Dustin McCormick was inside her Colwood home on Wednesday morning when a loud boom had her on her feet.
“I ran outside because I wasn’t expecting it,” McCormick said. “It feels like when you’re watching a movie and there are bombs falling.”
McCormick lives near Allandale Pit at Allandale Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway. The current owner of the property on the west side of Veterans Memorial Parkway started blasting on the site on Aug. 14 in order to prepare it for development.
While McCormick said she knew blasting was going to occur due to some notices and a visit from an inspector beforehand, she didn’t realize it would shake her entire home. A motion-activated camera on her front door was activated due to it, and McCormick heard items in her garage rattle around.
“I’ve been through a couple good earthquakes here and I would say it would top those,” McCormick said of the blasting. “It just shocks you.”
After running outside her home, McCormick said she saw neighbours outside taking photographs. There was a cloud of dust or smoke in the air as well.
According to the blasting notice McCormick received, it is supposed to last up to five months.
“Each and every blast event will be seismically monitored on currently calibrated seismographs to ensure the vibration levels on homes within the blast impact perimeter are contained within acceptable industry levels,” the notice from Little Rock Drilling and Blasting Ltd. reads.
The notice also stated prior to each blast event, 12 blasts of a horn will sound to indicate two minutes until the event. Afterwards, a 15-second all clear horn will sound. McCormick said she could hear the all-clear but did not hear the horns beforehand.
“I didn’t hear any warning signals,” McCormick said.
The notice also warned residents that animals may be affected by blast vibrations and that items inside homes could rattle. It recommended residents ensure pictures, wall hangings and delicate china and crystal are secured.
A second notice from TDM Consulting, a company that performed pre-blast and pre-construction surveys of homes nearby, said photos were taken of the homes to reduce any conflicts and speed up the repair process should houses experience any damage directly caused by the blasting process.
All property owners within 300 metres of the blasting site received notices, according to the City of Colwood.
Ingrid Thorleifson, who also lives near the site, said she heard the warning before the blasts in the morning but didn’t hear the all-clear after. She said while she understands the blasting is necessary for development, she’s worried proper procedures aren’t being followed.
“If this is the second day of blasting and this is going to go on for four months, we’re concerned,” Thorleifson said. “When it’s your own house, you’re worried about your investment.”
Mike Scott, who did the pre-blasting surveys and inspected the homes before blasting said he plans on reaching out to Little Rock Drilling & Blasting Ltd. with the residents’ concerns. The blasting company did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
“It’s very controlled,” Scott said. “It has to be with urban blasting.”
The City of Colwood says the Allandale property is significant as an “‘intended growth area.’”
“The property has outstanding potential to attract new jobs, services and amenities to the community,” the City of Colwood website reads. “Four lots have been listed for sale and the City is excited to work with the new owners when a sale is complete.”
As of right now, no development application has been received beyond site preparation so details on what’s planned for the site are not available.