Island Aggregates

Deer Lake, Newfoundland (Map)

Summer 2015


Driving back from Junction Brook one afternoon, I recalled a recent article about an upcoming demolition in Deer Lake. Reading that newspaper article, these buildings didn't seem interesting enough to warrant a trip on their own, but it was a nice afternoon & I was now in the area with time to spare.

I had been on this road before but these buildings looked like every other cement plant, where it's a mystery if it's in use or abandoned.

The first building wasn't very exciting. The most interesting part amongst all the broken drywall
and missing walls, was that apparently local teens had a barrel fire here at some point.

The Newfoundland Encyclopedia makes no mention of this place opening, but it closed down in 2008 and left 150 people out of work. That is a lot of working adults for a place as small as Deer Lake and the surrounding small towns/villages of Nicholsville, Cormack & Reidville.

There was some push for the provincial government to bail out Island Aggregates, but the government shot down those hopes.


I briefly entertained the idea of climbing some ladders, but my first picture isn't over-processed and the clouds really were that dark. I wasn't sure about climbing large, metal objects in such conditions.

And even though I had seen another car pull into the lot and go up a dirt hill to blaze or fool around or something, I still didn't feel comfortable making a scene in small town Newfoundland by getting my climb on.

Hurrying along to the other building, I know it rarely thunderstorms or downpours in Western Newfoundland, but these clouds were dark enough that this time it just might.

Stepping inside, I was taken aback. Someone had ramps in here. This was fine though, because I assumed they were old, dilapidated ramps.

That wasn't the case though. It looked like maybe no one had been here in a while, but the ramps were solid. They were actually impressive not just for Newfoundland, but especially for an abandoned building in small town Newfoundland. Normally around here you can go to official town skateparks & they have worse ramps than this. Who the hell was living in Deer Lake, Drew Bezanson?

It wasn't long before anger started to set in. Every autumn and throughout winter, I agonize over finding an appropriate abandoned building for building ramps (or frig, just a space to do flatground manuals). Often I think of this fish plant that's 250km (155mi) away, but after contemplating winter camping or trying to get motel deals nearby, I come away realizing the Isle aux Morts fish plant is an unreasonable solution. I then fail to think of anything else, cursing once again how poorly I match up with this place.

How can there not be one appropriate abandoned building in Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Pasadena, down the bay or across the bay?!

Well, apparently there always was an abandoned building. Whoops.

BMX graffiti.

So how long was this a ride-able sanctuary from the hell that is our winter? It closed in 2008, so maybe 3 winters could have been passable? 2012-13, 2013-14 & 2014-15? Maybe more? Fucking 'ell.

Maybe I just need to spend more time walking around Deer Lake & Stephenville? Instead of spending time snowshoeing or constantly walking the same streets of Corner Brook, I could be walking these streets and making sure nothing slips through again.

Today worked out quite well because I had my tripod, broom & camera to go film something else that failed. Of course I now had to film a clip while I was here.

Running out to my car, I conveniently pulled it right into the building as it was now pouring rain. Setting up my tripod and getting to work, the wind bent weeds into the doorway and lashing rain flooded the ground around the missing garage door. For a region that doesn't get much inclement summer weather, I was enjoying this show while also taking 1000 tries to 180 up-cab 180 to fakie-fakie nose (the quarterpipe was a little sharp in its curvature and it threw me off).

Thankfully I just cleared the age limit of the 'skatepark' and was allowed to film said clip. Phew.

As for these buildings today, the Southern Gazette reported that the cement plant portion was demolished on Tuesday Sept 1st, 2015. The two buildings had been demolished the previous day.

It was a good day for stopping at buildings that would soon go away as I also stopped at the Pasadena Recreation Centre.

I knew the plan was to demolish this building, but hearing from friends who drive by more often than I do, it was simply gone one day. Both of these friends complained about how it would have been nice if there was a final walk through, or maybe an announced demolition date in the paper.

(I see the newspaper had an article where it is casually announced that the Rec Centre would be "demolished within the next week." For people who don't pay attention to building losses, it may come as a surprise that this is just about the biggest announcement you can hope for.)

For reference, here is where the Pasadena Recreation Centre stood on 10th Avenue, right in front of the new $9.3-million Pasadena Fitness Centre.


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website

< Older Update:
Little Fogo Island


Newer Update:
Bonavista 2015 >

1 - Town issues cleanup orders on former cement plant site - The Western Star, Aug 12, 2015
2 - No aid for Deer Lake company, Taylor says - CBC Newfoundland & Labrador, May 30, 2008
3 - Contract awarded for cement plant site cleanup - The Southern Gazette, August 25, 2015
4 - Work continues on demolition of former cement plant - The Southern Gazette, Sept 2, 2015

All text & pictures on this website created by Belle River Nation are copyright Belle River Nation. Please do not reproduce without the written consent of Belle River Nation. All rights reserved.

I appreciate when people let me know I'm using punctuation wrong, making grammatical errors, using Rickyisms (malapropisms) or words incorrectly. Let me know if you see one and the next 40/poutine/coney dog is on me.