Nova Scotia taxpayers chipping in $300K for Upper Clements Park improvements

Nova Scotia taxpayers are once again chipping in to spruce up Upper Clements Park.

David Brown, chair of the Upper Clements Parks Society that runs the amusement park in the Annapolis Valley, said facilities need between $450,000 and $500,000 in work every year.

Brown said the park has not received any operating grants from the province since 2007 when the park was handed over to the society.

The province has agreed to put $300,000 towards infrastructure work this summer. There are no new additions, and the money is for regular maintenance to the park's existing 60 or so buildings and roughly 30 rides and attractions.

The park was built in 1989 at a cost to the province of $23 million. It has received other injections of public money over the years.

Good investment for N.S., says park chair

Brown said the provincial money for the upcoming work is a good investment for all Nova Scotians.
    
"A lot of our attendance comes from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There's people that travel to the park. They stay overnight in other areas. They do multi-day visits in this area and it's good employment numbers for here," said Brown.

"The people that work here, they spend money around the province, not just in this area."

Brown said the park employs 175 people from when it opens to the public in mid-June until it shuts down after Labour Day weekend. 

'Not just for my riding,' says McNeil

Upper Clements Park is in Premier Stephen McNeil's riding. He said the funding announcement has nothing to do with the park's location or that 2017 could be an election year. 

"This is a major attraction, it's not just for my riding," said McNeil. 

"The people that use this facility, are employed by this facility, don't just live in my riding. I think that is very short-sighted about the importance of this park. It has been a huge economic driver for the region. It's in many ways what's been driving the economy for quite some time and I'm pleased to be able to help prepare it for the next decade."

Last year, 68,000 people visited the park.