The Sydney tar ponds was unveiled as Open Hearth Park, a 39-hectare green space, on August 30 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. (The project also placed No. 97 in 2013’s Top 100 list.) The tar ponds was long considered one of Canada’s most toxic sites, the result of nearly a hundred years of steelmaking at the Sydney Steel plant. The ponds contained raw sewage, heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and other toxins.
Minister of Justice Peter MacKay and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Maurice Smith were in Sydney for the Stronger Than Steel celebration marking the site’s remediation.
“Open Hearth Park represents a new start for our community and sets the stage for a brighter future,” Smith said. “Not only are we celebrating the successful remediation of the tar ponds and coke ovens site and all that we have accomplished since the steel and coal industries anchored our community more than 100 years ago, but we have a community-based park that will benefit many generations to come and remind us of just how resilient we are as Cape Bretoners.”
“This cleanup project has not only improved the environment, but has also helped build a stronger economy for the people of Cape Breton and Atlantic Canada,” MacKay said.
The unveiling of the park, which will be fully completed in the coming months, marks the ceremonial end of a $400 million cost sharing agreement between the federal provincial governments which was signed in 2004. The plan included solidifying and stabilizing the nearly 1 million tonnes of contaminated soils and sediments.