Nova Scotia

Watch out for falling debris at Nova Centre, pedestrian warns

Leanne Hayes said something that appeared to be a brick nearly fell on her from overhead Tuesday as she walked through the Nova Centre passageway to Grafton Street. Argyle Developments, the company working on the building, said no bricks were being used Tuesday.

Leanne Hayes said something resembling a brick nearly fell on her from overhead Tuesday

Argyle Developments says it was working with insulation materials Tuesday, not bricks. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Leanne Hayes wants to warn other Halifax pedestrians who walk under the Nova Centre passageway to Grafton Street to watch out for falling debris.

Hayes sometimes walks through the passageway to get to work. She said something that appeared to be a brick fell from overhead and landed about three metres from her on Tuesday morning.

"Certainly close enough to make me jump, it startled me," said Hayes, a commissioner with the Nova Scotia Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal.

I know that at least one of them heard the brick come down and looked over, but nothing was said to me.- Leanne Hayes

Hayes wasn't hurt. She said construction workers witnessed what happened, but didn't do anything to address it.

"I know that at least one of them heard the brick come down and looked over, but nothing was said to me. Nobody apologized to me or made any other comment and I just went on my way to work. But, yeah, frightening incident nonetheless," Hayes said.

Argyle Developments denies it was a brick

Once Hayes reached her office, she said she contacted the Nova Centre through Facebook Messenger and Nova Scotia's Department of Labour and Advanced Education by email.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hayes said neither had responded.

A spokesperson for Argyle Developments, the construction company working on the Nova Centre, said no bricks were being used on the site Tuesday.

A warning sign that says 'Caution: Persons Working Overhead' greets pedestrians and drivers going through the passageway leading out to Grafton Street. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Brendan Nobes, the construction manager, said the work happening Tuesday involved insulation. He said it's possible a piece of insulation flaked off.

Nobes said Argyle Developments always has someone watching over the site for safety. There is also a caution sign that greets pedestrians and drivers going through the passageway about work happening overhead.

He said he wants to contact Hayes to apologize and ensure something like this won't happen again.

The area circled in red shows the passageway through the Nova Centre that leads to Grafton Street. (Google Maps)

Slow responses

Hayes said she received an out-of-office reply from the Labour Department indicating the person responsible for handling those incidents would be away until July 23.

"It just strikes me as amusing that there's only one person who can read an email," said Hayes.

"If there's really an emphasis on safety in this province, I would hope [email is] the best way that somebody could contact them, that somebody could have a look at it before a week or so goes by."

Leanne Hayes says she was walking underneath the passageway through the Nova Centre Tuesday morning when a piece of debris fell within three metres of her from overhead. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Labour looking into incident

The Labour Department contacted CBC News by email to say they are looking into the incident.

Nova Scotia's Department of Labour and Advanced Education is looking into the incident. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

Shannon Kerr, a spokesperson for the department, said the best ways to report an incident is by calling 1-800-952-2687 or emailing LAESafetybranch@novascotia.ca.

"Our phone line and email address allow any employee or citizen to leave a message about any workplace health and safety concerns or incidents. Each report or complaint received by the department is followed up," Kerr said.

Read more articles at CBC Nova Scotia

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.