Company bails on plans for Welland waterpark

COVID-19 has punctured plans for an inflatable waterpark next summer on the Welland Recreational Canal, says a report headed to city council Tuesday night.

City staff will ask politicians to consider reissuing a request for proposals (RFP) to operate a facility on the north end of the waterway, at the Community Boathouse on Thorold Road.

In May, PT Watersports was the only company that bid on running a waterpark in the Rose City, though five other companies picked up RFP documents.

At the time at least one councillor wanted to delay awarding the contract, concerned over a lack of information when it came to liability insurance, security, the size and capacity of the park, and the number of lifeguards that would be working.

Another councillor said there was a misconception the park would be free to city residents and wanted to see the park located at the Lincoln Street Docks.

The idea of a waterpark has been floated since August 2019. Earlier this year two groups — Pirate Ship Cove out of Jordan and Welland resident Derek Stonier of Splashtown Niagara — approached the city about setting up in the former canal.

Neither of those groups submitted a proposal and did not respond to the city when asked why.

PT Watersports opened its first waterpark — FunSplash Hamilton — in June 2018 at Binbrook Conservation Area. It also operates St. Marys Quarry waterpark in St. Marys.

Tuesday’s report, by recreation and culture division manager Richard Dalton and fleet, equipment and purchasing manager Adam Beres, said PT Watersports has faced significant impacts due to COVID-19, including the closure of all its facilities this year.

“Due to this impact, PT Watersports have indicated they are not ready to proceed with the financial and operational commitment of entering a contract to open a new facility at this time,” the report said.