When the global economy nosedived in 2008, the condo market in Kelowna, British Columbia ground to a halt. Work stopped on the 21 story Lucaya development near the waterfront. Left behind were a concrete foundation and a towering crane.
Four years later, the crane still stands. As winds shift, the crane swings around, positioning itself over the outdoor dining areas of three restaurants. Therein lies the problem and the city’s current dilemma.
Until construction on the Lucaya site stopped, a pair of ospreys had been using a nesting platform built for them in the nearby Rotary Marsh.
In spring 2009, they relocated to the much higher crane. As the crane’s arm swung in the breeze, bits of fish and osprey droppings began peppering vehicles and diners.
Business owners beneath the crane’s swinging path have had enough and are insisting the city act on the nuisance. Neighbors are also concerned about transients camping in the underground parking garage and skateboarders taking over the concrete floors.
Lucaya’s Calgary-based owners appear to have closed up shop entirely. The city has been unable to contact them so local taxpayers will likely be on the hook for taking down the crane and better securing the site.
The problem is that the ospreys have started another family. The earliest the crane can be dismantled without disturbing them is October.
So for now, the city is considering alternatives, such as dismantling the first 15 meters of the crane’s arm.
As for the ospreys, they won’t have to look for a new home until next year.
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Photo credits: Cathryn Wellner