Sydney's 'road to nowhere' finally opens after 7 years

·2 min read
The road to nowhere now goes through land up for development.
The road to nowhere now goes through land up for development.

(George Mortimer/CBC - image credit)

What was once called the road to nowhere is now providing opportunities for development on the former site of the Sydney steel plant in Cape Breton, N.S.

The road goes through the site of the former coke ovens operation. It's been blocked off since it was built seven years ago amid a dispute between Nova Scotia and a U.S. rail company which once had tracks on the property.

The company had refused to allow traffic across the tracks, citing safety issues.

The intersection was upgraded and the issue was settled last fall. The road opened to the public in January as Crawford Crossing. It provides a secondary route for traffic heading to Whitney Pier through Lingan Road.

Much of the land in the area is for sale.
Much of the land in the area is for sale.

"We developed a road that would be suitable for larger, institutional-type things that would develop in this area and we constructed water and sewer in the road," said Donnie Burke, executive director of environmental analysis and remediation with Nova Scotia Lands, the provincial Crown corporation that manages the site.

"It's there to facilitate the growth."

Burke said a number of companies had been interested in the land. But with the road closed it wasn't possible to develop the sites.

Donnie Burke said the road is there to facilitate growth.
Donnie Burke said the road is there to facilitate growth.

He said they can now look for new potential developments.

"We've got a couple of interested parties in the properties for some sort of development over time but it's just opened up in the last month or two so we're weighing our potential and seeing what could develop," he said.

"We've left it wide open. We haven't subdivided up the properties, so when people come in they can actually plan … what they want to develop it."

Nova Scotia Lands has reached out to a real estate company for help. Remax Park Place has placed a sign on the former steel plant property.

Burke said that gives them a wider reach in the marketplace. He said they have close to 80 hectares of land available on the coke ovens site alone. "The potential for the industrial park itself is limitless. It's [a] large, open swath of land in the middle of the CBRM."

Burke added: "This land was used industrially. Thousands of people worked on this site and our hope is that thousands of people can work here again someday."

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