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Horizontal Initiatives

1. Name of Horizontal Initiative: Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Project

2. Name of lead department(s): PWGSC

3. Lead department program activity: Specialized Programs & Services

4. Start date of the Horizontal Initiative: May 12, 2004

5. End date of the Horizontal Initiative: March 31, 2014

6. Total federal funding allocation (start to end date): $282 million for PWGSC Cost share with the Province of Nova Scotia. (The Province of Nova Scotia's share is up to $120 million for a total project cost of $402 million.) Costs outside of the cost share are: PWGSC federal lead oversight $25.8 million, Environment Canada $7.6 million and Health Canada $5.5 million.

7. Description of the Horizontal Initiative (including funding agreement): This initiative is a Federal - Provincial Cost Share to remediate the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites situated on federally and provincially owned lands in the heart of Sydney, Nova Scotia. These sites were contaminated with over 700,000 tonnes of toxins, as a result of a century of manufacturing steel. The project is in support of the federal government's sustainable development initiative, recognizing the environmental, social and economic dimensions of the Sydney area. The project will have long term benefits for all Canadians. When remediation is complete, Nova Scotia will take ownership of the lands. Any remaining contaminants will be managed and monitored by the Province of Nova Scotia in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement. The provincial agency's website can be found at: The website for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is:

8. Shared outcome(s): The targeted results to be achieved by the partners will result in long term environmental, economic, and social benefits for Nova Scotians, First Nations Communities and all Canadians. Downtown Sydney will have new land to be developed, which will aid in the rejuvenation of the economically depressed area.

9. Governance structure(s):

  1. Memorandum to Cabinet dated April 2004 mandated Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and, by law (CEA) act, as the federal lead for the project.
  2. Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia was signed on May 12, 2004.
  3. The Interim Cost Share Agreement with the province, signed on October 20, 2004, provided for interim governance and funding and for undertaking preventative works and preliminary works as set out in the MOA.
  4. The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency was set up by the province to manage and implement the project. Its operating charter was established on August 18, 2004.
  5. An Independent Engineer was jointly appointed in October 2005, to monitor and confirm the engineering and financial integrity of the project as work progresses.
  6. A Project Management Committee, which includes senior representatives from both the federal and provincial governments, oversees all aspects of the project.
  7. A Protocol Agreement was established October 28, 2005, allowing for meaningful economic participation of First Nations communities. Set asides were established for competition among Canadian First Nations businesses.
  8. Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF) and Risk-based Audit Frameworks (RBAF) were established for the length of the project in accordance with Treasury Board conditions.
  9. On May 31, 2007, Treasury Board Decision #833589 granted approval of the terms and conditions of the Final Cost Share Agreement (FCSA) and associated funding for the cost shared activities, with PWGSC as the federal lead, as well as for costs of federal operations of Environment Canada and Health Canada. The FCSA was signed on September 27, 2007, incorporating Environmental Assessment panel recommendations, reaffirming funding commitments and further delineating the governance structure for the final seven years of the remediation project to its completion in 2014.
  10. On March 18, 2009, a MOA was signed between Canada and Nova Scotia Environment to share expertise and coordinate relevant regulatory process.

10. Planning Highlights for 2010-2011: A mid-term project evaluation is planned for 2010-11 as per the project's Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF). Continuous monitoring of the RMAF's key performance indicators are ongoing to ensure evidence based information. Various Operational Reviews are planned to be performed by Audit Services Canada.

The Construction phase continues with project elements to control surface water and groundwater and to cap and contain contaminated sediments through solidification and stabilization. Key plans and risks are as follows:

The first project element TP6A – flow diversion of Coke Ovens Brook and Wash Brook, will continue throughout the three phases of project element TP6B. TP6B - Solidification, Stabilization and Channel Construction of the Tar Ponds is a three phased project that will see the first phase, South Tar Pond, completed by the fall of 2010. Project element TP7 – Tar Ponds Surface Cap, will begin during 2010 and is expected to complete the entire South Pond prior to unfavourable weather. Should the TP6B - Solidification, Stabilization and Channel Construction contractor be later than expected in completing the South Pond, there is a risk of the TP7-Tar Ponds Surface Cap contractor not completing prior to unfavourable weather. This risk will be monitored closely.

The abutment portion of project element TP6C – Ferry Street Bridge, will be completed during the fiscal year 2010/11.

Project element CO1 – Coke Oven Brook Connector, is expected to be completed in the summer of 2010. This element is required to accept clean water from project element CO7/CO8 – Groundwater Collection/Water Treatment Plant. CO7/CO8 - Groundwater Collection and Water Treatment Plant is expected to be completed in May 2010 and commissioned to allow treated water to flow into the TP6B channel via the CO1 - Coke Oven Brook connector.

Project element CO2B – Realignment of SPAR Road, is currently being awarded and will be completed in the Spring of 2010. Project element CO6 – Coke Ovens Surface Cap, was delayed to allow results of a future land use study to update the final design. This element is a two phased project with the first portion being an Aboriginal Set-Aside and is scheduled to start in June of 2010.

11. Federal Partners 12. Federal Partner Program Activity 13. Names of Programs for Federal Partners 14. Total Allocation (2004-2014) 15. Planned Spending for
16. Expected Results for

1. PWGSC Operating:

Cost Share Payment to Province of Nova Scotia:

Federal lead Specialized Programs & Services -Sydney Tar Ponds & Coke Ovens Remediation Project





PWGSC's project team, as federal lead, ensures the project is complying with the project agreements, the efficient and effective use of public funds, application of federal standards and policies, and effective communication with stakeholders, using appropriate oversight and due diligence.
2. ENVIRONMENT CANADA Provision of advice to PWGSC Sydney Tar Ponds $7,640,000 $677,491 Provision of expert and technical advice to PWGSC on technical issues, historical studies and scientific issues related to contaminated sites.
3. HEALTH CANADA Provision of advice to PWGSC Sydney Tar Ponds $5,500,000 $285,662 Provision of expert and technical advice to PWGSC on issues related to human health, technical issues and risk assessment.

17. Results to be achieved by Non-federal Partners (if applicable):
The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, who is implementing the day to day technical aspects of the Project elements in accordance with the agreements signed by the government partners, has planned remediation work for cost shared expenditures for fiscal year 2010-11 in the amount of $73.3M ($43.9M federal cost share).

18. Contact Information:
Randy Vallis, Director, Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Project, 295 Charlotte Street, Sydney, NS B1P 6J9 Tel: (902) 564-2543 Email:

Brenda Powell, Chief Business Management, Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens Remediation Project Tel: (902) 368-0359 Email: