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Crane 'repeatedly left' hanging over Vancouver home caused 'considerable anxiety,' lawsuit claims

Construction cranes are seen in this undated stock image. (Shuttertstock) Construction cranes are seen in this undated stock image. (Shuttertstock)
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A Vancouver couple suffered “considerable anxiety” after a crane at a neighbouring construction site was repeatedly left dangling over their property, according to a lawsuit they filed against the developer.

The claim, filed against StreetSide Developments last week in B.C. Supreme Court, alleges the construction site on Quebec Street near 33rd Avenue encroached on the air space above the couple’s property on multiple occasions.

"The crane has been repeatedly left in a position where it swings or is suspended for several consecutive hours approximately 50 feet over the lands, posing a safety risk, causing considerable anxiety and interfering with the plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their home," the lawsuit reads.

StreetSide Developments didn't attempt to contact the neighbours to make "an overswing agreement" to give the developer permission to use the airspace above their home, according to the documents.

The plaintiffs claim they "made several attempts to contact StreetSide" in April about their safety concerns, but didn't get a response. Then, in May, they contacted the construction company's development manager to request the crane not be left hanging over their property when it's not in use.

The lawsuit says the development manager agreed the crane wouldn't be left over their home at the end of each day, saying a "crane swing agreement was in the process of being finalized."

In mid-May, StreetSide informed the neighbouring residents they "could only agree to either a reciprocal easement or a fee payment for a one-way licence agreement," the lawsuit says. Days later, the company acknowledged the crane was "illegally encroaching" on the residents' property and said it "would continue to do so," according to the documents.

"The plaintiffs reiterated their concerns regarding safety risks, and heightened anxiety with respect to the positioning of the crane," the lawsuit says, adding that by the end of May, it "became apparent" an agreement wouldn't be reached between the company and those living next to the site.

"The defendant has acted in total disregard and blatant violation of the plaintiffs' property rights," the lawsuit alleges. "Further, the continued operation of the crane with the knowledge that doing so constituted an unlawful trespass is deliberate and high-handed conduct deserving of a rebuke by the court."

In a statement sent to CTV News Vancouver on Wednesday, StreetSide said the matter was "adjourned," but has not responded to a request for clarification. In its statement, StreetSide said it has replaced the original crane with a smaller one, which it says "will not affect this homeowner."

"As community builders, we understand the importance of being good neighbours and minimizing disruptions in the community," the company said.

CTV News Vancouver has reached out to the plaintiffs' lawyer for comment on StreetSide's response. This article will be updated if a comment is received.

In filing the lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought a declaration of trespass, an injunction preventing the company from using the crane over the neighbouring property, damages for trespass and nuisance, and punitive damages.

The allegations have not been proven in court. 

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