BIRCH GROVE (NS) – SEPTEMBER 11, 2010 – The Government of Canada officially opened a new community park in Birch Grove on the remediated site of a former coal mine.
No. 21 Birch Grove is one of many former mine sites that are being remediated by Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC) as part of its ongoing responsibility for the assets and obligations of the former Cape Breton Development Corporation (CBDC). The opening of the Birch Grove Community Park is an example of ECBC’s efforts to continue CBDC’s remediation work and to establish a lasting legacy to the significant role that coal mining has played in shaping the history of Cape Breton Island.
“By transforming this former mine site into a park, our Government is enhancing community infrastructure and creating a permanent legacy to Cape Breton’s rich coal mining heritage,” said Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. “This investment demonstrates our government’s support for community economic development and projects that build on local strengths, increase economic activity and promote healthy living.”
No. 21 Birch Grove Mine operated between 1910 and 1925, producing more than
1.7 million tons of coal. It was the primary reason for the establishment of the community of Birch Grove and surrounding areas, providing employment for hundreds of individuals. The remediation, which started in 2008, is now complete and the newly created park features a walking track, pond area, outdoor skating rink, basketball court and a green space for community events. The site will be turned over to the local community and serve as a permanent legacy and tribute to the area’s coal mining past.
The remediation of No. 21 Birch Grove is part of a larger Former Mine Site Closure Program involving sites throughout the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. To help deal with the environmental impacts from decades of coal mining, Public Works and Government Services Canada was asked to be the Program project manager. Remediation work involves planning, design, implementation and monitoring activities to remediate and/or risk manage environmental liabilities. It also includes managing mine water issues and the development and implementation of a long-term maintenance and monitoring plan to ensure that long-term liabilities are dealt with in a consistent and technically sound manner.
Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation offers programs in support of economic development initiatives and is responsible for delivering ACOA’s programs on Cape Breton Island and in the Mulgrave area. On January 1, 2010 ECBC assumed responsibility for the assets and responsibilities of the former CBDC.