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Phase1 - Environmental Site Assessment


4 .0



The establishment of a steel plant in Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1899 has had far-reaching social and economic effects on the city, the province and the country over its 100-year history. On a more localized scale, the development and operation of the plant has also had dramatic effects on the environmental setting in and around the steel plant site.

The following sections provide a brief description of the history of that development and operation, and summarize the consequences to the landscape and environment.



Historical Land Uses


On July 1, 1899 the sod was turned for the new steel plant in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The original plant consisted of four components: the coke ovens (east of Victoria Road), four blast furnaces at the mouth of Muggah Creek, an open hearth building that housed 10 furnaces for making steel, and rolling mills for producing steel products. The first steel was produced in December 1901.

Over the course of the next 99 years, over 130 buildings were constructed on the steel plant site alone (i.e., not including the Coke Ovens site). These included a Plate Mill in 1918, and mills for producing products such as rod, bar, wire and nails. Additional blast furnaces and open hearth furnaces were also constructed, along with supporting power houses, storage buildings and maintenance shops. Major renovations took place from time to time, including 1953 and 1988/89. By 2000, the year the steel plant ceased operations, less than half of the 130 buildings that had been built during the previous century remained on the site.

Demolition of the remaining steel plant structures began in July 2001, a process that is expected to last for three years. Since that time, 12 structures have been demolished as well as the five remaining Open Hearth stacks. A detailed discussion of the site development and building existence is provided in Section 5.0.

The Sydney Steel Plant site can be divided into four zones based on historic land use and industrial activities as shown in Figure 5-1 (located in the pocket at the end of this report). For the purposes of this study, each of the four zones has been subdivided into Site Classification Units in order to facilitate the discussion of environmental issues and to assist with future land use planning. The development of the Site Classification Unit system is discussed in Section 4.3. A discussion of the environmental concerns associated with each SCU is provided in Section 5.0.

View of the Blast Furnace Yard C. 1900 (Beaton Institute)

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