Testimony at the inquiry looking into the fatal roof collapse at the mall in Elliot Lake has raised questions about whether some at city hall put financial concerns ahead of safety.
City councillor Al Collett testified Thursday he told the city building department there were signs the building was deteriorating, just months before the fatal roof collapse.
Collett said a restaurant owner in the mall alerted him to something disturbing.
"He showed me a piece of concrete that had fallen through his ceiling tile and into his kitchen," Collett said.
Collett testified he took the concern to the chief building official in Elliot Lake, Bruce Ewald, and asked him what the city was going to do about it.
"His response to me was, ‘it's difficult, it would look very bad for the city to shut the mall down.’ My response to that, and I regret saying it now was, what are we waiting for? Somebody to die?"
Chief building official to testify
The mall remained open until June 2012, when a corroded steel beam in the roof gave way and concrete crashed down onto the floors below.
Previous evidence at the inquiry showed the city made some efforts to force permanent fixes at the Algo Centre, but there was little follow up.
The inquiry has also heard about close ties between the mall and city hall.
The Algo Centre was privately owned at the time of the roof collapse. But before that, it was owned by an economic development entity connected to the city that was created to transform the former mining town into a retirement mecca.
Chief building officials for cities are bound by municipal law to force commercial owners to fix or demolish buildings that are not watertight or structurally sound.
Chief building official, Bruce Ewald is expected to start his testimony at the inquiry on Friday.
The inquiry was established in July 2012 by the Ontario government to report on events surrounding the mall roof's collapse, and the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, as well as the injuries to others and the emergency management and response.
Hearings began March 4 and are expected to conclude with testimony from former premier Dalton McGuinty on Sept. 12.
Elliot Lake inquiry schedule of testimony:
|Witness||Dates (subject to change)|
|PART ONE - COLLAPSE|
|Fred Bauthus (second period), Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot Lake * Will only speak to the second period he acted as CAO, namely September 4, 2007 to June 8, 2010||May 16 and 21 (and 22 if necessary), 2013|
|Henrieth Laroue (McLeery), Former Mall Manager, Eastwood Mall||May 22 (and 23 if necessary), 2013 ** We will start Ms. Laroue's testimony as soon as the testimony of Mr. Bauthus is completed.|
|Al Collett, Councillor, City of Elliot Lake||May 23, 2013 ** We will start Mr. Collett's testimony on May 22 if we are done with Ms. Laroue before the end of the day on May 22.|
|Bruce Ewald, Chief Building Official, City of Elliot Lake||May 24, 2013|
|Judy McCulloch, Manager, Customer Service, Scotiabank||May 27, 2013|
|Don Denley, Former City of Elliot Lake Councillor||May 27, 2013|
|Sonia Saari, Structural Engineer, Corselab||May 28, 2013|
|Tom Turner, Former Mall Manager, Eastwood Mall||May 28, 2013|
|Panel: Hassan Saffarini, P. Eng - NORR Chris Hughes, Architect - NORR Pouria Ghods, P. Eng - Giatec Scientific Aaron Dinovitzer, P. Eng - BMT Fleet Technology||May 29 and 30, 2013|
|Rhonda Lendt (Bear), Former Mall Manager, Eastwood Mall||June 4, 2013|
|Philip Sarvinis, Engineer, Read Jones Christofferson, retained by Eastwood Mall||June 5, 2013|
|Ralph Regan, Former Inspector, Ministry of Labour||June 5, 2013|
|Tracy Patrick, Former Assistant to Robert Wood and Gregory Saunders, M.R. Wright||June 6, 2013|
|Gregory Saunders, Engineer, M.R. Wright||June 6, 2013|
|Robert Woods, M.R. Wright||June 7 and 10, 2013|
|Antoine-René Fabris, Lawyer, retained by Eastwood Mall||June 11, 2013 ** We will start Mr. Fabris' testimony on June 10 if we are done with Mr. Wood before the end of the day on June 10.|
|Rob DeBortoli, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot Lake||June 12, 2013|
|Lesley Sprague, City Clerk||June 13, 2013|
|Ed Hudson, Former Inspector, Ministry of Labour||June 13, 2013|
|Majid Milani-Nia or Jaime M. Hass, Pinchin||June 14, 2013|
|Ron McCowan, McCowan and Associates, considered purchase of Mall||June 14, 2013|
|Rick Hamilton, Mayor, City of Elliot Lake||July 8, 2013|
|Roger Jeffries, Engineer, Ministry of Labour||July 9, 2013|
|Robert Racko, Developer||July 10, 2013|
|Dale Craig, Expert, Engineer, J.L. Richards||July 10, 2013|
|Levon Nazarian, Leasing manager and real estate advisor, Eastwood Mall||Starting July 11 and continuing for the rest of the week of July 8 (and week of July 15 if necessary), 2013|
|Robert Nazarian, Owner, Eastwood Mall||Week of July 15, 2013|