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Heritage Designation Denied

Parks Canada has announced its tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage designation and the Oil Springs Industrial Landscape didn’t make the cut.

The announcement by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna was made Wednesday.

The joint application by County of Lambton and Fairbank Oil Fields was one of 43 submitted to Parks Canada and highlighted the historic and industrial significance of the area.

“It is disappointing,” said Pat McGee, Fairbank Oil Fields Project Coordinator. “We still firmly believe we put in an excellent application and we firmly believe that we do have outstanding universal value.”

In fact, none of the places added to the tentative list were in Ontario.

“We had a look at the eight that were chosen and it seems that there’s a heavy emphasis on natural sites this year and we applied as a cultural landscape,” said McGee.

In its decision, the Ministerial Advisory Committee recognized the high level of stakeholder and community engagement in support of our local application.

350 wells are spread over more than 600 acres at the Fairbank Oil Fields, which are still commercially pumping oil using authentic 19th-century technology.

The county’s Oil Museum of Canada site was also included in the application.

The oil field and museum property already share National Historic Site designation.