Work on Viewpoint Estates in Sooke is progressing. Some area residents are concerned about dust. (Kevin Laird/Sooke news Mirror)

Construction blasting, dust upsets residents

‘The dust is terrible,’ says one neighbour

Gerry Niederlinski hoses down his backyard plants and lawn furniture every day, washing off the dust kicked by the blasting operations and grading work at a nearby new home construction site in Sooke.

“The dust is terrible,” he said. “This is the time of year when people like to enjoy the outdoors and like to open their windows and doors to get fresh air. You can’t do that now.”

When the blasting started in early spring, Niederlinski said there was little dust, but since the warm, dry weather hit, he’s seen nothing but dust storms. His Rise townhouse nestled in Stonecreek Estates is covered in dust inside and out.

Niederlinski and his neighbours have complained to the District of Sooke about the blasting, which they say starts before the bylaw allows, and the plumes of dust, but little is done.

He said once a complaint is lodged, the dust will subside for a little bit only to return in a few days.

The district has acted on every complaint, said Rob Howat, director development services, adding the developer has responded to all requests for dust abatement.

The Victoria-based developer is building Viewpoint Estates, formerly known as Spiritwood, a master planned community off Rudd Road. The company is constructing 20 lots, another 123 are expected in the future.

Dust is an expected byproduct of development, Howat said, and water used for suppression will evaporate quickly on a hot, dry day.

“You can do the best you can to try to use water trucks and suppress the dust, but if it’s a hot, dry day in July, there’s only so much you can do,” he said.

Still, Niederlinski said the district should be enforcing it bylaws.

‘The bylaw states dust must be controlled. These folks made no effort to control dust.”

Howat said the developer has not broken any bylaws. “Each time they’ve been confronted with a problem, they’ve rectified it.”

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