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RCI towers near Sackville coming down

Mar 10, 2014

The shortwave towers on the Tantramar Marsh will be felled one by one beginning this week

Source: CBC News

The first of 13 towers at the former Radio Canada International site outside Sackville will be coming down this week.

After budget cuts in 2012, CBC announced that the shortwave service would end after 67 years of broadcasting around the world.

At that time, CBC said it was trying to sell the towers and land together because of the high cost to dismantle the facility.

Larry Wartman, senior manager of transmission operations for Western and Atlantic Canada for CBC, says CBC has been unsuccessful in finding a buyer.

So far over 1000 wooden poles and all of the antennas that used to stretch between the steel towers have been taken down.

"Looks a little bit bare," Wortman said. "This week what we're going to start doing is taking down the steel towers which range anywhere from 200 feet to about 450 feet so the first of those will be taken down probably tomorrow, or Wednesday."

Wortman says all of the towers have a series of guy wires at various levels of the tower connected to various anchor points on the ground.

"So what we have to do is loosen the tension on the majority of the guy wires and, similar to a lumberjack that's felling a tree, we keep the last one up and try to drop the tower in one direction."

Environmental considerations  

Wortman says with a site that's been around for nearly 70 years you never know what you will find.

An environmental study has been completed on the grounds and the towers.

Wortman says all of the towers will be disposed of in accordance with environmental guidelines.

Some will be recycled and others, which contain lead based paint, will be treated and taken to a proper facility for destruction.

"Barring any unforeseen difficulty I would say in the next three weeks they'll probably have all 13 of them removed."

Wortman says the property will be offered for sale again once the towers are gone.

He says there are a couple of parties interested in the 222 acre property.

"It's part of history it's part of the culture of the community so it's tough to take something down that served such a purpose for the country you know during the Second World War...there's just not many of them around the world anymore."

© CBC News