Nova Scotia

Church cracks found near Halifax blasting site

A Halifax church is asking if a major construction project is contributing to the high number of cracks it's finding in its building.

St. Mary's Basillica investigates link to Nova Centre construction

St. Mary's has recently discovered several growing cracks. (CBC)

A Halifax church is asking if a major construction project is contributing to the high number of cracks it’s finding in its building.

St. Mary's Basilica on Spring Garden Road is two blocks from the Nova Centre project on Argyle Street, where crews have been blasting since January. Recent cracks have been discovered in the organ loft and other areas, and some are growing.

Aurea Sadi, a church spokeswoman, said an engineer told church officials the building is still safe to use. The engineer has yet to submit his final report on the damage.

"We've just been noticing some cracks that have grown, or some new ones that have appeared, and we're trying to figure out where they've come from," she said.

Sadi said she did not know if the blasting was to blame, but the church is investigating the possibility. "It’s something we need to take into consideration as we monitor the building and its safety."

Allan Fraser, the church organist, has been watching cracks grow on either side of an outside wall. "Now that I look at them, they weren't there before," he said.

Parts of the church date back to 1820 and so it could be normal wear and tear.

Dexter monitoring cracks

Dexter, the company blasting rocks at the Nova Centre site ahead of construction, said about a half-dozen nearby building owners have raised similar concerns since work began.

The company created an inventory of existing cracks in buildings within 500 metres of the site and put a blast meter in the church basement. Dexter said none of the new cracks have been traced to the construction.

Sadi said the blasts shake the ground. The church is talking to Dexter. "We want to make sure again that we're going through the proper channels and that we're exploring all of the options that we need to in order to make sure the cracks are taken care of," she said.

The blasting is expected to continue well into the summer.