Down the tube
By CRAIG McTEAR
ONE of Coffs Harbour's iconic landmarks is now a pitiful sight to behold.
The Aquajet waterslide, which closed two years ago next to Park Beach Plaza to make way for retail development, lies on the ground in disarray at Coffs Harbour Airport.
The massive structure which once dominated the city's skyline is now in many pieces, a tragic end for a much-loved tourist attraction which entertained young and old for 25 years.
It epitomised summer fun in Coffs Harbour and swarmed with happy kids and their parents. It was also an important venue where schools and community groups could raise funds.
All feel its loss immensely.
The Coffs Harbour Zoo took over ownership of the Aquajet in 2005 with plans to rebuild it, but there is still no word on its future.
"I was out at the airport a fortnight ago. I could have cried really. It's been sitting there for two years," the former Aquajet owner, Ken Lessells, said.
"I just can't believe it. I built the bloody thing from scratch.
"Every time I drive past the plaza, I can't believe there are no longer kids playing at the Aquajet.
"I'd like to see someone buy it off the zoo and put it up at the showground if a site is available, so it can once again be an attraction for the town."
Mr Lessells sold it to the zoo rather than looking for buyers elsewhere because he wanted to keep it in Coffs Harbour.
Unfortunately, he has had to pay rental on the airport land for the dismantled Aquajet, as well as insurance.
Mr Lessells is now selling the go-karts and speedball game ? which he didn't sell to the zoo ? on eBay.
Coffs Harbour Zoo projects manager Troy Saville denied speculation the zoo was being sold.
He said, however, the complex would be closed 'at some stage in the near future' for renovations.
Mr Saville was not sure how long the closure was for, or if the Aquajet was part of the refurbishment.