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15 Apr 15

April 15, 2015

CV-Calypso19CMYK

Calypso Water Park

The Summit Tower shown above includes the Orange Bobsleigh ride which was one of the rides for which safety had to be improved. The park was found guilty of six out of an original 20 charges by the TSSA, not guilty of five, and nine were dropped earlier. The park says changes have been made to be more proactive regarding safety and reporting incidents. Vetter photo

Calypso Water Park Cleared of Five Charges – Guilty of Six

Candice Vetter

Villager Staff

OTTAWA – Calypso Water Park in Limoges has been found guilty of six out of 11 safety-related charges laid by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority related to incidents in 2011 and 2012. Justice Julie Lauzon found Calypso not guilty on three charges related to the Pirate’s Aquaplay, one charge on the Orange Bobsleigh (part of Summit Tower), and one charge on the Steamer. She found the park guilty of two charges relating to an incident resulting in serious injury on the Bobsleigh, and four charges relating to the Steamer.

A sentencing hearing will be held June 12. The TSSA had originally laid 20 charges against the park, but withdrew nine of them earlier this year due to lack of evidence. In her remarks regarding the three not guilty verdicts relating to Pirate’s Aquaplay, Justice Lauzon said the TSSA’s interpretation of staffing regulations contained discrepancies and ambiguities.

Regarding the two guilty Bobsleigh verdicts she agreed with Crown Prosecutor Tom Ayres that staff were not properly trained the day the incident occurred and that the ride was unsafe. Justice Lauzon criticized the park for its reporting and for leaving the Steamer slide open after there had been incidents. Lauzon also said the park must prevent accidents like those which occurred on June 19 and July 28 of 2012. In the June accident, a raft became stuck on the Orange Bobsleigh and another raft was allowed to enter the slide.

It struck the first raft and people were thrown from the slide and injured. In July, rafts hit the water surface at the bottom in such a way that the wall was hit and the riders thrown off, resulting in injuries. The park changed staffing requirements and training shortly after those events. “All rides are equipped with sensors, red lights and green lights, and a required number of staff persons,” said Ann Viau, media spokesperson for Calypso.

She also said the Orange Bobsleigh has been significantly improved since the incidents in question. In a prepared statement, Calypso said that, while disappointed in the guilty verdicts, it accepts Justice Lauzon’s decision and wants the public to know it continues to take steps to increase the park’s safety, including ongoing maintenance and improvements to its structures. “The safety of our guests is our top priority.” Defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon has stated that the water park has revamped reporting requirements for incidents and has made structural adjustments to the Steamer ride. He also said three of the guilty verdicts relate to administrative changes.

Of the original 20 charges, Greenspon said some incidents had not been reported by visitors to Calypso at the time of the alleged occurrence. Calypso has registered over two-million visitors since opening in 2010. It represents a $65-million investment and is in the process right now of hiring 600 seasonal workers. It will reopen for the 2015 season on June 4.