Nothing to fear from blasting, town planning director says

Brad Works
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AMHERST - Blasting bedrock to make way for construction of the new Shannex complex is safe and following regulations, town officials say.

Residents in the Willow and East Pleasant streets area were alarmed early this week when notified that blasting work was imminent but no physical safety precautions were evident.
"I was very concerned with what I knew about blasting and its effects especially living in a residential area," said Liz Sumbu, who lives nearby.
"My concern was there are homes and a high school in close proximity, no signage or blocked streets either from Willow or East Pleasant."
Sumbu added she was also concerned with carbon emissions, fragments of blasting, and damage to homes so she contacted the town, and provincial officials.
Later Tuesday, she said crews could be seen taking precautions that included fencing.
"We're 100 per cent confident they are following the regulated requirements," said Jason MacDonald, Amherst's director of planning and engineering. "I have gone through the documentation and the building inspector is up there now - they have done their pre-blast survey and are following the (Halifax Regional Municipality) blasting bylaw standards, which are stricter than the provincial regulations."
The town said the contractor on file for the project is ACL Construction. Attempts to reach officials with ACL were unsuccessful.
MacDonald said the company has erected signage and has a horn to warn passersby and neighbours when blasting is taking place. The pre-blast survey, which consists of engineers going into people's homes, included all addresses within 220 metres of the site.
MacDonald added the blasting was necessary because of what he believed to be a seam of sandstone in the area of the construction site.
bworks@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Halifax Regional Municipality

Geographic location: East Pleasant

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  • Centennial Court
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    It would have been nice for this pre-blast survey to have included all residents within close proximity of the blasts. Our homes shook with the first blast yesterday and it would have been nice to have a little more warning for residents of the community so that we could have been more prepared, and had a better idea of what to expect.

    Does anyone know how long we can expect these blasts to continue for?

  • hill boy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    at one time in my life we where told to stay on the hill now we are getting blowen off the hill what has this town come to . sure sign that we need better leadership

  • Bill
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    The pre-blast survey, which consists of engineers going into peoples homes, included all addresses within 220 metres of the site.
    I live across from the high school and can throw rocks at the blasters if i wanted to. This statement is a lie, there have been no engineers to examine my home. Oh, there goes the entire house vibrating violently from another blast.
    Maybe a reporter from this paper could come over for a coffee and see what they think?

  • lb
    January 18, 2010 - 10:44

    well if i lived witing 500 meters idd be taking lots of digital phtos of my ouside walls and basement , inside walls plaster / gyprock so when all of a suden after the big bump they cant say those cracks were alreday there , hmm those airtight windows might start leaking too if ur in the righ spot... and they will pay.... i would think it would also be hard on close by water and sewer lines as well ...

  • Lou
    January 18, 2010 - 10:41

    If this was over in Strawberry Fields or on Regent Street or Rupert Street, there wouldn't be any talk of using dynamite. Those construction types would be forced to use jackhammers and pile drivers to break up that sandstone.

    I can guarantee the town wouldn't want to endanger their tax base by suuggesting someone could come along and use dynamite to clear a building lot.

    But its up on the hill, so too bad when everyone's foundation gets cracked and their basements flood because the sewer lines have been compromised.

    Sandstone is very soft in terms of rock, unlike granite. It would be very easy to remove without using the extreme measure of dynamite.