Councillor David Dalgleish and son Sean, 3, were among the first to get wet at yesterday’s official opening of WetSide by Anna Bligh. The Premier left her boardies at home.
Councillor David Dalgleish and son Sean, 3, were among the first to get wet at yesterday’s official opening of WetSide by Anna Bligh. The Premier left her boardies at home. Alistair Brightman

Premier Bligh launches WetSide!

AFTER nine months of waiting Hervey Bay’s newest tourist attraction, WetSide, is open.

Premier Anna Bligh did the honours of launching the water education park yesterday morning in front of Fraser Coast councillors, members of parliament and Wide Bay Water Corporation staff and families.

Members of the public not at the invitation-only event, waited patiently outside in the warm sun, their noses up against fencing as they clambered to get a peak at the water features.

Ms Bligh hailed Hervey Bay as one of the most beautiful parts of Australia and said WetSide was just another reason for tourists to visit the seaside city.

“It’s a terrific idea. Not only is it wonderful for people and families. It will bring the community together on a regular basis.”

She said the park was one of 90 projects funded by the State Government as part of its Q150 celebrations and described it as one of the best in the bunch.

“It will provide an opportunity, particularly for young people, to learn about water and be smart about water.

“Water is one of the biggest challenges of our time.”

Although Ms Bligh was not showing off her legs in a pair of boardies she did don a WetSide hat to look the part.

After the official welcome she was escorted around the park by Fraser Coast mayor Mick Kruger and deputy mayor Belinda McNeven.

She chatted to toddlers and their parents during a special morningtea before the park gates were open and the hordes outside converged onthe play equipment.

Councillor David Dalgleish and his son, Sean, joined the young and the old getting soaked in the main play area.

“It’s absolutely wonderful; there’s no doubt about it,” Mr Dalgleish said.

“It’s going to be well used; my only concern with it will be the ongoing costs.”

Also impressed was father-of-two Jay Harris who said it was excellent thepark was free and it will draw him from his home in Maryborough to Hervey Bay more often.

Despite a great list of songs including Thriller, Love Shack and Eye of the Tiger being blared through speakers around WetSide, there was one minor problem at the launch.

The music to introduce the Spectacular water show, involving 310 jets in the centre ring, decided to get the hiccups under the pressure of the minister.

When it finally got going it was an impressive fountain dance to ABBA’s Waterloo; one that will only be improved with lights at night.

No matter how you feel about WetSide, the sight of children spraying each other with water pistols, waiting for the splash of the giant bucket, slipping down the slides and having a go at the BoardRider is enough to convince you it will be thoroughly enjoyed for years to come.

GET WET
  • WetSide is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm, and on Sunday, 10am to 6pm
  • Entry into WetSide is free however tickets to the BoardRider cost $5 for about 10 minutes
  • TheWetSide coffee shop is open the same hours as the park and sellsBoardRider tickets, ice cream, drinks, hot dogs, burgers and souvlaki; it will eventually sell WetSide merchandise
  • The main play area and TotSide are zero-depth, meaning there is no pool
  • A mother whale, 8.5m high, is currently being built and will go next to the calf in the main play area


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