterworks closing will have a negative budget impact on the authority’s bottom line.

Councillors lamented the decision to close Wild Waterworks for the season, even though Ontario’s coronavirus data suggests the number of cases are trending downward. However, politicians are wary of opening outdoor activities this summer that generate large gatherings, for fear of prompting a second wave of the coronavirus spread. It was one of the reasons why the Canadian National Exhibition was cancelled for 2020.

Councillors are increasingly wondering whether other popular seasonal festivals in the city will get the axe, including the Winona Peach Festival, Supercrawl, Cactus Festival and other fall festivals.

“We will be hard-pressed to open any of these facilities if you have to stay two metres apart from your neighbour,” said Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark. “We have to be honest with residents. It’s going to be very challenging opening up these outdoor recreation facilities with that protocol in play.”

Hamilton drains Wild Waterworks for 2020 season due to coronavirus pandemic

News May 14, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton has pulled the plug on Wild Waterworks for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton Conservation Authority chief administrative officer Lisa Burnside said it will mean an operating loss of about $425,000 to close the park now. If the water park had operated during the summer, the operating deficit could be as high as $2.6 million for additional cleaning.

“This was a difficult recommendation to make,” Burnside told councillors on May 13.

She said there will be no layoffs of staff, but the estimated 150 seasonal staff, which includes lifeguards, waterslide attendants, cashiers, food services, cooks, security officers and maintenance staff, will not be hired for 2020.

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Burnside said that even if the province eased its emergency measures, including allowing gatherings of people above five, the facility needs at least six weeks to prepare to reopen. That would mean an opening date of July 1, with a significant portion of the season already lost, she said, adding that the facility needs at least 10,000 visitors a day to earn enough revenue to cover its costs.

It is conceivable that the public will be reluctant to visit public facilities such as the water park due to fears of the virus. She said every drop of 10,000 visitors means a $200,000 loss in revenue.

She also pointed out that there could be gatherings of 250 people in the wave pool, creating health risks at a time when the province is ordering physical distancing.

“This is a realistic scenario we find ourselves in,” said Burnside.

The authority operates Confederation Beach Park and its amenities on behalf of the city for a management fee of 15 per cent of operating expenses, and has been doing so since 1990.

Wild Waterworks generated $2.9 million in revenue in 2019, about $137,000 more than expenses, which included a $360,000 management fee.

“It’s cheaper to leave it closed than open it up,” said Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who is also the chair of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s board of directors. “I know there will be disappointed people.”

One silver lining from closing the water park, said Burnside, is that needed maintenance will be done this season rather than over the course of two seasons. She said painting and resurfacing work will be done at the small children’s area to meet public health recommendations, and upgrades will be conducted at the cashier’s location.

Even though the water park will be closed, the conservation authority is intent on reopening Lakeland Pool and the other amenities in Confederation Beach Park.

Ferguson said the conservation areas generate about $8 million annually, offsetting other expenses, but the Wild Waterworks closing will have a negative budget impact on the authority’s bottom line.

Councillors lamented the decision to close Wild Waterworks for the season, even though Ontario’s coronavirus data suggests the number of cases are trending downward. However, politicians are wary of opening outdoor activities this summer that generate large gatherings, for fear of prompting a second wave of the coronavirus spread. It was one of the reasons why the Canadian National Exhibition was cancelled for 2020.

Councillors are increasingly wondering whether other popular seasonal festivals in the city will get the axe, including the Winona Peach Festival, Supercrawl, Cactus Festival and other fall festivals.

“We will be hard-pressed to open any of these facilities if you have to stay two metres apart from your neighbour,” said Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark. “We have to be honest with residents. It’s going to be very challenging opening up these outdoor recreation facilities with that protocol in play.”

Hamilton drains Wild Waterworks for 2020 season due to coronavirus pandemic

News May 14, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton has pulled the plug on Wild Waterworks for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton Conservation Authority chief administrative officer Lisa Burnside said it will mean an operating loss of about $425,000 to close the park now. If the water park had operated during the summer, the operating deficit could be as high as $2.6 million for additional cleaning.

“This was a difficult recommendation to make,” Burnside told councillors on May 13.

She said there will be no layoffs of staff, but the estimated 150 seasonal staff, which includes lifeguards, waterslide attendants, cashiers, food services, cooks, security officers and maintenance staff, will not be hired for 2020.

Related Content

Burnside said that even if the province eased its emergency measures, including allowing gatherings of people above five, the facility needs at least six weeks to prepare to reopen. That would mean an opening date of July 1, with a significant portion of the season already lost, she said, adding that the facility needs at least 10,000 visitors a day to earn enough revenue to cover its costs.

It is conceivable that the public will be reluctant to visit public facilities such as the water park due to fears of the virus. She said every drop of 10,000 visitors means a $200,000 loss in revenue.

She also pointed out that there could be gatherings of 250 people in the wave pool, creating health risks at a time when the province is ordering physical distancing.

“This is a realistic scenario we find ourselves in,” said Burnside.

The authority operates Confederation Beach Park and its amenities on behalf of the city for a management fee of 15 per cent of operating expenses, and has been doing so since 1990.

Wild Waterworks generated $2.9 million in revenue in 2019, about $137,000 more than expenses, which included a $360,000 management fee.

“It’s cheaper to leave it closed than open it up,” said Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who is also the chair of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s board of directors. “I know there will be disappointed people.”

One silver lining from closing the water park, said Burnside, is that needed maintenance will be done this season rather than over the course of two seasons. She said painting and resurfacing work will be done at the small children’s area to meet public health recommendations, and upgrades will be conducted at the cashier’s location.

Even though the water park will be closed, the conservation authority is intent on reopening Lakeland Pool and the other amenities in Confederation Beach Park.

Ferguson said the conservation areas generate about $8 million annually, offsetting other expenses, but the Wild Waterworks closing will have a negative budget impact on the authority’s bottom line.

Councillors lamented the decision to close Wild Waterworks for the season, even though Ontario’s coronavirus data suggests the number of cases are trending downward. However, politicians are wary of opening outdoor activities this summer that generate large gatherings, for fear of prompting a second wave of the coronavirus spread. It was one of the reasons why the Canadian National Exhibition was cancelled for 2020.

Councillors are increasingly wondering whether other popular seasonal festivals in the city will get the axe, including the Winona Peach Festival, Supercrawl, Cactus Festival and other fall festivals.

“We will be hard-pressed to open any of these facilities if you have to stay two metres apart from your neighbour,” said Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark. “We have to be honest with residents. It’s going to be very challenging opening up these outdoor recreation facilities with that protocol in play.”