Many lifelong memories have been created at Tsawwassen’s Splashdown waterslide park.
But that will come to an end this season, which is slated to be the last for the facility that’s been serving up waves of fun for more than three decades.
Harold Frederiks has been the manager of Splashdown Waterparks Inc. for the past 16 seasons.
The lease with the Tsawwassen First Nation, he said, expires at the end of the upcoming operating season (which starts Saturday, June 4 and ends on Labour Day, with the possibility of another weekend thereafter depending on the weather).
But even if that lease were to be extended, the facility’s age is showing.
It’s been in operation for more than 30 years, and that’s about the lifespan of the water slides and park infrastructure.
There are no plans to be part of the new shopping mall that’s currently under construction next door.
It’s simply a coincidence that the mall’s opening will come at about the same time as the park’s closure.
“The timing just happens to be the same,” Frederiks said.
The waterslide park hasn’t struggled for attendance.
“I think the demand is still there, even at 30 years old. New families come every summer. Kids don’t really care if the park is five years old or 30 years old. The park still fills up and people still have a good time,” he said.
After this upcoming season, the closest waterpark will be at Cultus Lake, which is about 90 minutes away.
The park employed more than 100 seasonal employees, mostly college and high school students, as well as three full-time employees.
Frederiks said many employees have worked at the park for many years.
“There are couples who have met while working here and were married afterward,” he said.
It’s ironic that the waterslide park will be closing just as surrounding development is booming.
“This would be one of the best locations to do it,” Frederiks said when asked where an investor might want to build a new waterpark. The mall and residential development nearby would figure to boost attendance numbers.
So what’s in store for the final season?
“We’re working on plans to go out on a high note,” he said. “We want people to know it’s our last year…we’ll do some throw-back stuff.”
Splashdown is located at 4775 Nulelum Way, Tsawwassen.
The Township of Langley is building a public water park that will include slides that’s scheduled to open in Aldergrove in May of 2018.
The Aldergrove Recreation Centre will include an outdoor park featuring waterslides, a tidal pool, current channel, a children’s aqua structure, playground and picnic area.