State of Conservation (SOC)
Miguasha National Park (2005)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Total Amount Ap proved:0USD
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Current conservation issues
The State Party submitted a report on 24 February 2005 regarding the development of a project to establish a toxic waste incinerator in Belledune (New Brunswick) some 36km from Miguasha National Park. The report notes that petitions for an environmental assessment under the transboundary provisions of the Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act were received by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in October 2003 on the basis of potential adverse transboundary environmental effects. The Federal Court concluded that the Canadian Environmental Act does not apply in this instance because the facility was already near completion and does not constitute a “project” under the act. It was further ruled that a Federal panel review was not appropriate in this case.
The report notes that the Government of Canada is appealing against the Federal court decision because of the uncertainty it created regarding the application of the transboundary provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The State Party has undertaken to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of the outcome of this judicial process.
IUCN noted that the toxic waste facility was originally subject to Canadian approval processes within the province of New Brunswick. References by the State Party on proposed oil and gas exploration in the Miguasha National Park buffer zone were also noted.
The State Party requested an IUCN mission to the property to be carried out prior to the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee.
Link to the decision
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev and the Draft Decision 29 COM 7B.17.Rev,
2. Taking note of the report presented by IUCN during the 29th session (Durban, 2005) of the IUCN monitoring mission to the property which took place on 13 June 2005 with the effective support of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Hydro-Quebec, Quebec Parks and Parks Canada,
3. Notes the following key findings of the mission:
a) the drilling in the buffer zone of the property was clearly an error as a result of a lack of awareness of the existence of the buffer zone and management regulations associated to it. However, once the Ministry of Natural Resources found this error it immediately ordered the suspension of drilling activities;
b) the exploratory drilling operation has resulted in virtually no physical or visual impacts on the integrity of the property or the values for which the property was inscribed in the World Heritage List. The operation affected only 1ha in the buffer zone of the property and the subsurface drilling does not compromise fossil values. In addition, the area affected will be restored;
c) the authorities in Quebec have taken corrective actions to improve communication between the government agencies involved in this problem to ensure that such transgressions do not occur in future.
4. Commends the State Party of Canada for supporting the IUCN mission and for its ongoing efforts in the conservation of the property;
5. Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of progress on the status and potential impacts of the Belledune toxic waste incinerator project and measures taken to mitigate adverse impacts on the property, as well as any implications to the state of conservation of the property if oil and gas deposits are discovered and move into production.
Draft Decision:29 COM 7B.17
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,
2. Commends the State Party for providing a report on the current situation in Miguasha National Park and for its ongoing efforts on the conservation of the property,
3. Requests that the State Party keep the Centre informed of progress on the conservation status of the park and more specifically on the status and potential impacts of the Belledune toxic waste incinerator project as well as measures taken to mitigate adverse impacts;
4. Notes with concern references by the State Party to proposed oil and gas exploration in the Miguasha National Park buffer zone and requests a report on the status of this proposal and its potential impact on the property;
5. Further requests the State Party to provide by 1 February 2006 to the World Heritage Centre a progress report on these issues for examination by the Committee at its 30th session in 2006.
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Detailed List of SOC reports
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).