Fisheries and Land Resources
November 19, 2018

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources:

Mistaken Point World Heritage Site to be Featured at Royal Ontario Museum

Mr. Speaker it is my pleasure to inform this House of yet another step forward for our Mistaken Point World Heritage Site as it continues its upward arc of national and international prominence. Days ago, a significant partnership was featured between our unique, provincially-managed World Heritage Site and the Royal Ontario Museum.

The world-renowned Royal Ontario Museum receives close to one million visitors per year. When complete in 2021, the museum’s permanent 10,000-square foot Dawn of Life Gallery will feature four Canadian UNESCO Heritage Sites, including a detailed mold from Newfoundland and Labrador’s own Mistaken Point.

Mr. Speaker, our government commits $470,000 each and every year to staffing for Mistaken Point. This year we also provided $40,000 for cutting-edge provincial research activity, on top of $35,000 a year for operational support. We recently installed a full-time onsite manager to oversee the work of several professional natural history interpreters, as well as several local student placements to assist in this interpretation. We also provide supports to the not-for-profit Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. and their Edge of Avalon Interpretation Centre. This group receives $15,000 annually for operational funding. My department has entered into a long-term lease for office and exhibit space at the centre, valued at $26,000 annually, which goes directly to Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. More recently, and at their request, I granted authority to the group to charge an admission fee to visitors for access to the provincial site, with all revenues retained by them, to use as they see fit. This is a unique arrangement and one that the Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. certainly appreciates, with $40,000 in new revenue made available this year.

Mr. Speaker, due to the site’s success there have been calls to increase visitation to the site. We all recognize that specific commitments were made to UNESCO, prior to the designation, limiting the number of visitors to the site each year. This is a fragile site and this was an acknowledgement that it must be preserved or the World Heritage designation could be removed. In preparing the nomination package and the site management plan for review by UNESCO, some years ago the government of the day committed that the number of tours and tourists visiting the site will be limited by this reality. Again, failure to maintain this promise now could result in Mistaken Point losing its World Heritage designation.

Mr. Speaker, while we applaud the ongoing success of promoting Mistaken Point to the world, we do so with the greatest of care to protect this priceless, timeless treasure.

Thank you

2018 11 19                              1:50 p.m.