The Tree Topper Rollercoaster at Upper Clements Park in Annapolis Royal has been closed since early June and it isn’t known this week when it will be back up and running.
The rollercoaster was shut down for maintenance in June. Soon after the department of Labour and Advanced Education’s Technical Safety group did a regular inspection on the maintenance work being done.
During the inspection, members of the safety group found concerns with fall protection relating to workers and informed Occupational Health and Safety. A stop work order was placed on the maintenance work being completed, not on the rollercoaster itself.
“A stop work order (which covers working at heights) has been put in place until the employer puts a proper fall protection plan in place for the remainder of the maintenance work,” said Chrissy Matheson, a communications representative with the department of Labour and Advanced Education, in an Aug. 2 email.
“Once the employer has a safe means of fall protection in place they will contact the department, and we will re-inspect. If we are satisfied, the order will be lifted,” said Matheson.
The Tree Topper is a wooden rollercoaster built in 1989 by William Cobb and has a top speed of around 55 km/h. It is a popular attraction at Upper Clements.
When contacted this week by the Tri-County Vanguard, Upper Clements Park staff chose not to comment further on the issue, referring the newspaper instead to a social media statement from days earlier.
On July 24 the chair of the volunteer board of directors David Brown, put a posting on the Upper Clements Parks Facebook page and website explaining the closure of the ride.
“As Chair of the volunteer Board of Directors of the Upper Clements Parks Society I have decided to write to you, our visitors, and update you as to why the rollercoaster is still down for maintenance. I know there has been a lot of comments and disappointment (about) why this ride is not in operation. Please believe me, our board and staff are also very disappointed. “During early June, while our maintenance staff were working on the coaster, we had an inspection by the provincial Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) officer, which subsequently resulted in a stop work order on any maintenance on this ride. The order related to the safety mechanism that our staff used to tie into with their safety harnesses along the top of the coaster.
“Since then we have tried to establish exactly what was required and have suggested various mechanisms which have to be engineer approved. However effective today, we have been given approval from OHS to install a 3,000-foot cable along this walkway to hopefully solve the problem. When that is done, it will be inspected by the OHS officer and again, hopefully approval will allow us to finish the maintenance on the coaster and get it in operation for you, our visitors.”
The posting said the park did not have an exact date as to when the rollercoaster will be back in operation but said staff has been directed to ensure that updates are posted on Facebook for the public’s information.
“Again, we are very sorry that you have not been able to ride the coaster, but I should note that we have a number of other rides and attractions and as earlier noted by our staff, the Ryerson Rush Zipline is now included in your rides bracelet. Thank-you for your patience,” Brown wrote in the post.
This week the park also posted a notice on its Facebook page that the park’s train was temporarily down for maintenance due to hydraulic pump repairs.
In addition to the Ryerson Rush Zipline now being included in ride bracelets at the park, for the month of August the park is also offering visitors free camping for a night when an amusement park bracelet is purchased, as well when an amusement park and adventure park all-inclusive bracelet is purchased or a full adventure pass course ticket.