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Open Hearth Park - Sydney Tar Ponds Park Development Plan

Community park turns the tables on contamination and reconnects communities

Sydney, Nova Scotia

The Sydney Tar Ponds was once the site of one of the largest steel plants in North America—and it was one of the most contaminated sites in Canada. Our client set out to create something fresh and useable, something that reconnected three divided neighborhoods and turned them back into a community.

Open Hearth Park features waterfront access, multi-use paths, fields, outdoor performance areas, an adventure playground, two pedestrian bridges, and nearly 125 acres of-re-created wildlife habitat. Through seven themes, the park celebrates the community’s rich history, and with the salvage and re-use of relics, renovated rail cars, and sculptures, visitors discover intriguing sights throughout the seasons.

Our environmental specialists monitored remediation, and our landscape architects and engineers confronted the strict geotechnical requirements for the site’s remediated cap. All foundations, utilities, and landscape elements had to be constructed with newly placed soils, requiring close coordination between teams.

We used local slag material to create landforms and underlay roads and paths—reducing project cost substantially.

The result? An ecologically and seasonally diverse park experience with a highly resilient landscape, perfectly suited to manage stormwater and provide a natural solution that enhances the community. 

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