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‘Enough is enough’: residents in Halifax’s historic Schmidtville neighbourhood fed up with blasting

Residents in historic Schmidtville neighbourhood fed up with blasting
WATCH: A group of downtown Halifax residents say they are fed up with the constant blasting at nearby construction projects. Alicia Draus reports.

Residents in the Schmidtville neighbourhood of Halifax held a protest Wednesday against the blasting taking place at the new Brenton Place development.

Residents say that blasting happens several times a day and they have had enough.

But it’s not just blasting for the Brenton Place development. Over the years, residents have had to deal with blasting from numerous developments, including the Margaretta development, which just recently ended blasting.

READ MORE: Margaretta project brings more traffic disruptions in downtown Halifax

Christopher Breckenridge lives down the street from the latest development and says residents have had enough.

“We’ve gone through all the official channels. We’ve gone to our city councillors, we’ve asked politely to the developers and we always get the same answer: they’re well within their guidelines,” he said.

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It’s those guidelines that Breckenridge said he wants to see changed.

“There’s other methods. If you’re only going down two or three storeys, you can easily jack hammer that out,” he said.

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The smaller building behind this Breton Place, they only used jackhammers and they were successful in getting through to where they needed,” he said.

Schmidtville is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the downtown, with houses between 150 and 200 years old. It was just recently designated as a heritage conservation district but residents say the blasting is now damaging their homes. They are reporting cracks and loosening of the stones in the foundation.

Breckenridge said neighbours have reported damage but nothing is being done.

“They say it’s negligible and we can’t compensate you for it,” said Breckenridge.

READ MORE: Halifax’s Schmidtville named ‘Great Neighbourhood’ by Canadian city planners

“If the city and the province wants to declare this a heritage district, they need to preserve the heritage and that’s these houses and small apartment buildings and even the large ones around here,” said area resident Judy Haiven.

The municipality has noted that to date, there have been no blasting violations at this site. Spokesperson Nick Ritcey says before any blasting, the area is evaluated by a third party, who then works with the developer to come up with a blast plan.

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“Every blast plan is different. Blast plan in older areas versus blast plan in newer areas will look different because of the age of the buildings,” said Ritcey.

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As for damage, anyone with concerns is advised by the municipality to call 311. An inspector will then go out and talk to the resident, and will review the property in comparison to a video that is recorded of homes in the area prior to blasting.

But Breckenridge says residents want to see change and an end to blasting all together because waiting for a project to end is not a solution.

“There could be more in the future. You have the old Halifax infirmary site or potentially some other nearby building being built, it’s very possible it could continue,” he said.