The Big Build — Billion-Dollar Construction in the CBRM

NSCC Marconi Downtown Campus Rendering

There is lots of talk on the street about the new construction of public buildings in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality over the next few years. Numbers are being tossed around, as well as discussions about potential shortages of skilled labour and the long-term transformation of our community.

This is the first of a series of articles, exclusively on, that will give readers insight into the largest public investment in our community in living memory. 

Although the full value of the projects is not yet known, Sydney-Whitney Pier MLA Derek Mombourquette estimates that over $1 Billion dollars will be invested in health and education infrastructure in the CBRM in the next six to seven years. 

The CBRM is the second largest municipality in Nova Scotia, and there is a need for renewal of health and education infrastructure to meet its future needs,” said Mombourquette. “The community has been expressing these needs for many years, and I am honoured to be able to work with many amazing organizations and wonderful volunteers to help get these projects over the finish line.”  

As well as the projects themselves, the articles will look at current and future labour requirements, explore training opportunities, and discuss some of the related challenges that may result from an inflow of workers - the housing supply, the need for more schools, and an increased demand for municipal services like roads, water, and waste treatment. 

But first, a list of projects currently underway:

1) Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Downtown Campus

NSCC Marconi Campus Overview

NSCC is building a new home for the Marconi campus on the Esplanade on Sydney’s waterfront. Site preparation began in July 2020 and the project is scheduled to be completed before the September 2024 semester begins. 

NSCC’s goal is to attract students from across the province to participate in a dynamic learning environment. The campus will consist of four connected buildings with an open design and totaling approximately 300,000 square feet.

The new campus will be designed and built in accordance with accessibility guidelines and LEED environmental standards, and will allow for sea rise modelling. 

The final cost is not known as each phase is being tendered in sequence as the previous phase closes. The lead contractor is a joint venture between EllisDon Construction Services and Joneljim Construction. 


2) Cape Breton Regional Hospital Expansion

Cape Breton Regional Hospital Expansion

The Emergency Department and Cancer Treatment Centre at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital are being doubled in size. As well, a new Critical Care Department will house larger Intensive Care, Coronary Care, and Intermediate Care Units will have larger rooms, more privacy, and space for families. 

Led by Lindsay Construction, the project is slated for completion in 2027. Earthwork is underway and the land is being prepared for the new foundations. 


3) Glace Bay Hospital Renovation 

The Glace Bay Hospital will see its Emergency, Cancer Centre, and Critical Care departments renovated and upgraded. 

Currently in the detailed design phase, the contractor is not yet chosen. The project is scheduled for completion in 2027.

There is no drawing available at this time. 


 4) New Waterford Community Hub

New Waterford Community Hub

The New Waterford project consists of a new health centre, a new 60-bed long term care facility, and a new school with outdoor recreation facilities to be built on the existing Breton Education Centre site. 

The contract was awarded to PCL Constructors Canada and is also expected to be finished in 2027. 

Currently, the outdoor recreation facilities are nearing completion and include a new artificial turf soccer field, tennis courts, ball hockey court, and a natural grass soccer pitch.


5) North Sydney Health Centre & Long-Term Care Facility

North Sydney Health Care Facilities

North Sydney will see a new, modern health centre and a 60-bed long-term care home built in the Northside Business Park, along with a new laundry centre which will serve all CBRM hospitals from one central location. 

The North Sydney project has also been awarded to PCL and will be completed by 2027. 

The land being cleared over the winter. Foundation work for the new laundry facility will begin in the spring


6) Downtown Sydney Fire Station

Downtown Sydney Fire Station

The fire station on the Esplanade is being demolished to make way for the NSCC campus. A new fire station is being built on a piece of land on the corner of George and Pitt Streets. 

With a budget of $4.6 million, the project is being performed by Joneljim Construction and will be finished in May of 2021.

Construction is well underway as you can see in the above photo. 

7) Other Projects

There are a number of other public and private projects that are yet to be announced, but expected to begin in the near future. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Combined with those listed above, the construction boom in the CBRM is likely to continue for at least a decade. 

Are you a Cape Breton business looking for supplier opportunities? 

Supplier Opportunities WEBINAR February 10th

Other articles in The Big Build series:

45 Drives Builds For Future Growth

New Dawn Brings New Energy to North End Sydney

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Charles Sampson Follow Me
Who is this Derek “Mum”berquette? Is he the same silent MLA who has resurfaced to seek re-election with these announcements timed for an election? The political manipulation of the electorate continues.
Charles Sampson Follow Me
Well, this invisible minister Derek “MUM”berquette has been moved AGAIN to being the Education minister. Perhaps he will consider for the high school students a unit of study on how his and previous governments have misappropriated and under funded his constituents in his riding concerning the federal Equalization transfers. Perhaps if he needs help, he could ask the members of the Nova Scotians for Equalization Fairness to present his government’s information it has not been willing to discuss with his constituents. If he is willing to inform his constituents of the years of underfunding rural Nova Scotia and the CBRM, his re-ellection chances might be improved. Working on the assumption that it is never too late to do the right thing.

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