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Hastings council to invest in Splash Planet

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Splash Planet is to undergo significant upgrades and equipment replacements ahead of opening for summer in mid-November this year.

Hawke’s Bay’s most popular tourist attraction, the facility was created from what had once been the dry-ride theme park Fantasyland, operated by a trust.

Falling into decline, Fantasyland was rebranded as Splash Planet and opened in 1998 after significant investment to convert it to its present theme. Splash Planet came to Council from trust governance in 2004, and since that time has been managed, funded and governed by Council. 

Regular appraisals are carried out on the facility, and most recently a number of works and improvements have been identified that will enhance the experience – including replacing the go-karts and bumper boats with new ones, upgrading the grounds and playground equipment, improving the wastewater system and the building, electrical and plumbing assets.

The projected cost of the upgrades was $2.4m, a proportion of which would come from existing operational and capital budgets set aside for the facility, and the rest from loan funding to avoid putting the costs on ratepayers. 

The area behind the main water features will be closed off and the new jeeps and other amusement devices in that area relocated to the front of the park to ensure they are able to be used by visitors.

The kayak facility would also be closed, and this whole area assessed with the potential to be reopened as a public space at some point in the future.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said that Splash Planet was an important recreational park in Hastings, much-loved by visitors and locals alike.

“We know the opening of Splash Planet is a much anticipated event each summer and we want to make sure it is a fabulous experience.

“Although we acknowledge the cost burdens we are experiencing as a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, this attraction is very important to our people and our district, and Council is committed to upgrading the facility.

“By getting started with these improvements now we have the best chance of re-opening in the middle of November.

 “We have tried to keep ticket price rises to a minimum in recent years, but to deliver this improved offering for users and reflect the true cost of operating Splash Planet we will be increasing the per-person price by between $4 and $6, which will help ensure we can re-open this summer.”

The go-karts will be replaced with electric options, electric outboard motors installed in the bumper boats, and the kitchen/café facility and equipment would be upgraded.

19 May 2023

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