Water slides planned for river

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:44 14/08/2014
Aflex water slide
SPLASHING OUT: An Aflex water slide similar to the slides to be set up on the Taylor River bank.

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There's now another reason to look forward to summer in Blenheim - three 30-metre water slides are planned for the banks of the Taylor River.

Nativity Scouts, one of five Scout groups in Marlborough, have organised three water slides and 20 canoes for a series of events in spring and summer.

Nativity Scout committee member Bruce Petrie said the project, which has been four years in the making, is open to the public for no charge.

Six Sunday events will be held on the river bank next to the Taylor and Opawa River confluence, near the the Boathouse Theatre, in November and December, with the possibility of more events in January and February.

Nativity Scouts have already bought one of the 30-metre long portable slides, made of a thick, plastic coated canvas with inflatable sides, with the help of a grant from the Pelorus Trust.

A further $11,000 is needed to purchase the other two slides, which cost about $1100 each, as well as pumping equipment, hoses and spreader bars, Petrie said.

The whole project is costing about $55,000, with $44,000 already raised through grants and fundraising.

The idea was sprung about five years ago when Nativity Scouts set up a 20m slide at a reserve at Marshall Place, Blenheim, as part of the annual national Scout Mudslide Day.

"The water wouldn't stay on the slide and the reserve got quite damaged," Petrie said.

They tried again the following year, but the slide was "totally wrecked" because the material wasn't sturdy enough. "This time I think it will work," he said.

One of the slides would have a slower water flow suitable for young children, while the other two slides were for the "bigger kids", including adults, he said.

"We've identified about 4500 children from schools, groups and social clubs who are keen to get involved," Petrie said.

The event was free and open to anyone as a way for Scouts to share what they had with the community, he said.

It would also help develop water safety and confidence in younger children.

"It's a fun way for the kids to gain confidence in the water," he said. "It costs $1000 to buy a canoe, but the kids can come along and experience what it's like to sit on one for free."

The slides weighed about 50 kilograms each, so volunteers would be needed to set them up and dismantle them.

A sausage sizzle would also be held on the site.

"It's been a long-term plan, but it's finally coming together," Petrie said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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