Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
- Forestry /wood production
- Oil and gas
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Infrastructural developments in the "Bow Corridor"
- Timber harvesting access
- Oil and gas exploration in the vicinity
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998
The Committee, at its last session (Naples, 1997), expressed its serious concerns with regard to potential threats to the integrity of this site due to the proposed Cheviot Mine Project, designed to exploit a large (22 km long and 3 km wide), open-pit coal mine, located 1.8 km from the Jasper National Park portion of this World Heritage area. A range of conservation organisations and Parks Canada had expressed concern regarding the negative impacts, e.g. loss or alienation of wildlife habitat, impacts on essential wildlife travel corridors etc., which the proposed mining project would have on the integrity of the World Heritage site. Nevertheless, the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Alberta had subsequently approved the project and published a full EIA in favour of the project. However, the proposed mining project has been legally challenged by conservation groups.
As requested by the Committee, detailed information on the proposed mining project, its expected impacts on the World Heritage site, and proposed measures for mitigating those impacts, are expected to be received from the Canadian authorities by 1 May 1998. The receipt of this information is awaited.
The Bureau, based on additional information that may be available at the time of the twenty second session of the Bureau, may recommend appropriate actions to the consideration of the State Party and/or the Committee as well as the Centre and IUCN.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998
At its twenty-first session, the Committee expressed its serious concerns over the potential threats posed by the Cheviot Mine Project, designed to exploit a large, open-pit coal mine, located 2.8 km from the Jasper National Park portion of this site. A case filed by conservation groups challenging the EIA of the Federal-Provincial Environment Assessment Panel in favour of the mining project was dismissed because the judge decided that the Panel report is not subject to judicial review. At its twenty-second session, the Bureau had requested the State Party to provide a status report on the proposed mining project, including information on any proposed start-up date for the project. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Parks Canada, via his letter of 15 September 1998, has informed the Centre that it is unlikely that construction work on any component of the mine will begin before the spring of 1999. On 27 August 1998, the Government of Alberta announced the creation of Whitehorse Wildland Park between Jasper National Park and the proposed mine, to help protect the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park and its surrounding area.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 1998
The Bureau reiterated its concerns over the impacts of the proposed Cheviot mining project on the integrity of the site and is pleased to be informed that other alternatives may be considered. The Bureau welcomed the initiative of the Government of Alberta to establish the new Whitehorse Wildland Park to improve the ecological integrity of the Jasper National Park and its surrounding areas. The Bureau invited the State Party to provide the Centre and IUCN with an up-date for the proposed mining project and provide a status report on the project to the Centre, before 15 April 1999, for review at its twenty-third session.
Summary of the interventions
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 BUR V.B.23
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
The Bureau recalled that the Committee, at its twenty-first session, expressed its serious concerns with regard to potential threats to the integrity of this site due to the proposed Cheviot Mine Project, designed to exploit a large, open-pit coal mine, located 2.8 km from the Jasper National Park portion of this World Heritage area. A range of conservation organisations and Parks Canada had expressed concern regarding the negative impacts which the proposed mining project would have on the integrity of the World Heritage site. Nevertheless, the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Alberta had subsequently approved the project and published a full EIA in favour of the project. The conservation groups subsequently challenged the Federal-Provincial Environmental Assessment Panel’s report. The judge dismissed the case based upon the fact that the Panel report is not subject to judicial review.
The Centre received a report entitled “Government of Canada Response to a request from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for Information on the Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage site” and a letter from the Assistant Deputy Minister of Parks Canada. The report provided details of the Cheviot mining project, which at its closest, would be 2,8km from the boundary of Jasper National Park. The mine will involve the development of an area of 3007 ha with open pits, infrastructure and roads. The report also highlights the review and approval process and indicates key elements of the Government of Canada’s response to mitigate environmental impacts, including the objective to maintain ecological integrity of Jasper National Park, and an agreement for integrated grizzly bear management.
The Bureau thanked the Canadian Government for having provided a detailed report concerning the impacts that the proposed mining project would have on the integrity of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and mechanisms put in place to ensure that strict mitigation measures will be applied. The Bureau invited the Canadian authorities to ensure that all possible environmental impacts on the World Heritage site are mitigated. The Bureau requested the Canadian authorities to provide a status report on the proposed mining project, including any proposed start-up date for the project, to the Centre, before 15 September 1998, for review by the Committee at its twenty-second session.
22 COM VII.27
Reports on the State of Conservation of Natural Properties Noted by the Committee
VII.27 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV on the following properties:
- Heard and McDonald Islands (Australia)
- Shark Bay, Western Australia (Australia)
- Wet Tropics of Queensland (Australia)
- Belovezhskaya Pushcha/Bialowieza Forest (Belarus/Poland)
- Iguacu National Park (Brazil)
- Dja Faunal Reserve (Cameroon)
- Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
- Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
- Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
- Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area (China)
- Los Katios National Park (Colombia)
- Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Dominica)
- Nanda Devi National Park (India)
- Whale Sanctuary of El Viscaino (Mexico)
- Royal Chitwan National Park (Nepal)
- Sagarmatha National Park (Nepal)
- Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oman)
- Huascaran National Park (Peru)
The Committee noted that the Bureau's decision reflected the suggestion to establish an informal contact group on mining and World Heritage and that the IUCN "Draft Policy on Mining and Protected Areas" will be circulated.
- Kamchatka Volcanoes (Russian Federation)
- Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation)
- Skocjan Caves (Slovenia)
- Thung Yai-Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (Thailand)
- St. Kilda (United Kingdom)
- Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
- Durmitor National Park (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
The Committee noted the UN official name for the State Party: Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
- Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
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”).