Joggins Fossil Cliffs Project Formal Submission to the World Heritage Centre in Paris

January 31, 2007


The Joggins Fossil Cliffs Project has reached another significant milestone with the formal submission to the World Heritage Centre in Paris of the application for inscription on the list of World Natural Heritage Sites. The Nomination Dossier was delivered last Friday, meeting the February 1st deadline set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for receiving 2007 nominations.

The Nomination Dossier is a 136-page document that is comparable to a scientific textbook. With 22 binders of appendix materials, the nomination fills a 31.5 by 13.5 by 12 inch oak case that weights, when full, approximately 50 pounds. As UNESCO requires 3 copies of everything, three wooden cases were hand delivered to the World Heritage Centre in Paris by Senior Project Manager Jenna Boon. It was more cost effective to personally deliver the Nomination Dossier rather than to send it by other means. This also ensured that the deadline was met.

Once Canada placed the site on its tentative list in April 2004, the formal work on the dossier began almost immediately. Its preparation involved many hours of research, data collection, and writing. It was co-authored by Dr. John Calder, Senior Geologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Jenna Boon, Senior Project Manager. They received outstanding support from Parks Canada and a team of project and CREDA staff, along with members of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs Advisory Board and its Action Teams.

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs project is a collaborative effort being lead by a project team that includes numerous dedicated individuals from all levels of government, members of the scientific community, tourism organizations, and representatives from the community. These individuals are working with the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association (CREDA) to develop the Fossil Cliffs.

“Joggins is a world-class site, with international significance,” said Rhonda Kelly, Executive Director of CREDA. “Now that we have formally brought our case to UNESCO, we are hopeful that the Fossil Cliffs will be designated a World Heritage Site.”

The World Heritage Centre will send the Joggins Nomination Dossier to the appropriate advisory bodies for evaluation. The evaluation process, which will include a site visit, could take up to 18 months to complete. Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee to make the final decision on its inscription. The committee meets annually to decide which sites will be inscribed on the World Heritage List. It’s hoped that Joggins will be designated a World Heritage Site by fall of 2008.

Meeting the UNESCO deadline is just the latest milestone for the project. In December, nearly $7-million in new federal and provincial capital was announced to help create a world-class tourism and heritage site at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. This brought total funding for the project to more than $9-million.

“This very worthwhile project couldn’t happen without the outstanding support of our funding partners,” said Kelly. “Our thanks go out to ACOA, the Province of Nova Scotia, and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland.”

The investment is being used to build an interpretive centre to showcase what is considered the world’s richest and most significant Coal Age fossil site. Crews from Pomerleau Construction of Dartmouth began construction on the facility earlier this winter. Once completed the 13,000 square foot interpretive centre, which will open this summer, will house a gift shop, a lab and 6,000 feet of exhibition space devoted to the significance of the cliffs. Access to the beach and site safety will also be greatly enhanced.

WHW Architects of Halifax is the lead architectural and design firm for the project, while Design and Communications Inc. (D+C) of Montreal is the major sub-contractor responsible for interpretive planning and design. MT&L Public Relations Limited was retained to develop a new logo for the Fossil Cliffs site as well as a Marketing and Communications Plan.

The green design interpretive centre will feature a vegetation roof and will utilize a wind tower and solar panels to provide alternative energy sources. Once completed, the centre is expected to employ approximately 10 people on a full or part time basis. Based on existing visitor statistics, estimated initial visitation is 40,000 annually.




For more information contact:
Rhonda Kelly, Executive Director