Nova Scotia

Body found in abandoned Sydney train station

Cape Breton Regional Police are investigating after a person was found dead inside an abandoned building in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday.

Police say body discovered during noon hour Tuesday in building on Dodd Street

A body was found at 12:45 p.m. at an abandoned train station in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Update: Cape Breton Regional Police said Wednesday the death is not a police matter and is not considered suspicious.

Cape Breton Regional Police are investigating after a person was found dead inside an abandoned building in Sydney, N.S., on Tuesday.

Const. Gary Fraser said the body was found over the noon hour inside the former train station on Dodd Street, but few details were immediately available.

He said police have only just started investigating.

"It's still in its infancy," Fraser said. "Right now our [identification] section is coming. We're holding the scene right now until they're finished with it.

"That's all. I can't even tell you if it's male or female, because we didn't go close enough to the body to determine that."

Cape Breton Regional Police said Tuesday afternoon they do not know if any foul play was involved in the death. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Fraser said police were waiting for specialists to arrive before starting a full investigation.

"We don't know any foul play as of this time," he said. "Once our [identification] section gets there and do what they have to do, we'll keep the scene for a while, and they do what they do and then it'll go to the [medical examiner's] office and they'll determine the cause of death."

Fraser said paramedics were called and determined the person was dead.

He said the building showed evidence of people squatting.

"It appears they may have been sleeping there overnight at some time," Fraser said. "There's bedding, clothing and food up there."

Fraser said it's not a surprise that people are moving indoors, with the weather getting colder and the homeless shelter full.

CBRM Coun. Eldon MacDonald says the building has been abandoned for about 20 years and is a continuous problem, with the municipality having to regularly board it up after people break in. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Coun. Eldon MacDonald said the building was used by Canada Post at one time and was a former Via Rail station.

"Over the last, probably, two decades, it's been an empty building with no real purpose, boarded up and broken into on many occasions," he said.

It's not simple to have the building demolished, MacDonald said, but staff have been aware of the building's access problems for years and it's become worse over the last year.

"I've gotten to the point that I've basically said to staff that I don't think we should be spending any more tax dollars on it," he said.

"We should just let it get to the point that it gets so dangerous that it has to be removed."

Demolition may be coming soon

MacDonald said a new owner is slated to take over the property any day and the plan is to demolish the building and redevelop the property.

"I've done everything I could with that building other than take it down myself," he said.