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Design and

Land Use Plan &









In 1899 the Dominion Iron & Steel Company commenced construction of the Sydney’s first steel mill. Located adjacent to Muggah Creek, as shown on Figure 1.1, the new mill included an open hearth building, blast furnaces and coke ovens. Within a decade of opening, the mill was producing almost half of Canada’s total steel output. Over the years, the mill was expanded several times, most notably in 1953 and 1989, and was owned by a number of companies, including: Dominion Iron & Steel Company (DISCO), British Empire Steel Corporation (BESCO), Dominion Steel & Coal Corporation (DOSCO) and Hawker-Siddley.

In 1967, the mill was purchased by the Province of Nova Scotia and was renamed the Sydney Steel Corporation (SYSCO). By the 1990’s the dynamics of the steel industry had changed dramatically, with production moving to developing countries such as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia, and a corresponding drop in world prices. In 2000, after several unsuccessful attempts to the sell the mill, the Province closed SYSCO. In 2001, a demolition firm was hired to remove the majority of the buildings on the site, thus ending over a century of steel production in Cape Breton.

The decision to close and dismantle the steel mill brought with it the responsibility to manage the environmental concerns and to redevelop the property for another use. Re-development was seen to encompass a development strategy for the site (i.e., what market sectors will be attracted to the area), and a land use plan that could be used to guide the future development. It was within this context that SYSCO retained EDM Environmental Design and Management Ltd. to prepare a re-development strategy and land use plan for the property.



Objectives of this Study


This study presents a land use plan for the re-development of the SYSCO property. The objectives for the study were as follows:

  • Identify the role of the SYSCO property in the future development of the Greater Sydney Area
  • Identify market segments and industries that will be attracted to the property
  • Identify existing infrastructure that may be reused (e.g., wharf, buildings, rail, etc.)
  • Develop a land use that can be used as a vision to direct future infrastructure investment and market the site
  • Identify opportunities for market driven job creation
  • Ensure that all environmental regulations can be adhered to as the property is re-developed
  • Reflect the opportunities and concerns identified by local stakeholders and the community surrounding the property.


Organization of the Website


The main links at the top of each page lead to the following information:

  • Regional Context presents an assessment of the SYSCO site within the context of the greater Sydney area. This assessment includes the demographics of the area, as well as regional issues such as transportation, recreation and economic development. Given the large size of the SYSCO property (445 acres), knowing how it fits into the context of Sydney will be important to the success of the plan.
  • Site Infrastructure presents an assessment of the existing infrastructure of the SYSCO property, including: buildings, roads, wharf, rail, sewer and water. The intent of this section is to obtain enough information to determine what infrastructure may have reuse potential.
  • Environmental summarizes known environmental information about the SYSCO property, as well as the potential impacts of contamination from the Coke Ovens and Tar Ponds properties. It provides advice on the future environmental permitting process, and what land uses are possible given the past use of the site.
  • Land Demand summarizes the demand for land in Sydney including the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. This chapter recognizes that the land use plan must reflect the realities of the local real estate market, other-wise the results may not be implementable.
  • Public Consultation presents the re-development plan for the property. This includes a vision of what the site might be like in 2010, and a land use plan that illustrates how future development might occur.
  • Re-Development Plan describes a vision for the SYSCO property, provides a land use plan, as well as proposed initial steps towards implementing the vision and plan.

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