Residents of Halifax street irked by months of noisy jackhammering

·3 min read

Residents of a normally quiet Halifax street say they've had enough.

For several months, an excavator has been jackhammering at rocks to clear the way for a new house to be built on Armshore Drive near the Armdale Roundabout.

"The noise started around the end of May and we were told in the beginning that it was only going to be about three weeks," said Adriana Dolnyckyj, whose home is about 15 metres from the work site.

"It's been going on for about 10 hours a day. It's just been going on and on and on and there seems like there is no end in sight."

Like many people on the street, Dolnyckyj is working from home during the pandemic.

"It's constant pneumatic jackhammering with an excavator and it's not just the noise that irritates you but it's also the constant vibrations through our house."

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

Adrienne Power's house sits next to the site.

She's had rocks fly up against her house and land on her deck.

After a recent visit from a provincial labour inspector, the contractors at the site built a fence between the properties and attached it to her house.

"The fence was put in about a week and a half ago," said Power, who bought her house this summer. "There was some communication on the fence but definitely not about attaching it to the side of my house."

Power said she's had enough of the constant noise right outside her door.

Halifax police were called on Remembrance Day when a subcontractor began jackhammering shortly after 7 a.m., two hours earlier than when they were allowed to start that day.

Viking Ventures, the company that will eventually build a house on the property, say its subcontractors have abided by HRM noise bylaws except for that one day.

Mike MacArthur, owner of Viking Ventures, says the amount of rock at the site was unexpected.

Power and Dolnyckyj were surprised to find the company didn't need any permits to begin working on the site.

"We were told it's considered landscaping," said Power. "Everything that is being done here does not require any kind of building permit."

Power said she has called the municipality several times to complain but the jackhammering drags on.


The HRM councillor for the area has also heard the residents complaints.

"Until they actually start pouring their footings and foundation they don't need any permit," said Shawn Cleary, who represents Halifax West Armdale. "Site prep is considered landscaping and this is a gap in the construction and noise bylaws because really this kind of thing shouldn't be going on for as long as it has."

Cleary said he plans to propose changes so residents won't have to deal with long-term noise while a home site is being prepared.

Part of the problem is the excavator at the site isn't big enough to deal with the thick rock in a timely fashion.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

Armshore Drive is a short, dead-end street connected to Herring Cove Road by a small bridge over a brook. Bigger machines can not pass over the bridge.

"We just want to make sure that somebody is paying attention," said Dolnyckyj. "We understand there are extenuating circumstances and nobody could have predicted something like this but it's happening and we want to know what we can do about it so it doesn't happen to somebody else."

Patience is running thin for the residents who live near the work site.

The home builder said the end of the jackhammering is in sight but couldn't say when it will end.