Chris Steunenberg, owner of Splashdown Vernon water park, is preparing for the first day of opening July 18, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Chris Steunenberg, owner of Splashdown Vernon water park, is preparing for the first day of opening July 18, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Vernon waterslides to set to reopen tomorrow

A number of pandemic procedures in place at Splashdown Vernon, formerly Atlantis Waterslides

With a new name and a lengthy list of COVID-19 safety measures in place, Vernon’s water park is ready to reopen tomorrow.

Splashdown Vernon, formerly Atlantis Waterslides, will open at 25 per cent of its capacity Saturday, July 18, and the plan is to remain open until early September.

Coldstream’s Chris Steunenberg couldn’t have envisioned opening under these circumstances when he purchased the popular park in 2019, but with his decades of experience in the industry, he’s committed to bringing a splash of fun to local families this summer.

“There’s no business case for this,” he said. “We just thought it’s the right thing for us to do at this time, to get open and at least allow people who want to come out with their families.

“People are starving for things to do.”

The Steunenberg family purchased Cultus Lake Waterpark more than 25 years ago, and went on to build an amusement park across from it.

“The seasonal water park and amusement park business is our life,” said Steunenberg, whose two sons operate different aspects of the business. “As a young man with young kids I would go to water parks and amusement parks all the time, every chance we got.

“It’s just so fun to be able to have an enjoyable experience with your own kids.”

The waterslides won’t be an all-day event during the pandemic. Instead, visitors can attend one of two four-hour sessions — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. During the hour in between sessions, staff will be giving the park a top-to-bottom cleaning.

Guests are asked to arrive half an hour early to their session.

READ MORE: Lake Country mine makes way for industrial project

READ MORE: COVID-19: Fundraiser launched to keep Vernon restaurant afloat

At the entrance, guests will be asked to fill out a COVID-19 contact tracing card.

Beyond the gates, there are bathing limits in the pools and extra staff on hand at the popular Riot River slide to keep tubers apart.

Picnic tables have been reduced in number and spread out to provide extra space for physical distancing. Steunenberg said physical distancing protocols have already been successfully put in place at the Cultus Lake park.

Business promises to be challenging in the short term, but the new owners are playing the long game.

“We’ve got to wait until this thing gets under control and then it’ll start to become a profit centre again. Until then, it’s a community service.”

Upgrades to the park have been in the works since September including a new filtration system, retaining walls and a revamped upper parking lot — and Steunenberg has big ideas for the future once things return to normal.

“We have plans to add more slides, a whole new kids play area and cabanas with a real nice view overlooking the lake,” Steunenberg said.

Plans for the park aren’t yet ready to be unveiled, but Steunenberg said they’ll likely be made public in the next six months, adding he’s met with the Regional District of North Okanagan to discuss the ideas.

The park’s concession stand will be limited to snacks only until further notice.

Tickets are a flat rate of $25 per person.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One of the tractors, loaded on a truck bed to avoid impeding traffic, from the Oct. 17 rally in support of farmers in India. Another rally will be held on Dec. 5 from 9 to 10 a.m. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Rally in support of Indian farmers to drive through Penticton

‘Farmers’ lives are in danger right now’

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

The Siberian elm is an invasive plant. In Manitou Park in Naramata, crews are working to remove these trees and plant native species instead (File photo)
Crews remove Siberian elms from Naramata park

Invasive plant identified as a problem in region

This is how the two-way cycle lane would look like on Martin Street for the Lake-to-Lake route. (City of Penticton)
Penticton to involve residents in detailed planning for new bike route

The city is considered reducing the 200 block of Martin Street to one lane instead of removing parking

The Penticton Vees announced Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 that all players have staff have tested negative for COVID-19. The team has been in isolation since a player tested positive Nov. 28. (Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees players and staff test negative for COVID-19

The team has been in isolation since a player tested positive last week

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Two arrested after attack at Vernon home

Police spotted around 43rd Avenue linked to Wednesday assault

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
Kelowna hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced the Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Most Read