The cancellation of what was to be an inaugural New Year’s Eve event at Sydney’s Wet n’Wild theme park sparked outrage amongst the nine thousand customers, who were informed through social media just six hours before the event was to begin. As The Daily Telegraph reported, the theme park’s managing director cited transport logistical difficulties as the cause for the cancellation, having little confidence that promoters One Cube Entertainment could provide adequate transportation to and from the venue. One thing that the promoters certainly did not provide was an adequate explanation or admission of guilt, with no apology issued to ticket-holders or instructions for the refunding process explained on their website until seven days after the cancellation. Wet n’Wild had been concerned about public transport but on their Facebook page that it was One Cube Entertainment who had made the final decision to cancel the event.
However, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Wet n’Wild, as the venue manager, had failed to put an effective crowd safety management plan in place, and police concerns over the results of their risk assessment were the real reason behind the cancellation. Wet n’Wild had contracted security company Unimet Security, a spokesperson for whom stated that they “never had the resources to cope” with an event of that scale, and were more suited to guarding and patrolling pub doors.
In addition, it has been reported that the Department of Fair Trading had been conducting an investigation into the security tender process and the alleged relationship between Unimet and Wet n’Wild’s security supervisor. It was alleged that the security supervisor had a pre-existing relationship with Unimet and that the tender process leading to their appointment had been compromised.
Time will tell as to whether these incidents have affected the venue’s brand.