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Northeast NEWS

February 21, 2013

Page 5

Tumbler Ridge geopark Continued from Front.

funding could leverage $100,000 from the provincial Northern Development Initiative Trust and another $267,500 from the federal Cultural Spaces Fund. The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery and the Peace River Palaeontology Researach Centre had confirmed funding from NDIT and Cultural Spaces last year, but when another confirmed funder, Western Diversification, backed out at the last minute, the NDIT and Cultural Spaces also had to hold the funding until the group could get another funder. The committee hopes the PRRD can fill that role. “If that could still get it’s funding, that’s such a cornerstone of the whole geopark idea so if there would be funding available…it would liberate and generate this other $367,500 for a total project of $537,500,” said Helm, adding that the provincial and federal funders can’t hold that money forever. Helm also highlighted that that geopark status in Tumbler Ridge could benefit the surrounding communities. He said that in the future there is potential for satellite geoparks in Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd

Contributed photo

Jill Earl photo

The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery hosts several educational programs, something that’s looked favourably on by UNESCO.

Dr. Charles Helm and palaeontologist Richard McCrea present the idea of obtaining global geopark status for Tumbler Ridge to the PRRD board.

and Fort St. John, with some of the recent dinosaur discoveries made in those areas. “Elsewhere in the world where a geopark has been proclaimed there has been economic development, increase in tourism, increase in jobs and a whole bunch of other spinoffs which are difficult to predict in advance which are very real, that’s been the tendency elsewhere,” said Helm. Directors carried a motion to write a letter of support for the committee’s project and will decide whether or not to fund the project once a report from staff is received. “I really appreciate that this brings a really nice link between industry and tour-

ism and the museum and all of the different things it’s so easy to pit industry against environment concerns against this against that… but what your doing in essence is bringing all of that together and celebrating it as a unit rather then dividing,” said director of electoral area E, Jerrilyn Schembri. “Each one of us around this table knows that when one of our communities wins ... it impacts every single other community in the Peace. “So if this geopark came into existence, it would impact the tourism and the rest of the communities within the Peace,” she adds.

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Some of the funds requested by the Aspiring Geopark Steering Committee would be used for improvements to the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, which houses a number of different fossils.

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Online Edition of the Northeast News for February 21, 2013

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