UPDATED: Crews to begin cutting up, dismantling collapsed Halifax crane Sunday – TheChronicleHerald.ca

UPDATED: Crews to begin cutting up, dismantling collapsed Halifax crane Sunday - TheChronicleHerald.ca
Removal of storm-toppled Halifax crane expected to start Sunday
The only real certainty is that workers are scheduled to begin removing Halifax's infamous collapsed crane on Sunday.

And that more Halifax residents are being evacuated to make way for the carnage cleanup.   

"We know this has been an extremely difficult time for those who have had their lives and business disrupted by this incident," said Lloyd Hines, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in a news release. "A significant amount of work has been completed and our team will continue to do everything they can to move this project forward quickly and safely."

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency have ordered residents in 11 additional units at the Trillium condo building to vacate the building by 6 a.m. Sunday as a necessary safety precaution, Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines said Friday.

"It depends on what we find. It's undefined territory, it's a very complex circumstance, and we really are going to take whatever time we need to take to get it done safely," he explained. "We've been very fortunate so far, from a safety perspective, and we want to continue that."

But that’s about as much detail as Hines, whose department is in charge of the cleanup, or Premier Stephen McNeil would divulge.  More than a month has passed since the crane toppled, forcing the evacuation of business owners and residential tenants. 

Neither McNeil nor Hines could offer a cost estimate associated with the crane’s removal after being hounded all week by opposition MLAs  to produce one. The province has also been unable to provide a timeline for when the cleanup might be completed.  

Hines said that the crane’s removal is weather dependent and hinted at potential factors that could hinder the cleanup.

“It depends on what we find,” said Hines.  “It’s undefined territory. It’s very complex circumstance and we really are going to take whatever time it is we need to take to get it done safely.

The city block within the boundaries of South Park Street, and bordered by Brenton Street, Brenton Place and Spring Garden Road remains under a localized state of emergency.

“We’re moving into an another phase, the first phase was to secure and stabilize the tower… and now we’re going start the actual removal which involves more equipment in the area.” 

A localized state of emergency declared on Sept. 18 remains in effect in the city block within the boundaries of South Park Street, and bordered by Brenton Street, Brenton Place and Spring Garden Road.

The crane, which fell on a building under construction during hurricane Dorian on Sept. 7, has been secured by 26 anchor points using cable, chains and structural steel.

During  Friday’s question period at Province House, Conservative MLA Allan MacMaster pressed the premier about the potential cleanup cost, pointing to 11 buildings being at risk. McNeil couldn’t answer the question, but said “we will go after insurance companies to ensure that we recoup the money that’s required.”  

The crane is owned by Lead Structural Form Ltd, while developer, Wadih Fares, owns the site. The province took on the responsibility for paying for the cleanup costs and it’s not clear if or when the developer or crane owner will have to foot the bill.

MacMaster took a shot at McNeil and the province’s  lack of transparency on the file, saying it looks weak and erodes public trust in the government. 

Harbourside Engineering Consultants and R&D Crane Operator Limited and their subcontractors, hired by the provincial government to remove the crane, are to receive protection against claims of damage that may result from their work. 

Work is expected to begin this weekend to remove a construction crane that's been draped over the side of a Halifax building since Hurricane Dorian stormed through the region on Sept. 7.

The crane crumpled and collapsed after Dorian landed as a post-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds.

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency ordered the evacuation of 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

Crews worked to stabilize the crane in the weeks immediately following the storm so it wouldn't topple unexpectedly. Now, they're ready to start the actual removal work.

"We're shooting for Sunday, but of course the big variable in anything we're doing here is the weather," Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said Friday.

As part of the crane removal work, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency has ordered the evacuation of 11 additional condos in the Trillium building as a precaution.

Residents are expected to be out of the units by 6 a.m. Sunday. Hines said the evacuation was a safety precaution.

"It's undefined territory, it's a very complex circumstance and we really are going to take whatever time it is that we need to take to get it done safely."

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