Elliot Lake inquiry costs taxpayers $20M

CBC News has learned the public inquiry in Elliot Lake has a price tag of $20 million, higher than originally expected.

Cost of inquiry higher than original budget

CBC News has learned the public inquiry in Elliot Lake has a price tag of $20 million, which is higher than originally expected.

The Ministry of the Attorney General said a budget of $15 million was set for the inquiry, and an additional $5 million had also been put aside as a contingency fund.

The Ministry said the operational and legal costs of the inquiry are now expected to use that extra padding, bringing the total to $20 million.

The inquiry recently wrapped up in the community.

It was established in July 2012 by the Ontario government and was created to report on events surrounding the mall’s roof collapse on June 23, 2012, the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the injuries to others and the emergency management and response.

The chairperson for the Seniors Action Group of Elliot Lake, a group that acts as a municipal watchdog and received standing to participate in the inquiry, said the cost is worth it.

“Was it expensive? Darn right it was expensive,” Keith Moyer said.

Moyer said beyond the events that led to the mall roof collapse, Elliot Lake had a reputation for secretive politics.

The inquiry brought things to light, he said, such as evidence of illegal secret meetings held by city council.

“The information that came out was worth it,” he said.

‘Find solutions’

The mayor of the community said what was heard in the inquiry room may have raised some questions of trust in city hall.

“Depends on your perspective of things,” Rick Hamilton said.

“I know in my mind, it’s about trying to find solutions.”

Hamilton said the true value of the inquiry will be found in never having to deal with another situation like the Algo Centre Mall collapse.

The 2005 Cornwall inquiry into how authorities responded to long-running incidences of sexual abuse of young people cost $53 million.

The Walkerton Inquiry held in 2000, which examined the contamination of the water supply in that community, cost $9.7 million.

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