10/28/2012 05:38 EDT | Updated 12/28/2012 05:12 EST

Park and sports field planned for Sydney tar ponds site in Nova Scotia

SYDNEY, N.S. - The Nova Scotia government says a park and sports field will be built as part of a project to revitalize an area where a former steel mill left behind contaminated soil in Cape Breton.

The province says $17 million in contracts have been awarded to build an outdoor stage, pedestrian bridges and trails as part of the Sydney tar ponds and coke ovens remediation project.

In 2007, the federal government and the province committed $400 million to ensure the remediation of several former Sydney steel plant properties, with work to be completed by 2014.

Nearly a century of steelmaking left behind more than a million tonnes of contaminated soil at four sites around the former steel mill.

Toxins found in the soil have since been stabilized and solidified using a mixture of cement and other materials.

As part of the project, up to $20 million has been set aside for future uses that include the development of downtown recreation areas, an entertainment venue and parking.