Nearly $7 million in new federal and provincial capital investments will help create a world-class tourism and heritage site at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Cumberland County. The investments will help build an interpretive centre to showcase one of the world’s richest and most significant coal age fossil sites that dates back 310 million years. The federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is investing more than $4.8 million in the new centre. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage will invest up to $1.8 million. “Canada’s government is getting things done for the people of Nova Scotia. Our investment of over $4.8 million will boost Atlantic Canada’s eco-tourism potential,” said MP Bill Casey, on behalf of Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of ACOA. “This government understands that strong tourism is key to strengthening the economy and to job creation for Atlantic Canadians.” The provincial investment is in addition to $1.1 million provided in December 2005 to help leverage other funding, bringing the total provincial contribution to up to $2.9 million. “The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a tremendous resource for Nova Scotia in terms of preserving our heritage and sharing it with the world,” said Len Goucher, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “Our investment will help develop a unique tourism experience and contribute to the efforts to get UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.” The Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association is leading the project and, with the support of the municipality of Cumberland, has contributed $921,600. “A key element of success for this project is our community involvement, support and stewardship of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs site,” said the association’s executive director, Rhonda Kelly. “This project will serve as a significant stimulus for the local and regional economy.” The association has chosen an environmentally friendly building design for the 13,000-sq.-ft. centre. It will house interpretive displays about the fossil cliffs and lab space for research. It will also include a cafe, retail space and a multipurpose room. Four full-time, staff will run the centre, including a director, a geologist, a manager of visitor services and marketing, and a site and maintenance manager. There will also be one part-time, year-round position, and nine full-time, seasonal staff. The centre is a key component of the association’s application to have the Joggins Fossil Cliffs designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The centre will be built on nearly 28 acres of provincial Crown land being transferred by the Department of Natural Resources to the municipality. The centre will cost about $9 million and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2007. The federal investment is from ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund, a five-year, $175-million program to support economic development throughout Atlantic Canada in critical areas such as innovation, community development, training and improving the climate for business growth.