Fossil centre opening exceeds expectations
Welcome to the CREDA File, a monthly column on economic development issues and activities in Cumberland County from the files of the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association.
The opening of the spectacular Joggins Fossil Centre exceeded all expectations. Hundreds of people, some from as far away as British Columbia, took advantage of the opportunity to get their first look at the world-class, environmentally sustainable facility during the official grand opening on Earth Day, April 22. Premier Rodney MacDonald and Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of ACOA toured the Centre on Monday, April 21, addressed stakeholders and dignitaries, and officiated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The centre provides an exceptional learning experience, featuring an extensive fossil specimens collection, exhibits and displays depicting the rich geological history of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, the history of scientific discovery at Joggins, and the history of coal mining that shaped the local community.
In addition to a large exhibit gallery, the 1,186 square-metre facility also features a visitor information centre; gift shop; both an indoor and outdoor café; a large multi-purpose room that is capable of hosting various scientific educational, community and business groups; labs for the resident scientist and visiting scientific groups; collection storage facilities; and offices for the Joggins Fossil Institute staff. The centre will also provide access to the beach and cliffs via stairs that are currently under construction. Guided tours of the 14.7-km stretch of protected sea cliffs and beach will also be available during "peak" season.
"Green Technology" is an integral component within the centre. Power needs are supplemented by the use of an on-site 50 kilowatt wind turbine generator. A solar heating system is used to preheat the hot water for the building, the washrooms feature electronic, self-closing faucets, waterless urinals, and dual flush valve water closets which are all designed to greatly reduce the use of water. This ecologically friendly treatment also includes a living vegetation roof that will reduce extremes in heating and cooling of the building; prevent storm water run off, and help filter pollutants and CO2 out of the air.
The centre's hours of operation are from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until May 17; 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from May 17 to June 30; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from July 1 to Sept. 3; and from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Sept. 4 to Nov. 11. During the November to May off-season the centre will be open by appointment only. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, while children under eight get in free.
A brand new website, www.jogginsfossilcliffs.net, has been launched to coincide with the opening of the centre. The website, developed by Tantramar Interactive of Sackville, contains a wealth of information about the centre and the fossil cliffs. The next significant milestone for Joggins is anticipated this summer when the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets in Quebec City from July 2-10, at which time a decision is expected regarding the nomination of the fossil cliffs as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Camping and hiking enthusiasts will be happy to know that Cape Chignecto Provincial Park in Advocate Harbour is now open for the 2008 season. The 4,200 hectare natural environment park offers some of the best coastal hiking and most spectacular scenery in eastern Canada. With over 60 kilometres of trails, both back and front-country camping, wilderness cabin and bunkhouse, and a visitor centre and gift shop the park is a Cumberland County gem that continues to attract visitors from around the world. For reservations, call 1-888-544-3434 or visit the provincial parks website at www.novascotiaparks.ca.
The new Eatonville day-use park will feature five kilometres of family-accessible trail systems, picnic areas, and six professionally engineered viewing platforms offering spectacular views of the Three Sisters sea stacks, Eatonville Harbour and the upper Bay of Fundy. A completely green, solar-powered interpretive/visitor centre to be known as the Three Sisters Interpretive Centre will welcome visitors to this section of the park.
The completion of Phase Two has presented many challenges, including the difficult terrain, accessibility, and the timelines of funding confirmations. The park management board is working closely with the Department of Transportation to ensure road access is improved. The day-use park is tentatively scheduled to open in July weather, time and accessibility permitting.
Cape Chignecto Provincial Park is managed and operated by CREDA and a volunteer management board under a banagement agreement with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
If you have any questions or want further information about CREDA, phone 667-3638 or visit our website at www.creda.net. CREDA is Quality System Registered to ISO 9001:2000.