Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/1/2012 (3604 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A decade-long bid to get a huge slice of northern Manitoba designated a United Nations world heritage site will soon be in the hands of UN officials.
The nomination request for a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designation by four First Nations on the east side of the province was announced Wednesday by Premier Greg Selinger at the legislative building. The First Nations are Poplar River, Bloodvein, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and includes Pikangikum in northwestern Ontario.
"As you can imagine there's been so much work to get to this stage, literally years of work and planning done by the First Nations communities," Selinger told reporters. "It's a significant milestone in the process we're entered into."
That process is supported by the Manitoba and Ontario governments and Ottawa, and will see about 4,000 pages of written material and photographs and video delivered in a wooden box to UN officials in Paris before the end of the month, Pimachiowin Aki project spokeswoman Sophia Rabliauskas said.
"I've hope we've met all the requirements," Rabliauskas, of Poplar River First Nation, said. "The stories of our people and our ancestors is all in there, the documentation of how people lived on this land."
She added the UN evaluators will examine all the material and are to travel to northern Manitoba in September to see it for themselves.
There are more than 900 UNESCO world heritage sites, but none includes such a wide area of untouched forest, she said.
The UNESCO submission is being made now with last week's agreement by Bloodvein First Nation to join and the province's designation of 3,900 square kilometres of Bloodvein's traditional land as a traditional-use planning area.
The project is behind the Manitoba government's 2007 decision to build the new $2.2-billion hydro Bipole III transmission line down the west side of the province versus a shorter, less-costly route down the east side of the province. The argument is the line could jeopardize the designation.
"To have a UNESCO site would be a feather in Manitoba's cap, but as you know from other UNESCO sites, development can happen in them," Tory Hydro critic Reg Helwer said. "A transmission line would be a very minor thing to put in there."
See the display
A special display has been set up at the Manitoba Legislative Building for the public to learn more about Pimachiowin Aki, which is the non-profit organization working to secure the nomination for a United Nations World Heritage site. It will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 22.