Grand Pre moved a step closer in its bid to become Nova Scotia’s third UNESCO world heritage site yesterday when the province kicked in more than a quarter of a million dollars.
“What makes Grand Pre a challenge is that it’s a community that’s absent — the Acadian community,” said Victor Tetrault, executive director of the Societe Promotion Grand-Pre.
Acadians returned after the 1755 deportation, but resettled elsewhere as Grand Pre had been given away.
“The beauty of a project like UNESCO is that it’s 250 years later and everybody’s coming together. There’s no blame game going on,” Tetrault said.
Now that they’ve got the green light, they hope to have their presentation ready for UNESCO by 2011.
“It becomes a passion for those involved. It’s a wonderful challenge and a joy.”
In Dartmouth, Jean Leger, executive director of La Federation acadienne de la Nouvelle-Eccosse, said Grand Pre is “extremely important” for Acadians.
“Grand Pre is a symbol of what happened to our people, but it is also a symbol of hope,” he said. The site represents the hardships Acadians suffered and their ability to overcome adversity. “It crystallizes that pride and the Acadian people in general.”
He added that winning the designation would mean a tourism boost for Nova Scotia.
Premier Rodney MacDonald was in Grand Pre to announce the $280,000 funding. The federal government is contributing to the bid, as is the local municipality. Total financial support stands at $1.3 million.
“We are optimistic that this community-driven project will successfully create a trio of world heritage sites in Nova Scotia as it joins Lunenburg and Joggins fossil cliffs,” MacDonald said.
“This project reflects the values we share as Nova Scotians — our quality of life, the importance of volunteers and the need for partnerships to keep our communities strong.”
Nova Scotia is home to two UNESCO sites: Lunenburg and the Joggins fossil cliffs.