AMHERST – An Amherst man is urging the town to lobby for UNESCO World Heritage status for the community.
Speaking to council’s October session, Walt Jones said Amherst’s history and its uniqueness as the home of Four Fathers of Confederation should merit consideration by the Canadian government.
“We need to petition the federal government to add Amherst to its list of UNESCO heritage sites,” Jones said. “This would ensure that our historical heritage would be protected for future generations and encourage tourism.”
Jones is circulating a petition within the community urging the federal government to place the town on its list of sites so the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization would follow up with a visit to determine whether the community merits consideration for the world list.
Cumberland County already has one UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Joggins Fossil Cliffs while there has also been some speculation that eventually Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash may someday merit consideration for the list.
Joggins was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
Jones said Amherst is a great example of the suffering of the Acadian expulsion and the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists and Yorkshire settlers in the late 1700s.
“Amherst benefitted from the American Revolution as many wealthy American Loyalist settlers were attracted to this area. In fact, our Four Fathers of Confederation were all descended from United Empire Loyalists,” Jones said.
Jones said these settlers were wealthy and drove the economic engine that made Amherst a manufacturing giant in the 1800s and early 1900s building everything from railway cars to automobiles, pianos and much more.
“This created great wealth and led to the construction of our great heritage buildings and homes for the wealthy,” Jones said, adding that to him Amherst has more heritage buildings of historical value than any town or city in the Nova Scotia with the exception of Halifax.
Jones said he has already met with Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey and plans to meet with Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.