WOW factor could be on the way to park

Wow Balls at the docks in Liverpool. LT39-607-CON
Wow Balls at the docks in Liverpool. LT39-607-CON

PLANS for a new attraction that could allow people to walk on water at Carnfunnock Country Park have been presented to Larne Council this week.

Ian Lough, who has been the tenant of the park’s Family Fun Zone since 2004, wants to introduce the hugely popular activity known as WOW (walk on water) balls to the borough.

The activity involves a large inflatable sphere that allows a person to climb inside it and walk across the surface of water. The giant ball has a zipped entrance to allow for easy entry and exit, and has enough breathable air inside to last for up to an hour.

Mr Lough, who has established numerous activities at the fun zone over the years such as miniature golf, remote controlled boats, a bungie run and laser clay pigeon shooting, plans to set up a one-foot deep, 12m by 12m inflatable pool to cater for the proposed attraction. The maximum number of people allowed in the pool at any one time would be limited to five, for safety reasons.

At Monday’s meeting of the development committee in Smiley Buildings, he gave members a demonstration of a WOW ball being inflated with someone inside, and showed how quickly it deflates once the zip is open.

Mr Lough said he currently employs 10 part-time staff at the fun zone and added that this new activity would allow him to hire a further two employees.

“I have already had about 20 phone calls from people looking for seasonal work at the fun zone this year,” he told members.

He also gave details about the proposed pricing of the activity, estimating it would cost £2 for a child and £3 for an adult.

“I aim to give people good value for money so that they will come back and visit the fun zone again, and so I try to keep the cost as low as I can,” he added.

Mr Lough told members that he could have the new attraction up and running in “a couple of weeks” and said someone was standing by to commence the work once approval was granted. He added that he did not think planning permission would be required as it is not a permanent pool, but said he would look into further it if and when the council approved his application.

Larne Mayor, Councillor Bobby McKee said Mr Lough had invested heavily in the fun zone over the years and had proven his commitment to the enterprise.

Councillor Brian Dunn added: “I think this will increase the numbers of people visiting the park and I wish you luck.”

Mr Lough said the footfall at Carnfunnock had increased dramatically in recent years and added: “I would like to think the fun zone has played a key part in that.”

The council made no decision on Mr Lough’s application at Monday’s meeting.