Slidewater’s Owner Statement On What’s Happened, Future
For the last 6-8 weeks, Slidewater's Water Park in Chelan County has evolved into the 'poster child' for thousands of Washington businesses who've been driven to the brink of ruin (and some beyond) by Gov. Inslee's 'safe start' business plan and closings.
The park was shut down July 22 after a judge dismissed their lawsuit which challenged the shutdown. We have included their entire statement verbatim. It tells of their last ditch efforts to try to work to remain open, various safety plans and more; and a look at what lies ahead:
"To Our Valued Guests & Team Members:
Since having to close our business and lay off our 150 employees, our fight for our constitutional right to operate our business has hit the brick wall of an obtuse and over-bearing state government that is unwilling to open a dialogue with us about reasonable and responsible ways to run our waterpark. Because Governor Jay Inslee and the COVID Management team show no signs of altering their stance of ‘you can’t operate because we said you can’t,’ we are forced to announce that we will not have any more operational days in the 2020 season.
After shutting down in order to avoid prosecution, potential jail time and an unknown fine schedule, we immediately reapplied for approval to operate as a park—just like the local government run parks have been doing since late May. We received no response. As we got closer to completing our new park, Lakeside Surf, we applied for approval to operate with scheduled-based surfing similar to other pool facilities with reserved swim sessions. State Representative Mike Steele (HD-12) helped us with the applications, but both were denied on the basis that they were not approved in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start Plan.
Chelan County Commissioner Doug England connected us with the Chelan-Douglas Health District Medical Director. We proposed three operational possibilities and received his support for each one. On our behalf, Dr. Malcolm Butler discussed each possibility with the Washington State Department of Health; however, they denied his request for us to operate in any capacity.
We had proposed and gained Dr. Butler’s support to operate our 9-acre outdoor facility in each of the following three ways:
#1 At 30 percent capacity with tickets sold for specific days.
#2 Private parties of less than 200 guests.
#3 Scheduled-based participation only, with no more than 50 guests on-site at one-time.
After all these options were denied, we were forced to conclude that we would not be reopening Slidewaters this season. We shifted focus to the possibility of only operating our outdoor food & beverage restaurants, however the CDHD will not approve us for food service without the consent of the Department of Labor and Industries. L&I has stated they don’t see a problem with a food and beverage-only operation, so now we are waiting a final determination from the health district.
As we wait for all our appeals to be heard and for decisions on a food and beverage-only operation, we have again shifted focus to the survival of our business. The outpouring of support from our local community, our Go-Fund Me donors, emailers, friends, family and Team Members has emotionally sustained us and given us a renewed energy to find a way to reopen in 2021. Having generated less than 20 percent of our expected 2020 revenue, we are facing a very difficult path to get to Memorial Day 2021, but we are confident it is a possibility.
We know that we are just one of the millions of stories for this extremely challenging year, but we pray that God’s glory will shine through and the truths that this country was built on will prevail. It will require citizens willing to stand up and share how the overreaching, tyrannical actions of Big Government are destroying the lives of the citizens they claim to be helping.
We hold strong in our faith that Slidewaters’ and our futures are in God’s hands, and we are excited to follow Him wherever He leads."
The letter is signed "God Bless, Burke Bordner, Robert Bordner."
For a review of the saga, click on the button below.