Halifax residents are used to the noon cannon going off, but now a new sound is reverberating through the city.

People and business owners near the convention centre in the city’s downtown can expect small blasts and short-term street closures five days a week over the next seven months.

“We certainly heard it. It was a little bit louder than the noon gun, but it wasn’t disruptive,” says one local resident.  

A new phase of construction started today at the site of the convention centre. Foot and car traffic was stopped before each blast and held up for about five minutes.

“So far they’ve been very communicative, and so far for us, it’s very workable,” says Wendy Friedman, the owner of a downtown clothing store.

Construction started at the site late last year but the builder only secured the blasting permit yesterday.

“There are seismographs put on buildings surrounding the site to ensure that noise and sound vibration levels are within allowable limits,” says city spokeswoman Tiffany Chase.

The blasting is scheduled to take place once or twice a day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday. There will be no blasting on weekends or holidays and the times will rotate over the next seven months.

City officials say the work will take longer because the blasts are smaller due to the fact they are taking place in a busy spot.

“Everyone understands there will be disruptions, and that’s not really a big deal, but it’s really about advanced communications,” Paul MacKinnon of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission.

“That’s really the key, is knowing what’s going to happen a little bit before it does.”

Christine Bower says the blasting is affecting sales at her restaurant. She has drafted a letter to the builder offering recommendations she believes may improve the situation.

“I think people sometimes think we are closed when the streets are closed,” says Bower. “Parking can be an issue. They’ve shut down our parking all around. It’s slowed it down significantly.”

Businesses are hoping customers will continue to find their way downtown over the next several months, despite the blasting.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl