“My father and I are doing everything we can to make this park as safe as possible, and to have someone tell you it’s not, it’s very heart-wrenching,” said Jan Armstrong, who owns the Kenosee Superslides with his father Harvey.
On Thursday evening, the water park was served with a notice of closure, which shut down the park for the weekend and for the foreseeable future.
Armstrong says he will be appealing the decision on Monday.
Read more: Manitoba welcomes first floating water park
The health authority has deemed the park unsafe for public use and has cancelled the operational licence for the Superslides.
The SHA told Global News they can not provide further comment at this time.
But for Armstrong, he feels the health authority has made the decision based on emotions rather than a specific incident. According to Armstrong, no one has been injured on a slide at the park in the last year.
“We’re one of the safest water parks in the country,” Armstrong said.
“The bare bones of it, they feel — they feel, a feeling — our water slides are not safe for public use.”
The Superslides have been in business for 34 years, with Armstrong and his father taking over the business last year.
Armstrong says they clean and gel coat all their slides in operation and do maintenance and slide checks every day “to make sure the parks and slides are as safe as possible.”
The closure has put over 70 employees out of work, which is a concern for Armstrong, who says they employ a lot of people who lost jobs during the coronavius pandemic and students who are saving money for university.
He’s also worried about how the closure could affect the local economy and surrounding businesses. According to Armstrong, the Superslides water park attracts up to 70,000 people a year. Since the pandemic began, the park has been attracting around 2,100 visitors a week.
Armstrong says the decision is completely out of their hands at this point, but he will continue fighting.
“We’re going to keep trying to keep the park open, not just for our staff, not just for my father and myself, or the other businesses, but for the customers who come out here and support us,” Armstrong said.
The owners are hoping to have the park inspected and re-opened by September.