Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lockport waterpark to be demolished by the end of the year

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Lockport's Wet 'n Wild park will soon be dry and dismantled.

The giant waterslide, which has become like a giant road statue for Lockport, is slated to be demolished by year's end. The water park hasn't operated since 2005.

Some area councillors consider the derelict waterslide an eyesore. The slide looks like winding viscera, painted a powder blue, on the horizon when you drive into the community north of Winnipeg.

But a bigger concern has been safety, said St. Andrews Mayor Don Forfar. Vandals have gotten into the area and broken windows and the slide. Forfar fears someone could fall or even drown when water from rain and snow melt accumulates in the pool. Owners have tried to tighten security around the waterslide recently.

The park was run for many years by Al and Louise Thompson, who also own Skinner's Restaurant in Lockport. The park also included a miniature golf course, bumper boats, an arcade, a horseshoe pit and a gift shop.

But insurance costs and so many wet summers in the early 2000s made it no longer viable. The Thompsons sold it several years ago to Santa Fe Developments, owned by a group from India, who have talked about putting everything from a hotel to condo units to single-family housing there.

Forfar said Santa Fe has promised to demolish the waterslide by year's end, although he noted time is running out.

Santa Fe could not be reached for comment. The company is waiting for the area to get sewer service before it puts its development plans on the table.

St. Andrews has a draft agreement with the City of Winnipeg for sewer service, one similar to the agreement the city signed with the RM of West St. Paul earlier this year. Lawyers for the city are currently reviewing the draft, Forfar said. The city is also negotiating a sewer-sharing agreement with the RM of Rosser.

Sewer pipes are just starting to be installed in West St. Paul, and people will likely see the installation work throughout the winter west of Main Street, which becomes Highway 9 outside the city. An explosion of development is expected to follow the new sewer line.

Forfar said it would take a couple years for sewer pipes to reach the St. Andrews boundary, and probably a couple more years to extend as far as Lockport.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2013 A13

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