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.