NEW BEDFORD — City Councillor Hugh Dunn has weighed in on the ongoing dispute over the inflatable water park installed at East Beach in the city's South End.

The Ward Three Councillor is questioning why the proposal for an agreement between the City of New Bedford and a private company for a water park was not brought before City Council.

“I just don’t know how this didn’t go through the Council. I was surprised when I started getting calls on this because this is something that certainly makes sense for the Council to review. As the body of the residents of the city, we should be doing our due diligence when we’re allowing private companies to use our public resources,” said Dunn.

“I’d like to know how we got to this place because I think that we should have had a public discussion about this because it’s public space. Its city property and the beach is a shared resource that makes the city so great, since people can use that and that it’s right here.”

On Monday, WBSM’s Chris McCarthy brought attention to the misperception that the raft would be free to use, stating that the City of New Bedford and the private company that installed it, Altitude H2O. McCarthy points out that a press release issued by the city in the final week of June states that admission to the water park is “$15 to $30 for single and double sessions.”

“The 30,000 square-foot Altitude H2O New Bedford will be a one-of a kind, inflatable playground on the water featuring obstacles including monkey bars, slides, trampolines and balance beams,” the press release continued.

“To ensure the safety of the guests, the water park enlists certified lifeguards to watch the course and all participants must wear an aqua park-issued life jacket and must sign a waiver as well as attend a 15-minute safety orientation. Once it opens in July, Altitude H2O will operate daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Dunn adds that liability for injury and death is another factor in the park’s installation, another reason he says the proposal should have been brought before the city’s legislative body. He also says that if the park attracts people living outside New Bedford, city residents should get a discounted admission price.

“With this, I wonder who and what is liable. It’s entirely foreseeable that a child could injure themselves jumping around on a trampoline in the water like this. I’d like to know whether there would be a reduced rate for city residents. I certainly think that it shouldn’t prevent folks who normally go to the beach from going,” Dunn said.

The city had also mentioned in the press release that Altitude H2O had been planning to host a grand opening in early July. It is unknown if the park will still adhere to the July celebration or even open for the summer. The park is still in the setup phase and is not yet open for business.

Altitude H2O has an option for guests of all ages and can accommodate groups of any size.


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