Elevator woes at Maritime Centre prompt Labour Department investigation

Nova Scotia's Department of Labour is investigating a complaint involving an elevator at one of Halifax's tallest buildings, the Maritime Centre on Barrington Street.

The investigation follows an incident on Nov. 28, when one of the elevator cars serving the 21-storey building came to an abrupt halt. In an email distributed to tenants in the building, property manager Christine DeLong said the car performed an emergency stop due to a safety circuit engaging.

Elevators in the 42-year-old building are currently undergoing modernization, which includes the replacement of all travelling cables.

In her email, DeLong sought to reassure the hundreds of people who work in the building.

"The elevator did not drop multiple floors as suggested," she wrote. "The rate of deceleration at the 11th floor was higher than normal which would be of a concern to any passengers in the elevator, but at no time was anyone's physical safety in danger."

Unconnected to another incident

DeLong also said there's no connection between the November incident and a separate problem that occurred in September with a different elevator. She said that elevator was undergoing maintenance and testing in September and no passengers were on board.

Because of the building's height, it is served by two banks of elevators: some go between the first and 11th floors while others service floors 11 and above.

DeLong said tenants will be able to air their concerns and get more information at a town hall meeting being planned for the building's lobby.

"The incident that occurred on car #3, albeit unsettling, is not an uncommon service issue relating to this component with aged elevator systems across the country being equally susceptible."

A statement from the Labour Department, which is housed in the Maritime Centre, said the elevator in the November incident has been taken out of service.