City officials are still trying to figure out how to control construction blasting in Greater Sudbury.
A shower of complaints two years ago pushed city council to call for its first blasting bylaw. But exactly how to regulate a largely unregulated industry is proving complicated.
There is a provincial standard, but Greater Sudbury building director Guido Mazza said it’s optional.
"A lot of developers and construction companies sometimes tweak the standard to make it a lot more affordable to do the work that needs to be done," he said.
Mazza said city staff members are trying to find a way to protect residents from flying rocks and cracked basements, while not driving up costs for developers or the city, which does a lot of blasting too.
As construction season hits its stride in Sudbury, industry workers like Bruce Rhude said the blasting rules the city is looking at are things his company already does — such as doing a pre-blast survey and using a seismographic monitor to make sure the vibrations aren't too strong.
"The last thing we want to do is damage a person’s home," Rhude said.
The city may lean towards tweaking existing bylaws to make sure blasters don't damage surrounding homes.
Mazza acknowledged that implementing blasting permits would drive up costs for developers and the city.
"By doing that we'd require to hire expertise, hire staff ... [and] additional red tape would be thrown into the development community," Mazza said.
The proposed blasting regulations are expected to be voted on by council by the end of the year.