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Chinese company may build $1b container terminal in Sydney Harbour

By TOM AYERS CAPE BRETON BUREAU The Chronicle Herald

mayor clarke heraldCape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke says the China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. is ready to invest millions of dollars in a feasibility and design study for a container terminal operation in Sydney Harbour. (TOM AYERS / Cape Breton Bureau)

SYDNEY — A large Chinese construction company has agreed to build a highly automated container terminal in Sydney Harbour, depending on the results of a feasibility study to be conducted next year, says the CEO of Harbor-Port Development Partners.

If it proceeds, the project is expected to cost more than $1 billion and take several years to complete, with operation possibly to start sometime in 2019, Albert Barbusci said.

China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. has agreed to design and build a container terminal and all related infrastructure around the municipality’s greenfield site in Sydney Harbour, Barbusci said in a telephone interview from Montreal.

Infrastructure could include the rail line, roads and possible business operations that support a container terminal, he said.

Work on a feasibility and design study has already begun and will continue with a site visit by Chinese officials early in the new year, said Barbusci.

That work will determine whether the project gets built.

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Society staying on track to save the rail

tracke sunrise 1130

Sydney, Nova Scotia – November 27, 2015 - The board of directors of Scotia Rail Development Society met on Wednesday to discuss the recent announcements concerning an agreement by Genesee Wyoming to resume rail service when the Sydney Container Port is operational. The board expressed support for the Mayor’s programme to develop a container port but they assume that such a billion dollar project will take six to ten years to develop. Their concern is that the railway service would simply be put on the “back burner”. Hence the society decided to continue its campaign to seek provincial and federal support for a railway in Cape Breton. The group has initiated a campaign to have 10,000 Cape Bretoners sign a petition of support for the railway. An on-line version of the petition can be accessed from the society website www.scotiarail.ca.

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Efforts to save Cape Breton rail line chug along

rail signA Genesee and Wyoming sign is seen in this file photo of the rail line in Sydney.By Nancy King Cape Breton Post, Published on August 11, 2015

SYDNEY — The annual inspection on Cape Breton's rail line is up this week, meaning the already-rare sighting of a moving train in Cape Breton will be non-existent.

A Genesee and Wyoming sign is seen in this file photo of the rail line in Sydney.

As it stands, commercial traffic on the line has ceased, with owner Genesee and Wyoming having discontinued service on the Sydney-to-St. Peter's junction section of the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway. It had been occasionally used to move locomotives to Sydney for repair and maintenance, however.

But David Rae, chair of the Scotia Rail Development Society that formed in an effort to save the line, said that will no longer be the case once the required annual track inspection expires.

"We understand there were two locomotives that were having some maintenance work done in Sydney and that they would be heading back before Friday, but we don't know any more than that," Rae said.

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Working Together

HPD CBNS logosHarbor Port Development Partners and Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway to work together on the port of Sydney development project

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, November 19, 2015 — Cape Breton Regional Municipality has recently officially granted Harbor-Port Development Partners (HPDP) the exclusive right to market the port of Sydney for development, including building the financial and operating consortium to construct a state of the art container terminal and logistic park able to accommodate the latest generation of ultra large container vessels.

Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway Limited (CBNS) is in discussions with HPDP regarding the possibility of providing future rail service on the line from Truro to Sydney, Nova Scotia, as part of the deep water port development project in Sydney.

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Sydney man campaigning to save railway in mother's memory

Gord Seury rail meetingGord Seury holds up an ad in the Dec. 14, 1991, edition of the Cape Breton Post that featured his late mother, Alma, campaigning to save passenger rail service in Cape Breton. Seury was one of about 60 people who attending a working meeting of the Scotia Rail Development Society on Wednesday in Sydney.

SYDNEY — A quarter of a century ago, Gord Seury’s mother campaigned for the return of passenger rail service to Cape Breton.

On Wednesday, the 74-year-old Sydney resident was one of about 60 people who attended the latest meeting of the Scotia Rail Development Society, the local organization aiming to preserve Cape Breton’s railroad infrastructure in hopes of once again having trains roll across the island.

Seury said he showed up at the meeting at Sydney's Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion because of his late mother’s love of the railway. And he brought a full-page union ad that appeared in the Dec. 14, 1991, edition of the Cape Breton Post. The ad featured a letter written by his mother Alma and included picture of her on the old tracks.

“She loved it, she would take the train a few times a year to visit family down the line and she made a few trips out West — she loved the train,” said Seury, whose mother died in 1995 at age 79.

“She did what she could do to save the service then, so I guess I decided to come out and see if I can help out now.”

The gathering was more of a working meeting than an open public debate about the future of rail transportation in Cape Breton. For the most part, those in attendance were already committed to the cause.

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Groups try to keep Cape Breton rail effort on track


2015 05 01 11 10 26 rail meeting advance2Photo: (© Chris Shannon/Cape Breton Post) David Rae, chair of the Scotia Rail Development Society.
SYDNEY — Focus groups concentrating on the interests of specific communities in the future of Cape Breton’s rail line are being set up as part of the effort to engage the public and retain the service.

By Nancy King Cape Breton Post

The idea for the groups came from Rev. Greg MacLeod at a meeting this week of the Scotia Rail Development Society, and they would focus on four areas — central Cape Breton, the northside, Glace Bay and Sydney.

“My point is the railway is more significant than most people think,” MacLeod said. “There’s special interests in different communities."

David Rae, who chairs the society, said "the unifying factor is the rail … but there are different areas of interest and expertise.”

On the northside, the particular concern is around Marine Atlantic traffic. MacLeod said if the trend of diverting freight to Halifax to transport to Newfoundland continues, avoiding North Sydney altogether, the ferry service could be reduced to solely passenger traffic.

“That’s a danger,” MacLeod said.

In Glace Bay, the interest is around the reopening of the Donkin mine and how the coal it would produce would be moved.

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Our Mission Is Fourfold:

  1. Explore various options for continuation of the rail service to Sydney, Cape Breton
  2. Demonstrate the vital importance regionally in order to support the continuation of the rail link to Sydney, Cape Breton
  3. Support efforts to ensure continuation of the rail link to Sydney, Cape Breton
  4. Secure in perpetuity the right of way of the line

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