Jamberoo Action Park owner and managing director Jim Eddy was a relieved man on the weekend after successfully securing an increased capacity limit at the attraction for the opening of its 40th season on Saturday.
Mr Eddy said Kiama MP Gareth Ward was instrumental in helping ensure the attraction could welcome 5000 visitors instead of the 500 it was going to be allowed.
He said the 40th season was beginning to look unviable but when news filtered through that the allowed capacity had been increased tenfold, based on Jamberoo Action Park's COVID Safe Plan on four hectares of guest accessible space, it was cause for the business and its mostly casual workforce to celebrate.
Mr Eddy said the chlorinated water would act as an ongoing sanitising agent to help keep the park COVID safe.
"We are extremely thankful to Gareth who delivered when the future of our business was on the line," he said.
"On the back of the summer bushfires and now COVID-19, this has been one of the hardest years in our 40 year history, and restrictions of 500 patrons would have ultimately seen us close."
Mr Eddy said Jamberoo Action Park brings thousands of tourists to the region each year and its closure would have had a negative impact on the local economy.
Mr Ward said he was acutely aware of the hundreds of people that Jamberoo employed, particularly the large number of young people and was really pleased the Health Minister Brad Hazzard responded positively to his request to allow it to stay open.
Jamberoo Action Park general manager Matt George said with warmer weather forecast leading into the long weekend the action would start to heat up at the theme park and he expects 200 people will get work during the school holidays.
The attraction will also open every day during the summer holidays.
Mr George said details about the COVIDSafe plan were available on the website for anyone who wants to check it out.
"Everyone has been really responsive to the updated processes we have in place and have been doing their best with social distancing and hygiene practices," he said.
"And the staff have been really responsive to adjusting to the new procedures. Everyone was very excited when they learnt we would be able to have more people in the park because it provided them with more opportunity for shifts this spring and summer."
Among those enjoying the first weekend was Newcastle mum Anna Marriott and her son Blake Marriott.
When she heard Jamberoo Action Park was opening she decided to make a beeline for the water based attraction and is planning to come back next weekend for more fun.
Mrs Marriott said she was making the two trips with two sets of friends in the Hunter Valley who were also keen.
"I grew up watching the ads for it in Sydney but I never came," she said.
Jamberoo lived up to everything Mrs Marriott thought it was and more because she didn't realise how many water rides.there were. She said Sunday was a little cool but there were no queues on any of the rides which meant they got to enjoy a day of non stop action.
Blake, 9, described the experience as amazing and plans to tell all his friends at school. He has done Wet'n'Wild in Queensland every year for the last few years and said Jamberoo was just as good. Despite all the new rides one of the oldest "The Rock' was his favourite.
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