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Environmental
Design and
Management
Limited

Land Use Plan &
Re-development
Strategy






 
 


7.0


LAND USE AND RE-DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 
 

This section describes a vision for the SYSCO property, provides a land use plan, as well as proposed initial steps towards implementing the vision and plan.

In many ways, the vision is the most important element. Throughout the myriad of decisions that will be made during demolition, environmental clean up, marketing, and new infrastructure investment, it is the overall vision, which becomes the official guide to decision making. Without a vision, it is easy to make decisions based upon the most “cost effective” way to accomplish a task within a narrow frame of reference. For example, it may be more cost effective to remove the sew-ers than clean them up during site cleanup. If the decision is made with the focus primarily on a cost effective clean-up, then removal is the correct decision. How-ever, with the adoption of the vision, the correct decision may be the most cost effective way of achieving the new future, not the individual step. With this frame of reference, it may be more cost effective to clean the sewers.

The land use plan is an initial step. It describes general zones for re-development, based upon site conditions. As market information becomes more complete, and real businesses step forward, it will need to be flexible. That said, it is always easiest to sell the “best” elements and areas of the property, and if these elements are not properly positioned, then the property can stagnate. As with any real estate development, final location decisions need to be a blend of individual business needs, achieving a reasonable return on investment, and simultaneously keeping future options open to achieve the overall mix necessary for a successful industrial park.


 

7.1

Vision for the Sysco Site

 
 

The vision for the SYSCO site is that it is redeveloped as one of the premier industrial parks in the Province of Nova Scotia. As such, the site becomes part of an overall strategy for the economic re-development of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The re-developed site is vibrant with new industry and businesses providing long-term jobs to local residents. Business is attracted to the area by the physical assets of the SYSCO property, and through a concerted effort at marketing by all levels of government. The new industry meets environmental standards equal to those in other parts of Canada.

The property has large green areas, walking and biking trails through out and is considered a good place to work. There are several interesting relics of the property’s steel making history left on the property and re-incorporated as sculptural elements in the plan. As an example, SYSCO water tower might be the signature element, redeveloped as a look-off tower that is an attraction to both local residents and tourists. A museum in CBRM provides more detailed accounts of the coking, coal mining and steel making history of the region. A large green wildlife buffer separates the community of Whitney Pier from the property.

The SYSCO and Coke Ovens sites formerly divided the community of Whitney Pier from the rest of Sydney. The vision includes the re-establishment of a road network that reconnects the downtown with Whitney Pier. These improvements, together with a better direct connection from Highway 125 to the SYSCO property, have created a better relationship between residents and industry. A new bridge is built across Muggah Creek at Ferry Street to provide a direct connection from SYSCO to downtown Sydney. The railway is now secure due to the volume of business it carries.

The former Coke Ovens site is a large recreation area that has raised property values in the adjacent neighborhoods and contributes to the overall health of residents.

CBRM is now viewed as a good place to set up a business. Through a focused effort between all levels of government, institutions, business, residents, and the press, an Internet search on CBRM now reveals it to be a community known for its “can do” attitude. The community has successfully tackled major environmental clean-ups. New business approvals are stringent, but streamlined and efficient. There is coordination in the marketing, administration and management of both the port and land based industrial assets. Both business and government are now confident to continue to invest in and grow the community

 

7.2

Description of the Land Use Plan

 
 

The land use plan is attached as Figure 7.1. It capitalizes on the following essential elements of the site.

Wharf A high quality 1400-foot marginal wharf, with heavy lift cranes, extensive flat backup lands, and direct rail and truck access (only Sheet Harbour offers flat backup lands, however it does not have rail access).
Process Water for Industry The site offers significant high quality process water for industrial manufacturing (this is a limitation in much of the Strait of Canso area).
Rail The SYSCO property has good rail access, although the long- term viability of the railway needs to be secured. Many marine industrial parks in the province do not have rail, including Mulgrave, the Melford Reserve, Bear Head, Sheet Harbour and Shelburne.
Warehouses with Overhead Cranes Approximately eight buildings on the site are suitable for re-use. Many of these facilities have overhead cranes and other desirable industrial infrastructure. This represents almost 500,000 square feet of incubator space for industrial businesses.
Sewer Several of the sewers on the site can be easily connected to the new collector sewer and proposed sewage treatment plant at Battery Point.
Power The site has direct access to high voltage power for use in heavy industrial applications.
Heavy Industrial Zoning The site is currently zoned for heavy industrial use, and CBRM is in support of retaining this designation in the future.

