Nova Scotia

Final plan for Sydney Tar Ponds clean-up announced

The federal and provincial governments announced the final plans for the Sydney Tar Ponds site at a ceremony in Sydney on Sunday.

$17 million to be spent on amphitheatre, sports field, park and walking trails

The federal and provincial governments unveiled plans for the final portion of the Sydney Tar Ponds clean-up site Sunday, which will see $17 million spent on a park, sports field and a fully equipped outdoor stage and amphitheatre.

The project will also include walking trails with bridges and a new sports field.

"This has been a victory of reclamation but it's also been a victory of our economy and the amount of money that's gone into our economy because of this reclamation," said deputy premier Frank Corbett.

The province is contributing $120 million of the $400 million clean-up cost. The remainder is coming from the federal government.

Federal Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt, said announcing the final project has special meaning for her.

"I grew up on Matilda Street, which is just straight through that way," said Raitt.

"I have seen so many changes in the area in the last four years, but it's the hard work that has come to fruition of many, many decades."

The tar ponds and the former Sydney Steel coke ovens have long been considered one of Canada's worst toxic waste sites.

At one point the site contained 700,000 tonnes of soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), solvents and various heavy metals.

Local contractors Municipal Ready Mix and Denko Mi'kmaq Enterprises of Eskasoni will make the last big changes to the site.

By the spring of 2014, all evidence of Sydney's steel making past will be gone from the landscape.