WildPlay park seeks break in rent

Numbers down from projections but the attraction is drawing the younger set

WildPlay drew 14

WildPlay drew 14

Maple Ridge council has been asked to cut in half the annual rental bill it charges WildPlay Element Park for using its space on Fern Crescent because business at the park is falling short of expectations.

According to a staff report, revenue from the 2010 and 2011 seasons is 43 per cent below projections.

Currently, WildPlay pays the district $32,000 annually for use of the park. The Victoria-based company wants to cut that to $16,000 for two years as it tunes up its operation.

WildPlay parks feature play devices such as plank bridges, rope ladders, swings and tightropes suspended in the tree tops. Patrons, both young and old, once they are harnessed in, then navigate the aerial course.

The Maple Ridge operation, though, seems to be attracting the younger set more than the WildPlay’s other parks in Nanaimo, Victoria and Whistler.

Three-quarters of the customers turning up at WildPlay in Maple Ridge are kids, which could be hurting returns. Bad weather in the first half of 2011 also could have hurt numbers.

In its first year of operation, the park drew more than 14,000 customers, with almost 70 per cent of those from outside the area.

As well, 88 per cent of the customers were from B.C.

Council will deal with the request at a later meeting.