Nova Scotia

Province to try to recoup $2M in crane removal costs

Nova Scotia taxpayers will be paying the upfront costs of removing a construction crane that toppled during Dorian, to the tune of about $2 million.

Minister Lloyd Hines says taxpayers will be paying up front and companies will be invoiced

The remaining piece of the crane was lowered off the Olympus building at the end of October. (Communications Nova Scotia)

Nova Scotia taxpayers will be paying the upfront costs of removing a construction crane that toppled in downtown Halifax during Dorian, to the tune of about $2 million.

The crane fell on the Olympus Building, which is under construction on South Park Street, when the post-tropical storm made landfall. The province declared a localized state of emergency and the debris shut down a section of the street for nearly two months.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Lloyd Hines said the province will be invoicing the companies responsible for the crane in hopes they'll ultimately pay the costs associated with removing the crane. He said an engineering firm and another crane company have charged the province for the work. 

"We will determine where the liability lies and pursue that liability," Hines said. 

He didn't rule out taking legal action if necessary. The Department of Labour investigation into the crane collapse is ongoing. 

The crane is owned and was installed by Lead Structural Formwork Ltd. and toppled from a building belonging to the WM Fares Group.

The last big piece was lowered to the ground from the top storey of the Olympus building. (Communications Nova Scotia)

People in 21 apartment units in the neighbouring Trillium Building and several businesses were forced out due by the collapse.

So far, the province has not done any analysis on its ability to recoup the cost of the removal work. Hines said the focus has been on getting rid of the crane and ensuring people would return to their homes and businesses.

"Then we're going through the process of determining where the cost is and examining the invoices. Then, from there on, it becomes an issue for the government as a whole to determine where the recovery is," he told reporters Thursday. 

Work to remove the crane only started after the province took control of the site and oversaw the project.

"Our role here was to step in and do something that had to be done. There was no other auspices that could do it, other than government," Hines said.

With files from Jean Laroche

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