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Authority responsible for aquatic play area ‘didn’t understand’ water science

Authority responsible for aquatic play area ‘didn’t understand’ water science
December 16, 2016

The saga of the management of Perth’s Elizabeth Quay aquatic playground has continued with Western Australia’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) Chief Executive Kieran Kinsella recently telling a Western Australia Parliamentary Estimates committee that his agency “didn’t understand the science” behind the play area during planning.

Kinsella explained “in our first attempt, we did not have enough scrubbing capacity of the water.

“We did not actually understand all of the science about how these things operate. It was a new initiative for us, but we have now come to that understanding.”

In February 2016, following routine water sampling, the Western Australia’s Department of Health (WA Health) recommended the temporary closure of the park, less than a month after opening.

At the time, WA Health Chief Health Officer Tarun Weeramanthri said the closure followed the detection of bacteria (Pseudomonas type) in the water spray and amoebae in the waste discharge pipes, and was closed to allow for modifications to the park’s filtration systems.

Earlier reports also suggested Naegleria fowleri bacteria had been found at the park.

Kinsella told the hearing that the level of usage was beyond what they anticipated, adding “from our point of view it is not an exact science.

“All of these water parks have their own idiosyncrasies.

“They are not like for like; it is not like I am going to build you a 60,000-litre swimming pool and that is the sort of pump system you need to run it. They all have their own different operations.”

He said the upgrades to the filtration system, including doubling the number of filters, the adding of two UV filters, another pump and improved chemical calibration, had cost about $290,000.

In March, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett apologised to the family of a five-year-old girl who developed an eye infection that left her partially blind after playing in the water park at Elizabeth Quay.

The Elizabeth Quay website says the play area remains closed for maintenance although news reports from Perth Now suggest it will reopen before Christmas.

As detailed in a feature in the November/December 2016 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, the NSW Government is reportedly looking to change the Public Health Act to ensure aquatic playgrounds and interactive water fountains are included in the definition of a public swimming pool.

Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

11th August 2016 - STILL NO REOPENING DATE FOR TROUBLED ELIZABETH QUAY AQUATIC PLAYGROUND 

6th June 2016 - DOCUMENTS SHOW ELIZABETH QUAY WATER PLAYGROUND ALLOWED TO OPEN BEFORE IT WAS TESTED SAFE

20th March 2016 - PERTH’S ELIZABETH QUAY WATER PLAYGROUND COST $12.85 MILLION

11th February 2016 - ELIZABETH QUAY SPLASHPAD DEBUGGED AND REOPENED

21st August 2013 - SPLASH PAD AMENDMENTS INCLUDED IN NEW WESTERN AUSTRALIA CODE OF PRACTICE FOR AQUATIC FACILITIES


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