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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18, 2018

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Liberals Neglecting Growth Opportunities at Mistaken Point

 

 

 

Keith Hutchings, MHA for Ferryland, says, “The Ball Liberals are neglecting the economic growth potential of the Mistaken Point UNESCO World Heritage Site by failing to invest in proper supports to ensure the world-class tourism destination has the resources it needs.”

 

 

 

“This is the only provincially managed UNESCO site in the province, yet Minister Gerry Byrne has dismissed the need to do more for the site and hasn’t even responded to a request from the local volunteer organization to meet. Instead, volunteers have been left to raise money with raffle tickets and cash cans. Is this any way to support one of the few sites in Canada that has been given the rare UNESCO World Heritage Site designation?” said Hutchings.

 

 

 

Last year, the Interpretation Centre in Portugal Cove South saw almost 10,000 people visit the site, and with the UNESCO designation in 2016, people from around the world will continue to visit. Shortly after the designation in 2016, local groups and volunteers asked for clear indicators of how the management plan would be supported. Under the designation as of July 2016, a reporting period started: a four-year period of reporting to UNESCO. To date, the Advisory Committee is not set up, a bridge for Watern Cove remains incomplete, and a Manager of Education position was eliminated, all of which which cause concern about meeting UNESCO obligations.

 

Unfortunately, meetings and letters since 2016 have made volunteers frustrated, and they fear not being able to operate the Interpretation Centre this year. Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage is a volunteer organization that operates the Interpretation Centre in Portugal Cove South, the gateway for tourists from around the world visiting the site.

 

 

 

The Opposition yesterday raised questions in the House of Assembly about the government’s inaction to drive this economic growth opportunity and meet mandatory UNESCO operational requirements.

 

 

 

“In Estimates this week, we heard that there is no additional support for the Mistaken Point UNESCO site despite the fact that there are mandated requirements under the UNESCO Management Plan that must be met to maintain UNESCO status. Mistaken Point offers tremendous economic opportunities for the Southern Avalon. We have seen businesses and entrepreneurs starting to invest in the region, but this is a provincially managed site, so why the lack of provincial government support?”

 

 

 

“This organization has been forced to run deficits for the last two years as it has struggled to operate the UNESCO site gateway. Last year, the volunteers at the interpretation centre had to sell tickets and keep a donation jar on the counter just to keep the centre open. Again last week, the volunteers put off a supper to try to raise money to operate this season. Does the Minister think this is acceptable for ‎a provincially managed UNESCO World Heritage site? How does this inaction align with our province’s tourism plan?”

 

 

 

“In order for the United Nations World Heritage Site designation to be maintained, specific requirements ‎must be met under the approved management plan. Can the Minister assure people that all measures are up to date and that the designation is not in jeopardy due to the provincial government’s inaction?”

 

“Our administration worked closely with the Town of Portugal Cove South‎, the region and the volunteer groups, and provided significant funding for infrastructure and the preparatory work to move Mistaken Point from being listed as a possible UNESCO site to its designation in 2016. That achievement is a huge opportunity for the southern Avalon and for the residents, but we need to maximize the opportunity and ensure the experience of all who visit is world class,” said Hutchings.

 

 

 

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Media Contacts:

 

 

 

Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications

 

Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

 

 

Gertie Molloy, Chair, Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage ‎Inc.

 

(709) 689 3824

 

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