Sunday, I drove through the site of the proposed Melford terminal on Canso Straight, and took photos of the now-abandoned site:If everything goes as planned, a new deep water port will be constructed at this site, consisting of a 315-acre terminal (including 60 acres of fill into the Canso Straight). The principals have announced that they expect to handle up to 150 container ships in the new port's first year of operation, carrying some 760,000 containers. Compare this to the Port of Halifax, which handles about 500,000 containers a year. Supposedly, Melford will be profiting from a projected increase in global shipping, but you don't get those kinds of numbers without taking away much of the Halifax traffic. Melford is to be fully operational by 2011, just three years from now.

In other words, this forlorn site may be the end of the Port of Halifax as we know it.

These aren't empty dreams. The $300 million Melford venture is privately funded; the owners say they've already raised about a tenth of the capital needed and construction could start as soon as next year. Additionally, Rodney MacDonald's government has proposed "twinning" highway 104 to the Canso Straight at an estimated cost of $270 million, in part to handle additional truck traffic from the new port. And last week the province approved an environmental assessment report for the project, removing the most significant bureaucratic obstacle Melford faced.

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