first_imgUpper Clements Park is set to expand skyward with an aerial adventure park to draw more visitors and create jobs. The non-profit organization that owns and manages the Annapolis County park plans to enhance the local economy by building the attraction on 187 acres of adjacent Crown lands being purchased from the province. “With this land sale, the province is continuing to deliver on its commitment to support the economy, in this case, by stimulating the tourism industry and helping create jobs in Southwestern Nova Scotia,” said Charlie Parker, Minister of Natural Resources. There are about 75,000 visits to the Upper Clements Park annually. The new aerial park and subsequent phases of the proposed development are expected to attract 35,000 more visits per year and create about 40 new jobs. “The feasibility study on this development supports our vision of the lands and will enhance the parks’ position as an important tourism and economic generator for the region and province,” said David Brown, chair of the Hanse Society, which owns the park. “The park already employs 150 people and contributes millions of dollars in spinoffs to nearby communities, so this expansion will bring the region even greater prosperity.” Upper Clements Park won the 2010 Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia’s Innovator award for enhancing the province’s tourism product offering and for leadership, vision and commitment to the industry. “Acquiring this land from the province is the critical first step in developing this multi-phase Adventure Park project,” said Gregg Gaul, park general manager. “This will enable us to open the first phase this fall, the centerpiece aerial park, a network of zip lines and elevated obstacle courses that will thrill our visitors and boost the region’s economy.” Other phases that open next year include cross country BMX-style biking courses, horse back riding trails, and a paint ball arena. Survival camping expeditions and camping in huts, known as yurts, will also be offered. The province will receive $10,030 for the Crown land. Architectural design work for the aerial park phase has begun.last_img read more

US retail sales rise as consumers shrug off stock price drop In this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, photo, shoppers are shown in Miami. On Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for January. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) by Christopher S. Rugaber And Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2016 6:42 am MDT Last Updated Feb 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales rose modestly in January, evidence that Americans kept shopping despite sharp drops in stock prices.The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 per cent last month, the same as in December. Excluding the effect of falling gas prices, sales rose 0.4 per cent.Sales in December were revised higher from an initial estimate of a 0.1 per cent drop.Steady hiring and early signs that employers are finally handing out higher wages means that Americans have more money to spend. A key question for the economy this year is whether consumer spending can keep growing and offset the impacts of stock market volatility and slowing growth overseas.“The markets may have decided that the U.S. is headed for recession, but obviously no one told U.S. consumers,” Paul Ashworth said in a research note. Low prices caused a sharp fall in gas station sales, but “otherwise, sales were strong across the board,” he added.Americans stepped up their purchases in January of autos, home supplies and groceries, and spent more online. They spent less at restaurants and bars, likely because of harsh snowstorms on the East Coast.The retail sales report provides the first indication each month of Americans’ spending, which drives 70 per cent of the economy. Yet retail sales account for only about one-third of all spending, with services such as haircuts and Internet access making up the other two-thirds.Gas prices averaged $1.70 a gallon nationwide Thursday, according to AAA. That’s down 27 cents in just the past month.Cheap gas is dragging down the overall retail sales figures, which include gas but don’t account for price changes. Excluding the impact of cheap gas, retail sales rose 4.5 per cent in January from 12 months earlier. That was the best year-over-pace since September.A key question for consumers this year will be how much they spend of the money left over from cheap gas, and how much they sock away in savings. Last year, they saved more than many economists expected, restraining growth.On Wednesday, the National Retail Federation forecast above average sales this year, citing better hiring and wage increases, as well as lower gas prices. It forecasts retail sales will increase 3.1 per cent in 2016, higher than its 10-year average of 2.7 per cent.Still, that is a slowdown from its estimate last summer that retail sales would grow 3.5 per cent in 2015. Its figures exclude autos, gas stations and restaurants.The government’s figures show that a category mostly made up of online and catalogue sales rose 1.6 per cent in January, the most in nearly a year. They were up 8.7 per cent from a year earlier.At the same time, department store sales plummeted 0.8 per cent and have fallen 3.8 per cent in the past year.The widening gap between online and traditional retailers will be on display next week with major stores like Wal-Mart, Target and J.C. Penney putting up their numbers from the fourth quarter, which includes the crucial holiday shopping period.This year, as has been the case for years now, shoppers increasingly migrated on line leading up to the holiday.With traffic at malls and department stores sluggish, Amazon.com two weeks ago, reported that its fourth-quarter revenue spiked 22 per cent to almost $36 billion. Its profit doubled.Traditional retailers right now are in retrenchment mode.Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is closing 269 stores, including 154 in the U.S. That’s a fraction of its 5,000 stores, but still a rare event.Macy’s Inc. is cutting 4,800 jobs and profit expectations as well.The ailing Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, said this week that it would accelerate store closures.“The actions are smart, but they may not be enough,” said Walter Loeb, an independent retail consultant in New York. “It may be necessary to do more. We are overstored.”___D’Innocenzio reported from New York City. read more