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

Alan can be seen picking organic ambrosia apples on his Keremeos orchard, Old Tower Farm. The provincial government has partnered with the farm owners to lease a portion of their orchard to a new farmer. (Old Tower Farm photo)
Budding farmer gets his start on Keremeos orchard

Kanver Brares, 21, will grow the fruits of his labour on leased land at Old Tower Farms

Corsac the cat is up for adoption at Critteraid.
Critteraid hosts three adoption Sundays

More than 40 cats looking for their forever homes

Abigail McCluskey is in the Netherlands training to compete in the World Cup next month. She joins 12 Canadian speedskaters for the international competition later this month. (Dave Holland CSI Calgary)
Penticton speed skater in Netherlands for World Cup

Abigail McCluskey will be skating the long track in the international competition

Summerland Middle School
COVID exposure at Summerland Middle School

The person who tested positive was at school Jan. 11

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement facility. (Good Samaritan Society photo)
Resident of Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement home tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak at the facility

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Most Read