Published on July 22, 2014
New Upper Clements Parks general manager Gino Thibeault wasn't specific last week when he talked about parks expansion, but he did say that rural themes were important. "You can't forget where you're from when you move forward," he said.
Plans expected to be unveiled at special council meeting Friday
By Stephen Hawboldt and Lawrence Powell
Annapolis County council was told last week that Upper Clements Parks is planning an expansion in which they are seeking a contribution from the municipality.
In a letter presented to the July session of the council, David Brown, president of the Upper Clements Parks Society, said that the society has, ‚Äúa conditional commitment from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to contribute up to $250,000 on a $500,000 project.‚ÄĚ
Councillor Gregory Heming, the council‚Äôs representative on the board of directors for the society, said the group is seeking $50,000 from Annapolis County. The society is also asking the province for $150,000 and contributing $50,000 of their own money.
While the council appeared to be generally supportive of the request, after much discussion, it was concluded that they would need a formal application from the society that details exactly what will be undertaken and how the municipal funds will be utilized. The society‚Äôs president is invited to make formal presentation to a special council meeting scheduled for Friday.
In an interview, new parks general manager Gino Thibeault said the society is looking at all options to make the park better. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing new this year but we‚Äôre always improving what we have,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe are looking at what we can do for expansion.‚ÄĚ
Thibeault said 2014 has been a pretty good year so far ‚Äď ‚Äúif you don‚Äôt look at the hurricane.‚ÄĚ
Arthur knocked down 50 trees in the park, but only one hit a building and that was only a glancing blow that caused no damage. But the park was forced to stayed closed from Saturday until Wednesday because there was no electricity. Power came back on Tuesday afternoon but staff spent the next 36 hours inspecting every piece of equipment before the park was re-opened.
Details on the proposed expansion are still vague. The council was told in the letter that project includes, ‚Äúmajor infrastructure enhancements and greater marketing.‚ÄĚ The goals, according to the president‚Äôs letter, are to reduce the annual capital requirements and increase the visitation.
Thibeault said the goal is to make Upper Clements Parks, which employs 175 people, the destination for Atlantic Canada. He described it as the largest venue of its kind east of Montreal.
A presentation from the society has been added to the agenda for a special council meeting scheduled for July 25. The meeting was originally called to review the information collected from the public consultations on economic development in the municipality.