Store owners in the collapsed Algo Centre mall in Elliot Lake are in limbo. The mall has been off limits ever since part of the roof came down two weeks ago, killing two women.
Insurance claims are stalled, pending the results of several investigations. And that means the future is now uncertain for more than 30 stores and organizations.
Business owner Yves Berube said he is trying to compile a list from memory of what is inside his fashion jewelry and accessory store in the mall.
He has started to work with his insurance adjuster but said he doesn't expect he'll reopen at store at the Algo Centre Mall. The inventory will remain in the building.
"I'm not walking back in there," Berube said. "I wouldn't trust it from collapsing on my head again."
Putting pressure on province
Insurance settlements have been stalled because the future of the mall hasn't been decided, and MPP Michael Mantha said businesses can't relocate until the Algo Center Mall is condemned.
"So until that decision is made, the insurance companies are basically telling them ‘well, we can't provide you with funds for another location because your equipment is still there available to you.’"
This has business owners like Berube frustrated because he needs insurance to move forward.
"Plain and simple, I don't have $30,000 in the bank to re-open tomorrow," he said.
The mall merchants will meet every two weeks with the local Chamber of Commerce to map out plans for moving forward.
In the meantime, Mantha said he will put pressure on the provincial government to help speed-up the process.
"Unfortunately this is a process that is new to not only to the community of Elliot Lake and the business owners here ... but the entire province," Mantha said.