Updated December 20, 2017
Parks Canada has announced eight additions to its Tentative List for World Heritage Sites and the Oil Springs Industrial Landscape is not included.
The announcement, made this morning by Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, adds properties with natural and cultural significance to the list of proposed sites.
The joint application between the County of Lambton and Fairbank Oil Fields was one of 43 submitted to Parks Canada and focused on the historic and industrial significance of the Oil Springs Industrial Landscape, which is already identified as a National Historic Site and is part of the County's Oil Heritage Conservation District.
"This designation would have distinguished the Oil Springs Industrial Landscape as truly exceptional on the world stage and underscored its importance as a site of outstanding universal value," said Lambton County Warden Bill Weber. "Our team plans to follow up with Parks Canada in the coming weeks in order to identify opportunities to strengthen this application for the next submission period."
“We are disappointed but will continue to enhance the site and conduct further research,” said Charlie Fairbank, fourth generation owner of Fairbank Oil Fields, which has been pumping oil for 156 years. “We believe that in time, Canada will come to recognize the huge significance that local oil technology made in global history.”
In its decision, the Ministerial Advisory Committee for the Update of Canada's Tentative List for World Heritage Sites noted the high level of stakeholder and community engagement in support of the Oil Springs Industrial Landscape application.
The Oil Springs Industrial Landscape includes the Fairbank Oil Fields property and the County's Oil Museum of Canada site, which are located in the Village of Oil Springs and Enniskillen Township in Lambton County. The Fairbank Oil Fields property consists of 350 wells spread over more than 600 acres which are still commercially pumping oil using authentic 19th century technology.
To learn more about the Oil Museum of Canada, visit OilMuseum.ca. To learn more about Fairbank Oil Fields, visit FairbankOil.com.