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Province assumes liability for removal of crane toppled by hurricane


September 19, 2019   by THE CANADIAN PRESS


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HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government has declared a localized state of emergency in part of downtown Halifax in order to speed up removal of a construction crane blown down during post-tropical storm Dorian.

Labour Minister Labi Kousoulis said Wednesday the step shifts the liability for potential damage during the crane’s removal to the province.

Kousoulis said the move, which could leave taxpayers on the hook, was necessary because it was taking the building’s developer and the crane’s owner too long to get private insurance.

He said the assumption of indemnity will protect the engineering firm and the crane company that will help remove the downed crane.

A toppled building crane is draped over a new construction project in Halifax on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. Hurricane Dorian brought wind, rain and heavy seas that knocked out power across the region, left damage to buildings and trees as well as disruption to transportation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

“Essentially we’re the insurance company for those two organizations,” Kousoulis said.

He said it’s necessary to get the work done as soon as possible because some people and businesses have not been able to return to the area since the crane toppled Sept. 7.

An evacuation order for some tenants was issued by the Halifax Regional Municipality and by the city’s fire service.

The localized emergency covers a city block in the area of Cathedral Lane, Breton Street, Brenton Place and Spring Garden Road.

There’s still no word on how long it will take to remove the crane, which has caused some structural damage to parts of the construction site.

Mark Reynolds, a senior structural engineer with Harbourside Engineering Consultants Ltd., said the crane’s removal presents a challenge because almost every piece of it is damaged in some way.

Reynolds said everything needs to be secured before it’s taken apart.

“Taking one piece off will shift loads and could potentially cause further damage,” he said.