Nova Scotia

Annapolis County council buys Upper Clements Park to attract boarding school

The Municipality of the County of Annapolis, N.S., has bought a local amusement park for $600,000 so it can be redeveloped as a private school.

Municipal officials believe proposed $62M school will result in significant spending, employment in community

Upper Clements Park was built in 1989 for $23 million by the Nova Scotia government. It received other injections of public money over the years. (Len Wagg/Government of Nova Scotia)

The Municipality of the County of Annapolis, N.S., has bought a local amusement park for $600,000 so it can be redeveloped as a private school.

Council held a special meeting on Tuesday to approve the purchase of Upper Clements Park, which is located five kilometres west of Annapolis Royal.

"It is going to be a game changer for Annapolis County," Warden Timothy Habinski said in a video posted online by council. "It was a bit of a longer road than we anticipated initially, but we are delighted that we are finally there."

Municipal officials believe the proposed $62 million boarding school will result in significant spending and employment in the community. The school is expected to attract students from Asia, Europe and North America.

Habinski said the 10-hectare Upper Clements site, with its view of the Annapolis Basin, will be a "prestigious" location for Gordonstoun, a private boarding school in Scotland that wants to open a location in North America.

A general view of Gordonstoun School on Sept. 14, 2010. (Getty Images)

Alex Morrison, the councillor who represents the area where the school will be located, called it an exciting initiative.

"It's one that will benefit local individuals and the province as a whole," he said during a special council meeting that was held outside of the municipal building because of COVID-19.

Pupils at Gordonstoun School do physical training on an obstacle course on Feb. 7, 1956. (Getty Images)

The new Gordonstoun franchise is expected to open in the fall of 2021. E.A. Farren, Limited, based in Saint John, is the project manager for the school development.

Habinski pointed out that despite the best efforts of the Upper Clements Park Society, the theme park was struggling financially and on the verge of bankruptcy.

"The park's board has been diligent in their efforts to keep the park open and safe," he said. "The society must be commended for its service to our community."

Prince Charles, seen May 10, 2019, in Athens, attended Gordonstoun. (Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press)

The province of Nova Scotia spent $23 million to build Upper Clements Park in 1989. The park was operated privately between 1994 and 1997 and then a non-profit society took over. The seasonal facility has employed about 175 people.

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