The site is laid out as four distinct areas or zones: waterfront industrial (purple); industrial/manufacturing/environmental (orange and pink); light industrial (yellow); and green space (green).

The lands lying up to 700 metres behind the waterfront are restricted to uses that require immediate adjacency to wharves and waterfront. The PEV leased land for the bulk commodities terminal has been configured to provide direct access to the SYSCO wharf. The terminal is located in the center of the property, as far away from residential neighbourhoods as possible (residents in Whitney Pier are ap-proximately 1 kilometer from the terminal). Long-term storage of coal and other bulk commodities will take place in the pit where slag has been mined over the years, reducing its exposure to wind. Blast Furnace Cove is a part of the leased land that may be filled in the future to increase lay down area. The leased land also contains a 25-acre “claw-back” area immediately behind the wharf for a potential off-shore manufacturing industry. An additional 30-acre parcel has been consolidated adjacent to Whitney Pier. This parcel has access to both the Emera and SYSCO wharves as well as a water lot enabling construction of a new wharf. This parcel can be up to 60 acres (extending back to the electric arc furnace build-in) if a large industrial user requires a parcel of this size.

The middle section of the site is zoned for heavier industries and manufacturing which require access to the site’s core infrastructure of power, rail, process water and sewer. Industries in this area have access to the wharves via common road and rail links, and are laid out to facilitate this flow of goods. High quality existing buildings with overhead cranes are maintained in this area will serve as incubator space for initial tenants.

This middle section of the site is also conducive to the establishment of environ-mental industries. Again, access to road and rail is important for these industries, as well as the higher level of security offered by a center of the site location. Located adjacent to the former SYSCO landfill, these industries are hidden from view, and far away from residential neighborhoods.

Lighter industrial lands abut the existing commercial uses on Disco Street and Terminal Road. These uses will tend to have a smaller footprint, and be locating there to provide support services to uses in the other two zones. These lands are expected to take longer to build out, and may also incorporate uses that support downtown Sydney, such as auto dealers, storage facilities, warehouse show-rooms, etc.

The "front door entrance" to the SYSCO property on Prince Street is at Inglis Street. Inglis Street becomes the main infrastructure artery through the property, with street, rail, sidewalk, water, sewer and power all in this central corridor. The property also has a direct connection to Highway 125 via a new collector street, which extends from the Highway end point, past the municipal landfill and MAID site, through the former Coke Ovens site, across the SYSCO site to a new bridge across Muggah Creek to Ferry Street in downtown Sydney. This collector street provides the SYSCO property with quick truck access to Highway 125, and a direct connection to downtown. It provides for two connections to Whitney Pier, reconnecting this community to the rest of Sydney. The main collector street also provides direct access from the Emera dock to Highway 125. (In the short term, while the Coke Ovens site is being re mediated, the collector street may be diverted to the Frederick Street alignment around the Coke Ovens property.)

Rail on the SYSCO property has been rationalised with a new connection from the wharf to both the rail to Lingan and the rail to Port Hawkesbury. Sidings and spurs remain on the property to facilitate re-development. Buildings and former warehouses shown in black in Figure 7.1 remain on the property for resale and re-use, and to serve as incubators for business start-ups.

Significant greening is provided both on the property and adjacent to it. The former SYSCO landfill is a large green area. Berms are constructed to the southwest, adjacent to the bulk commodities terminal to screen views from downtown. The entire bank between Whitney Pier and the new industrial park is also a large green area, re vegetated with native plant material. This green area, on Provincial, SYSCO, and Emera lands separates the entire industrial area (including the Emera assets) from Whitney Pier, and creates a significant wildlife buffer. In addition, green areas for lunch eating and green ways for pedestrian, bicycle and other alternative modes of transportation are provided throughout the industrial park.

The plan shows a green area on the Coke Ovens property. The SYSCO site is considered to be of adequate size to achieve the business synergies of a vibrant industrial park. The Coke Ovens is therefore able to become its own separate land use; i.e., there is no need for it to become any land use simply by virtue of its adjacency to the new industrial site. In many ways a green area of some sort might be desirable. The SYSCO site, as an industrial park, will place some stress on the community in terms of traffic, noise, etc. Ideally, the localized “nuisances” associated with vibrant business land uses would be offset by a large green area or similar “desirable” land use on the Coke Ovens site.


 
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