Demolition changing landscape at Sysco

By Wes Stewart
Cape Breton Post
Fri. Mar. 18, 2005

Sydney - The landscape at the Sysco site is changing again as the last of the very large buildings come down. A skeleton of steel girders is all that is left of the blue building that housed the electric arc furnace.

Sysco president John Traves said Thursday there is one other major structure ó the brick shed ó remaining. It is now being used for storage and will likely be demolished in the spring by Murray Demolition, the company hired to demolish the plant for the province. The two blue buildings were part of the millís modernization in 1989. Traves said what remains of the electric arc furnace building probably will be down by Monday. "We will complete the demolition project this spring. "That will leave work through spring and summer to early fall for the cutting up of the steel." He estimates that amounts to about 60,000 tons or one remaining boatload of scrap steel.

This summer environmental engineers will do drilling and testing through the middle of the plant site. "We pretty much have a good handle through phase two and three environmental studies of the perimeter of the site, but because those buildings were there we have not been able to get into the centre area," he said. The drilling program will give them a sense of what is there to be cleaned up in the area that was part of the modernization in the mid-1980s. That construction was done when there was a different level of care paid to environmental safety. "We havenít found much on the site with respect to the processes and where those buildings were located." Although one area identified with a fair amount of contamination caused by an oil tank spill will have to be remediated, he said.

A huge amount of clean up of the high dump has gone on and the province will soon want to start attracting businesses and working out a long-term strategy for the site. A new bridge was installed in front of the main administration building near Inglis Street that will connect a road into the new SPAR road.

Traves said the timing of the opening of that road will be determined by what is found in the testing of the site. The opening of that link to the public could happen this summer, he added. "There is a tar cell on the coke oven site (near) where the SPAR road will go eventually." At the moment the new road is connected to the Logistec coal handling pier, but in the long-term a T-intersection will see another road come under the Victoria Road overpass to Inglis Street.

The siting of a new bridge from the former plant property to the downtown will be determined by the remediation of the Sydney tar ponds, he said. Traves said they originally planned an industrial site without the need for a lot of fencing, but new port security measures introduced since the terrorist attacks on the United States has forced them to reconsider. "For a marine-based industrial park, like this is intended to be, presents some issues around fencing and security and how the site will meet those new rules." Depending on the tenants it is yet to be determined how far that proposed fence will be from the water, and if they need to be within or outside the secure area.