Nova Scotia

Work underway to remove storm-toppled construction crane

Crews are cutting off parts of a construction crane that's been draped over the side of a Halifax building since Hurricane Dorian stormed through the region on Sept. 7.

Crews are cutting off portions of crumpled crane that is draped over building

The crane is being taken down piece by piece. (Stephanie Blanchet/Radio-Canada)

Crews are cutting off parts of a construction crane that's been draped over the front of a Halifax building since Hurricane Dorian stormed through the region last month.

The crane crumpled and collapsed Sept. 7 after Dorian landed as a post-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds. Crews worked to stabilize the crane in the weeks immediately following the storm so it wouldn't topple unexpectedly.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is overseeing the removal work. The province has said because it's a complex project with many parties involves, it's still unclear who will pay for the work

No one was available for an interview Sunday. However, David Hamilton, the project manager, gave a statement to media outside the site.

He said the plan was to remove the portion of the crane draped over the the side of the building facing South Park Street and the counterweight section that was hanging over law offices. 

"So far today, we have done work to stabilize the crane that we hadn't completed last week and we've put a platform over the law offices to protect that roof from sparks and from falling debris," he said mid-afternoon.

Harbourside Engineering Consultants and R&D Crane were hired to remove the crane. It's still not known how long it will take.

Crews are planning to remove sections of a crane that collapsed on Sept. 7. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency ordered the evacuation of some homes and businesses in the immediate vicinity of the crane collapse on Sept. 9. Nine days later, the Nova Scotia government declared a localized state of emergency

A section of South Park, a major downtown artery, has remained closed. 

On Friday, fire officials ordered 11 residents to leave additional condos in the Trillium building as a precaution. Their units had to be evacuated by this morning.

A crowd of people gathered to watch the crane dismantling in downtown Halifax on Sunday. (Stephanie Blanchet/Radio-Canada)

A small group of people gathered to watch the work on Sunday. 

Some businesses on South Park have been permitted to remain open.

Derick Honig, who co-owns the children's apparel store Twiggz, said the street closures and the lack of available parking nearby have hurt his business — interfering with deliveries and making it challenging for customers to get to the store.

He said people have to walk along a fenced sidewalk to get to his business.

"There's lots of work going on, there's giant machines," he said. "We can't even functionally or easily run our business.

"It's not impossible to get there, but there's absolutely no way people know we're open. People don't want to go to the area. They're, I believe, not encouraged to go to the area."

Honig said the business has not heard anything from the landlord. It has been receiving updates by email from the province, which have become more frequent, but Honig said there have been instances where the water was being shut off or other updates that came as a surprise. 

"The most frustrating part is that nobody can give us a real update on what the timeline is going to be for removal," he said on Friday. 

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With files from Emma Davie

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