A year after Elliot Lake mall collapse, a community that ‘can’t seem to move on’

Elliot Lake Roof Collapse 20120625

Anna Mehler Paperny and Jennifer Tryon, Global News

Heather Richer was in her van at dawn June 24, ready to drive to work before her Sunday customers trickled in.

It was only after the car was in motion that she remembered: There was no work to go to. The mall that housed her restaurant was a crumpled hulk after a crashing rooftop parking lot sent concrete slabs through two floors the previous afternoon.

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Elliot Lake mall collapse: Eastwood Mall and Peak Building Restoration

In 2010, Peak Building Restoration & General Contracting went to court claiming that Bob Nazarian and Eastwood Mall Inc., the owners of Elliot Lake’s Algo Centre Mall, owed Peak Restoration $741,157.01, having only paid part of the $ $823,657.01 bill for repairs and waterproofing to the Algo Centre’s rooftop parking lot in 2008.

(documents after the jump)

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Elliot Lake mall collapse: Partial record of Ministry of Labour visits to Algo Centre

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour has released field reports for six of its visits to Elliot Lake’s Algo Centre Mall. It isn’t clear how many other visits the ministry has made in the past.

The most recent field report, from January 2012, indicates recurrent leaking and plans by mall owner Bob Nazarian to find a permanent solution the following spring.

Elliot Lake mall collapse: A small town’s vital centre caves in

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Saturday, June 30, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ADRIAN MORROW, ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, JANE SWITZER and STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS

TORONTO and ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. — When the mines powering Elliot Lake wound down 20 years ago, the town’s mall was poised to go with them: Its tenants were leaving, its owners eager to sell and its maintenance issues well known.

But volunteers intent on keeping Elliot Lake going knew they needed a commercial centre for what they hoped to turn into a vital retirement community. They bought the mall with this in mind, and the Algo Centre, built for a far larger and more prosperous city, became the small town’s anomalous locus point.

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Elliot Lake mall collapse: As Premier promises transparency, safety records stay secret

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Friday, July 29, 2012 – Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, KAREN HOWLETT, STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS AND JANE SWITZER

TORONTO AND ELLIOT LAKE
Premier Dalton McGuinty is considering major changes to Ontario’s emergency response protocol as multiple investigations get under way in the wake of a fatal mall collapse.

But even as he promised full transparency for a grieving and frustrated community, the most basic information about who was checking to ensure Elliot Lake’s Algo Centre Mall was structurally sound, and when they last checked, remained elusive.

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Ontario’s emergency response protocols under review following Elliot Lake disaster

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Thursday, June 28, 2012 – Globe and Mail

ADAM RADWANSKI AND ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

With two bodies pulled from the wreckage of Elliot Lake’s Algo Mall, Dalton McGuinty’s government is set to begin a grim review of whether Ontario’s own emergency-response processes undermined the ultimately fruitless rescue mission.

A source in the Premier’s Office confirmed on Wednesday that the review will consider whether the specialized excavator used to dismantle the collapsed mall – four days after the crisis began – should have been brought in sooner.

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Premier faces questions over stop-and-start rescue at Elliot Lake

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ADAM RADWANSKI, ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY, STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS and JANE SWITZER

TORONTO and ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. — Ontario’s Premier acknowledges that confusion and delays in the effort to reach possible survivors of a shopping mall roof collapse have raised concerns about the province’s capacity to respond to serious emergencies.

“There will be a time for questions that need to be asked about what and when and how and why not,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday, after being asked how a race to reach potential survivors could be halted and then resumed only after his intervention.

As heavy equipment began rumbling up the highway to the Algo Mall in Elliot Lake to undertake the task of prying apart heavy concrete slabs inside an unstable structure, questions also grew as to whether clearer lines of communication and stronger leadership on the ground could have saved precious time.

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After Elliot Lake mall collapse, heartbreak and hope

Chris Young/Canadian Press

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 – Globe and Mail

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY AND STEPHEN SPENCER DAVIS

TORONTO and SUDBURY — Rescuers will try “drastic” measures to reach possible survivors in a collapsed mall, acting at the urging of the community and Ontario’s Premier after search-and-rescue operations were suspended over safety fears.

Crews who just hours earlier were pulled from the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. will have another go at the structure relying on machinery, said fire chief Paul Officer.

Officials believe there is one person dead and possibly at least one still alive in the wreckage. Reaching them could require methods that are “a little more drastic, that aren’t necessarily done in a rescue operation – or even a recovery operation,” Chief Officer told a news conference Monday evening. “And we still have to come up with that plan.”

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