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Doer announces $10-M UNESCO trust fund

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WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is contributing $10 million towards a new trust fund in support of winning a UNESCO World Heritage status for the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

Premier Gary Doer said the fund, to be managed by the Winnipeg Foundation, will support four east side First Nations in their bid for the designation.

The Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage project is a joint effort by the Poplar River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Pikangikum First Nations.

Doer said the trust fund will show the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other potential donors that there is financial support to protect the site.

The fund will also generate revenue for operations of the site and create employment.

The UNESCO designation has been in the works since 2002. An official submission to UNESCO should be made by 2012.

The protection of the boreal forest and the rivers that run through it is the main reason the Doer government opted to build a new hydro transmission line down the west side of the province rather than the shorter route down the east side.

Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen said today he supports the UNESCO project.

McFadyen said the province could build the line down the east side without jeopardizing the UNESCO designation.

The announcement of the trust fund was Doer’s last as premier. He steps down Sunday to start his new job as Canada’s ambassador to the United States.

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