HAZEL HILL, N.S. – A Nova Scotia cable station that relayed breaking news about the sinking of the Titanic and the end of the First World War will soon be demolished.
The former Commercial Cable building in Hazel Hill — built in 1888 and shuttered in 1962 — carried a daily average of 3,000 messages from all over the world.
A local group, the Commercial Cable Rehabilitation Society, had been working to preserve the brick building that overlooks Hazel Hill Lake, but announced three years ago it had exhausted attempts to find a sustainable use for the structure.
Barry Carroll, chief administrative officer of the District of Guysborough, says the society turned the building over to the municipality last month.
“That’s officially been done, and as a result the municipality has made the decision for safety reasons, based on engineering recommendations, that we’re going to move ahead with demolition,” said Carroll.
“Not something we had budgeted, but something that’s a necessity from a safety perspective.”
The two-and-a-half storey brick and granite structure with arched windows is one of the few surviving trans-Atlantic cable stations, according to Canada’s Historic Places website.
The building was listed in 2006 on the Historic Places register, where it is described as once being a vital link for North American newspapers and key part of communication between stock exchanges in London and New York.
The register’s “statement of significance” says workers and their families were brought from England to operate the station, and a small community built to support it.
“Hazel Hill was one of the few planned ‘white collar’ communities in North America. To support its highly educated workforce, the Commercial Cable Company not only built its employees new and stylish homes, but amenities such as a tennis court, cricket field, curling rink, and a manager’s home complete with a ballroom,” it said.
Local officials have more recently been focused on plans to become the future home of Canada’s only commercial spaceport.
In March, Maritime Launch Services Ltd. announced it has committed to establishing a launch complex in the community of Canso, a five minute drive from Hazel Hill.
The Halifax-based company, which is a joint venture of three U.S.-based firms, said it chose the area after an assessment of 14 potential locations across North America.
The facility would launch medium-sized rockets on a due south trajectory.
The area now has perhaps 500 residents, less than half its 2006 population, according to Statistics Canada.
(CJFX, The Canadian Press)