By Chris Lewis | April 29, 2021
Blasting operations are causing concern for some residents and town councillors alike in Conception Bay South.
The blasting in question has taken place in the industrial park at the top of Fowlers Road in Chamberlains the past few weeks.
Ward 1 councillor Darrin Bent said he has spoken with some residents of Henry Place and Delta Place which are located several hundred metres from the park. The blasts themselves have been heard as far away as Kelligrews.
Bent said one senior told him she had been knocked to the ground with fear in her garden after hearing a blast on Wednesday, April 7.
“You can imagine speaking to a senior, frightened beyond belief in her own garden,” Bent said. “To say the least, (her husband) was angry because there was no notice. They were taken completely off guard.”
Bent said other residents in the area were caught unaware too.
But after looking into the matter, Bent said he found the companies involved in the blasting to not be at fault. He said they had done their due diligence in getting the proper paperwork, and had provided the right amount of notice to those in the area.
“They fired a blast that was within a regulated load, and as we all know, blasting is necessary,” Bent said.
But, therein Bent identified another problem.
“If someone in their home or in their garden can be rocked by these blasts without notice … it seems to me and many others that there are problems within the regulations,” Bent said.
The councillor said one resident, in his 80s, who had grown up as a young boy in England during WWII was especially affected. “He was traumatized by the air raids and was once again traumatized by this blast (with it) bringing back fears from his childhood,” Bent said.
A number of people have expressed concern that blasting seems to be happening more often in CBS, Bent added.
A blast on Monday, April 12 left some residents wondering whether they had just felt a blast, or an earthquake, Bent said. That blast actually took place a few kilometres east of CBS. Bent said he was made aware of it when a resident raised a concern about it with the Province.
“They were told it would be looked into, but there was no indication that anything was done wrong,” he said.
Bent said another blast will be taking place at the top of Fowler’s Road in the coming weeks, but the Town isn’t expecting any more in that area for a while after that.
“It’s time the area of notice was expanded so that nearby residents, if any, are notified. There are lots of modern ways to let people know what’s going on around them, and they should be availed of,” Bent said.
Second, he added, there should be a review of the province’s maximum charge regulations, and whether or not blasting charges need to be as high as what was felt in early to mid April. He asked for the support of his fellow council members for a review of the blasting guidelines, and for the concerns raised by residents.
“Maybe some of this can be looked at, reviewed, and updated,” Bent said. “I think it’s time to maybe send a letter off, or maybe even meet with the officials who oversee this to make sure the impacts are minimized.”
Deputy Mayor Richard Murphy, who chaired last Tuesday meeting in place of Mayor Terry French, said council will do what it can to ensure blasting is done more safely in the future.