Sierra Club BC shares UNESCO concern about Site C impacts on world heritage site

UNESCO to investigate threats to Wood Buffalo National Park, Peace Athabasca Delta

Jul 02, 2015

Sierra Club BC welcomes UNESCO’s decision to initiate an in-depth investigation into threats to the Peace Athabasca Delta and Wood Buffalo National Park from the Site C dam and tar sands expansion.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has formally requested that Canada invite a UNESCO monitoring mission, and put on hold any resource projects that would cause irreversible impacts, pending the results of the investigation. The decision was made in response to a petition from the Mikisew Cree First Nation to place Wood Buffalo National Park on the list of world heritage sites “in danger”. Sierra Club BC worked with the Mikisew Cree to bring this petition forward.

“Bringing international attention to the destructive impacts of the proposed Site C dam is the best thing that could possibly happen – right on Canada Day, and only weeks from the court hearings in the legal challenges to the Site C approval by First Nations and Peace Valley landowners,” said Peace Valley campaigner Ana Simeon.

“The B.C. government must respect the UNESCO decision and put a hold on work on the Site C dam. The B.C. and federal governments didn’t listen to the Joint Review Panel or to the Treaty 8 First Nations. They ignored the opposition by Peace Valley landowners and local governments. Now they’re dealing with seven lawsuits and scrutiny from the international community,” Simeon said.

The Wood Buffalo National Park was designated a UNESCO world heritage site thirty years ago in order to protect unique wetlands that host millions of migratory birds every year, as well as critical habitat for Wood Buffalo and Whooping Crane, both species at risk.

“Destroying First Nations hunting grounds and cultural sites in violation of treaty, and causing irreversible harm to a World Heritage Site is not something that you can get away with in this day and age.”

Contact:

Ana Simeon, Peace Valley Campaigner: 778-433-2934 (Thursday)

Or 250-386-5255 ext. 247 (Friday)