Canadian Underwriter

Evacuation order lifted nearly two months after crane collapse

November 6, 2019   by The Canadian Press

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HALIFAX – The last three businesses evacuated when a crane collapsed in downtown Halifax are being allowed to return to their locations, almost two months after a storm toppled it.

The final stage of the crane and debris removal from the Olympus building on South Park Street was completed on Saturday, and the state of emergency was officially lifted Monday.

A toppled building crane is draped over a new construction project in Halifax on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. A proposed class action lawsuit is looking to recover losses sustained by businesses and residential tenants displaced by the collapse of a construction crane in downtown Halifax last month during post tropical storm Dorian. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The crane collapsed on the evening of Sept. 7 amid powerful gusts from post-tropical storm Dorian as it roared into the city.

Residents can still expect some disruptions and street closures in the coming days as the municipality repairs damage to surrounding streets.

Duff Montgomerie, deputy minister of the Department of Labour, said during a news conferences the cost of the crane removal is still not known.

He also said the province won’t begin efforts to recover costs until a study by the division of occupational health and safety is completed looking into the reasons the crane collapsed.

The evacuation order displaced residents from 21 units of the nearby Trillium building and eight businesses in the area.

A proposed class action lawsuit, filed last month, says residential and business tenants of buildings affected by the collapse of the construction crane have suffered financial and psychological harm.

The named defendants, who have not yet been served by the plaintiff’s lawyer, are Halifax-based site developers W.M. Fares Architects Inc., and W.M. Fares and Associates Inc., Lead Structural Formwork Ltd., of Moncton, N.B. – the owner, operator and installer of the crane – and The Manitowoc Company Inc., the Milwaukee, Wis.-based designer of the crane.

The plaintiffs say the defendants are responsible for the losses, injuries and damage caused by the collapse, alleging they breached the applicable standard of care.

The owners of Thornbloom, a home decor shop that was evacuated, have said being forced from their premises had a “devastating” impact on their operation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2019.

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