Queen's Marque built with future storms in mind, says developer

In the wake of Dorian, the builder of the Queen's Marque — a condo under construction on the Halifax waterfront — says the building has been designed with future storms and rising sea levels in mind.

"I think what we're doing here .... is unique, but probably will be followed in the future," said Scott McCrae, the CEO of the Armour Group.

He said big storms like Hurricane Juan, a powerful storm that blew through Nova Scotia in 2003, were top of mind before he even started the $200-million project.

He said he travelled to larger cities like New York and Boston to see what developers there were doing to handle rising sea levels and storm surges, and applied those ideas to Queen's Marque.

For example, visitors will notice it's more than a metre higher than the boardwalk on the waterfront.

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McCrae said boards along the boardwalk are being dowelled into concrete to prevent them from lifting and becoming projectiles in hurricanes.

There are generators on the roof and the electrical work is above ground.

The Queen's Marque has what McCrae calls a "submarine room," a room that could be sealed off in case a storm surge causes a flood.

"We've all learned a lot, whether it be through Juan or Dorian, and hopefully we've been able to incorporate some of those things to mitigate problems in the future," McCrae said.

Anya Waite, the scientific director of the Ocean Frontier Institute, said Dorian has raised awareness about problems with Nova Scotia's infrastructure.

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Thousands of Nova Scotians are still waiting to get their electricity back and others were not able to call, text or use data on their mobile phones after the storm.

"Dorian was a wake-up call for all of us and I'm hoping that we can use that wake-up call to do something really constructive as we move forward," Waite said.

She said in terms of infrastructure, the province needs to develop a strategy moving forward.

"These are expensive issues and at the same time, take into account climate change in a reasonable way and I think that's a conversation we all need to have together," she said.