Tom Dean and Sam Tredgold from Radford College at Big Splash enjoy the new waterslide which has finally been approved for use. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The ACT may have had its hottest summer on record, but it comes too late for the owners of Canberra water park Big Splash where new water slides have only just been approved.
After 16 months battling bureaucracy Big Splash finally had its last new slide approved — just in time for the end of summer.
Radford College students were the first to test out the last of four slides Big Splash owner Ron Watkins hoped to have approved in November 2012.
The final clearance for the Speed Coaster ride came at 10am on Thursday.
Having spent about $1.5 million on buying, installing and upgrading the slides that used to be at a water park in Queensland, not to mention time and energy to meet ACT government certification standards, Mr Watkins was relieved to see kids finally enjoying the twin-tube ride.
‘‘It’s been a battle, a lot of trials and tribulations to meet the standards that you wouldn’t see imposed anywhere else in Australia,’’ Mr Watkins said. ‘‘But we’ve got there and the kids are having a great time.’’
With a day to go, Canberra’s average maximum temperature for December, January and February has been 29.9 degrees, the highest average ever. It just broke the previous record of 29.88 degrees, which occurred in 2006.
On top of this, Canberra endured three days over 40 degrees during the 2013-14 summer season, bringing the total to 11 over the past five years.
In comparison, the average for the ACT has been just one day over 40 degrees every 10 years.
Bureau of Meteorology’s Sean Carson said Canberra had experienced three extremely hot summers in the past six years, with 2009, 2013 and 2014 all sending ACT residents rushing to the pool.
Mr Carson said several records have been shattered this summer, including the number of days over 37degrees in a row, which was broken twice.
‘‘It’s been dry and hot, dominated by the high pressure in the Tasman Sea,’’ Mr Carson said.
‘‘It’s been a very still summer. We haven’t seen a lot of wind, which is good news because if we’d had a good breeze to work with, we’d have had a lot more total fire ban days.’’
Until two weeks ago, it had also been Canberra’s driest summer on record with only 29.8 millimetres falling over December, January and the first half of February.
But recent thunderstorms have boosted the ACT’s rainfall total to a respectable 109.6 millimetres, although the total has still fallen well below Canberra’s summer average of 169 millimetres.
‘‘We were on track for our driest summer on record, then thankfully with a fairly lucky rainfall event we had a near tropical cyclone [storm] bringing us fantastic rainfall,’’ Mr Carson said.
Even with the recent rainfall, the 2013-14 summer has been Canberra’s driest since 2003 according to Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino.
The rest of the week is promising to be very mild compared to our scorching summer months, with some light rain and cool temperatures forecast heading into the weekend.
The maximum temperature tomorrow is expected to be 23 degrees.