Full-time manager position reinstated at Mistaken Point

CBC has learned the provincial government has reversed cutbacks at the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve.
The fossils embedded in rock at Mistaken Point are more than 565 million years old. (Submitted by Zach Bonnell)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government has reversed cutbacks at the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, CBC News has learned.

Government had reduced the full-time manager's job to a seasonal position as part of budget cuts. The reduced position meant there would not have been supervision of half-billion year-old fossils for about half the year.

Mistaken Point on the southwestern tip of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, is home to the oldest and rarest fossils in the world.

The Department of Environment and Conservation confirms the manager position has been extended, to assist with the province's United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization bid.

One of the key requirements of the international designation is to have a long-term plan in place to protect heritage sites.

Many people living in Portugal Cove South, who were hoping Mistaken Point would be granted UNESCO status, feared the half-time position would have made them ineligible to apply. 

Other local people involved in the UNESCO application had said they were concerned about the fossils not being supervised, as they had been targeted by thieves in the past. 

Mistaken Point is on UNESCO's list of tentative world heritage sites. The provincial government hopes to submit the application in early 2015. 

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