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Halifax dockyard blasting ‘boom’ irregularity, communication upsets residents

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WATCH ABOVE: A town hall was held Wednesday evening to hear residents' concerns about blasting at the HMC Dockyard. As Global's Steve Silva reports, several issues were raised – Nov 10, 2016

Halifax peninsula residents raised several issues Wednesday evening at a town hall about blasting at HMC Dockyard.

The blasting, which is felt for a couple of seconds or so during afternoons, is being done to construct a new jetty close to the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge.

For several weeks, residents have felt, as they call it, “the boom” for kilometres away.

“My wife asked if I had backed the car into the home by accident,” described Maguire, one of about 35 people who attended the meeting.

Department of National Defence (DND) staff hosted the event at Ward 5 Neighbourhood Centre at 6:30 p.m.

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Residents said they were upset that not everyone in the community received a letter about the event in the mail, and those who did only got the letter on Monday.

“It is disrupting people in our community, and I think, for me, not being aware of this project until weeks after it started is a big concern,” said Mary-Frances Lynch, another attendee.

“That’s where I, as base commander, have to take responsibility. I did not consider that the effects of the blast would be so widespread,” said Chris Sutherland, base commander of CFB Halifax.

He apologized to attendees several times throughout the evening and promised to improve communication, including sending letters out about similar events much earlier, regarding the project.

Sutherland has since created a Facebook group called Halifax Jetty Blasting as one way of providing updates to the community about the project.

Maguire said he was concerned about possible foundation damage to his home that appeared after the blasting started.

“I’ve noticed a crack in my ceiling in my kitchen. I’m worried about damages and then having to pay for them,” he said.

Sutherland said he was not aware of any damage to homes caused by the blasting, but “we are prepared to investigate.”

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“My understanding is, if there is confirmation that this is attributed to the work involved, then there will be discussions between the two parties as to how to resolve that,” he said, adding that reimbursement for damaged property may be a possibility.

“I live in a home 200 metres away from the blast site, and there has been no damage to my 200-year-old official residence that I reside in.”

Blasting was originally set to be completed by the end of the year, but crews are trying to finish earlier.

“Our intention is a matter of weeks, hopefully to the end of the month. Like all construction projects, it’s possible you can incur delays, but it will be very soon in any case,” Lorne Oram, a project manager for DND, said.

The blasting normally happens at around 3 p.m. Residents said they want it to happen at the same time each day. Sutherland said he would look into providing a smaller window of time for when the blasting would occur.

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