Members of a new advisory council to provide local input into the management of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve have been announced.
The reserve is the only provincially-managed and funded UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province. The three other sites, at Red Bay, Lanse aux Meadows and Gros Morne, are federally-run.
Provincial Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne said the Mistaken Point World Heritage Advisory Council will comprise 13 members who primarily represent the communities of Portugal Cove South, Trepassey, St. Shott’s and Biscay Bay.
Four representatives from the loal communities as well as one youth representative were appointed through a merit-based appointment process, he said. The remaining eight council members represent local development groups, municipalities and applicable federal and provincial agencies and were nominated directly by each organization.
Byrne said the advisory council will advise the provincial government on site conservation and presentation of the site to the public. “It will help ensure the lines of communication remain open between the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources and local organizations and stakeholders,” he added.
The first meeting of the new council is expected to take place this month at which time the chairperson and vice-chairperson will be elected by the members of the council. Appointments are for a term of three years. Appointees are eligible for reappointment and can continue to serve after the expiry of their term until reappointed or replaced.
The 13 members include:
• Jennifer Reddy, Town Council of Portugal Cove South
• Rita Pennell, Town Council of Trepassey
• Madonna Hewitt, Town Council of St. Shott’s
• Gertie Molloy, Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc.
• Kathi Stacey, Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland
• John Boutilier, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
• Dave Delaney, Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, Land Management Division, or designate
• John Angelopoulos, Department of Tourism or a designate.
• Catherine Ward, Portugal Cove South
• Viola Coombs, Portugal Cove South
• Margaret (Peg) Ryan, Trepassey
• Anita Molloy, St. Shott’s
• Rachel Coombs, youth representative, Portugal Cove South.
No representative was available from Biscay Bay. Three public interest positions are vacant and open to nominations from Portugal Cove South, Trepassey and Biscay Bay.
A second advisory group, the Mistaken Point Scientific Advisory Committee, established in 2017, comprises experts in Ediacaran paleontology, geology and earth sciences. This group provides technical and academic advice for the conservation and preservation of the Mistaken Point fossils. Byrne said establishment of both the advisory council and the scientific committee is a commitment under the Mistaken Point World Heritage Site Management Plan which was part of the nomination package to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
“Local input and involvement in the long-term management of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve is essential to sustainably manage the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said the minister. “Establishment of the advisory council will promote effective communication among members of the local communities, the regulatory authority, and other organizations partnering to conserve the site. I congratulate the members of the new advisory council and I look forward to meeting with them and Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. as we continue to oversee the only provincially-managed World Heritage Site in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Byrne said the provincial government is committed to working with the community development organization, Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc., to provide visitor services at Mistaken Point. Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. owns and operates the Edge of Avalon Interpretation Centre, which is the starting point for guided tours of the site and contains exhibits featuring Mistaken Point. Total annual funding provided by the provincial government in 2018 to operate the Mistaken Point site was $600,000.
Well over 2,000 visitors toured the site this past year.