United Nations monitoring mission to watch Site C impact on Wood Buffalo Park

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A United Nations mission in Alberta has shifted the focus from a world heritage site, to the Site C dam in BC.

According to an article from CTV News from the Canadian Press, Wood Buffalo National Park is a NESCO world heritage site and has been since 1983. The park is under review this week because of a request from Mikisew Cree First Nation.

They also have petitioned the world body back in 2014 to list the park as being under threat from many different developments.

The park is located where the Peace and Athabaska rivers converge.

The article also states First Nations and conservationists have expressed concern about how two dams already on the Peace River are affecting the park which is a problem they say will get worse from the Site C dam.

The World Heritage Centre came to a decision in 2015 that a review of effects on Wood Buffalo National Park were warranted.

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government issued permits for the Site C dam to go ahead as scheduled in the summer.

A “reactive monitoring mission” was started on Sunday. The mission is supposed to last 10 days. This is another situation for the Site C dam, with 2 other First Nations fighting in court to have the project stopped.

Many have said the Trudeau Government issued the permits quietly, without consultation.

Perry Bellgarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said this month that the hydro project “is not being handled in keeping with Canada’s constitution nor with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The World Heritage Committee’s decision to go ahead with the review of the park was because of concern over the engagement with First Nations.

“with concern the lack of engagement with indigenous communities in monitoring activities, as well as insufficient consideration of traditional ecological knowledge.”