VII.37 Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
The Committee noted with concern the 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 1.8 km from the Jasper National Park portion of this World Heritage area. Despite the fact that during the environmental assessment process conservation organizations and Parks Canada 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, the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Alberta subsequently approved the project and published a full EIA in favour of the project. At present the proposed mining project is being legally challenged by conservation groups. IUCN stressed that an increasing number of World Heritage sites (a total of nine, including this case) are threatened by proposed mining projects.
The Committee expressed its serious concerns regarding the impacts that the proposed mining project would have on the integrity of the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks and invited the Federal Government of Canada to consult with the Provincial Government of Alberta and to re-consider the decision on the proposed mining project with a view to seeking alternative sites in the region which would have less damaging effects. The Committee requested the Canadian authorities to provide detailed information on the proposed mining project, its expected impacts on the World Heritage site, and proposed measures for mitigating those impacts, to the Centre, before 1 May 1998, for review by the Bureau at its next session in mid-1998. The Delegate of Canada indicated that his Government would be happy to provide such a report.