20 January 2017 Posted By : The Canadian Press

Quebec’s Anticosti Island Wants to be Recognized as UNESCO Heritage Site

MONTREAL — The picturesque Quebec municipality of Anticosti Island is trying to become a UNESCO world heritage site.

It made the pitch at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday.

In August, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna called for suggestions for Canadian sites that could be recognized by UNESCO.

The Quebec government hasn’t given approval yet for the application, which is required for it to be presented.

Mayor John Pineault said there’s been no response to a letter sent Dec. 8 and a Jan. 27 deadline to file with the federal government is looming.

Pineault said he hopes Premier Philippe Couillard can be convinced to support the project.

The island located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has just over 200 permanent residents and an abundance of deer. It is also home to deep canyons, impressive waterfalls and numerous caves.

Many local residents are opposed to oil and gas activity on the island and fear the environmental impact and dangers for fish and wildlife.

The Quebec government is a partner with a Quebec-based oil and gas company engaged in exploratory oil and gas drilling on the island.

But Couillard has increasingly distanced himself from the project in eastern Quebec negotiated by the previous Parti Quebecois government.

Couillard has said while the deal must be respected, he has expressed concerns about environmental risks and the project’s economic viability.

Sites in Quebec already on the UNESCO heritage list include Quebec City’s Vieux-Quebec area as well as the Miguasha national park in Gaspe.

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