Lack of answers, compensation frustrates Halifax residents after crane collapse

Lack of answers, compensation frustrates Halifax residents after crane collapse

Some residents who were evacuated from their residences after a crane recently collapsed in downtown Halifax are wondering when they'll receive compensation for the time they've been forced to spend out of their homes.

Rebecca Carole has lived in the area around Spring Garden Road and South Park Street for about two years. As of Sunday, she said she and her partner had spent an additional $1,500 on accommodations and food.

"It was only a couple of days into the month, so we already paid our rent for the month, so that's two rents and we don't get to live there," Carole said from Canning, N.S.

"So, it's really getting down to the wire financially and any updates we have ever gotten back have been through news sources or friends of family."

As of Monday, the crane — which collapsed onto a building during Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 7 — is still draped over the building and crews are trying to safely remove it. It's unclear how long that will take.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Carole, who has worked on the CBC show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, outlined her concerns in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Like other evacuees, she hasn't been able to get back into her building since the evacuation, so her partner, who works in video production, hasn't been able to access his work gear.

She's been in touch with her municipal councillor, Waye Mason. She said Mason put her in contact with W.M. Fares, the developer of the Trillium building and the building under construction where the crane was operating. Some residents of the Trillium were also evacuated.

Carole said she sent her receipts in, but has not heard from the company since Wednesday.

Wadih Fares, president and CEO of W.M. Fares, confirmed to CBC News in an email on Monday the company would be helping out evacuees "as a gesture of goodwill."

But Fares did not say how much money residents would be receiving or when it would be coming.

He said his company has been working directly with "building representatives" who have provided this information directly to those affected.

"The safety of those in proximity to the site remains the top priority for all parties," Fares said.

Submitted by Rebecca Carole

Mason said he's been trying to help evacuees.

"For some folks, it's been difficult because their bills are racking up and they're not going to get any money, maybe for weeks," he said.

Adding to the difficulty, Mason said, is the time of year. With back-to-school season, there are few vacant apartments in the downtown area.

"I completely understand how frustrating it is, you know, situations like this. There really isn't any government support on a municipal, provincial or federal level that comes quick," he said.

Carole said communication with evacuees needs to be improved. The day she and her partner were evacuated, she said someone from the fire department took their contact information.

"I'm wondering why we're left out of the loop. They could do a mass email to all the evacuees and just send us maybe an update a day or if something changes, then we can know," she said.

Mason agrees communication could be improved.

"All of the people responsible for removing the crane and the timeline don't work for HRM and none of them report to us, so often I don't know more than anybody else does," he said.

Since posting about what she and her partner have been going through, Carole said she's received a lot of support.

"The outpour of help has been incredible, it's very overwhelming. Friends I haven't spoken to in years have offered to drive here and help me find a place to stay, they've offered financial aid, couches to stay," she said.

"It's been amazing and so sweet so many people are willing to help us out."