The Port Edward Historical Society is pushing to have North Pacific Cannery named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Port Edward Historical Society is pushing to have North Pacific Cannery named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

North Pacific Cannery pushing to be named UNESCO World Heritage Site

North Pacific Cannery has been put forward as a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

North Pacific Cannery may soon be one of the most prestigious heritage sites in the country after being put forward as a candidate to become a United Nations Environment, Society and Culture Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

There are currently only eight UNESCO Heritage sites in Canada and only 17 in all of North America, and a group of heritage experts have put the cannery forward to become the newest site. Port Edward Historical Society president Andrew Hamilton said joining that elite company would only benefit the cannery.

“This is a huge honour and would have profound implications for North Pacific Cannery, all of them positive as far as the board is concerned,” he wrote in a letter seeking support from the District of Port Edward.

“Not only would UNESCO designation mean the site would truly become a premier tourist attraction in the region, but it could also mean the basis of a new partnership with the federal government, which would mean the possibility of realizing financial and human resource stability for the site.”

The District of Port Edward quickly threw their support behind the idea and has forwarded along the request to other neighbouring communities.

“North Pacific Cannery is part of northwest history and we need to ensure that sites such as North Pacific Cannery are preserved and protected,” said Mayor Dave MacDonald.

“North Pacific has been part of our history for almost 125 years and we believe that it deserves to be nominated, as per the request from the Port Edward Historical Society, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The City of Prince Rupert offered its support to the idea during the Sept. 30 council meeting, though Hamilton said the society needs the federal government to formally put forward the application as a priority. Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee to make the final decision on its inscription. Once a year, the Committee meets to decide which sites will be inscribed on the World Heritage List. It can also defer its decision and request further information on sites from the States Parties.