Leaking at Elliot Lake mall was obvious: former manager

Rhonda Lendt managed the mall at the time of fatal roof collapse, and lived in the hotel attached to building.

The last manager of the ill-fated Algo Centre Mall has told the Elliot Lake Inquiry that damage to drywall and ceiling tiles indicated the mall's leaking roof was not new problem.

Rhonda Lendt testified Tuesday morning that code deficiencies at the mall were a priority when she started work there, not the leaking roof.

Known as Rhonda Bear before she married, she also lived in the hotel attached to the mall at the time of the collapse, which killed two women and injured dozens of others in June of last year.

Lendt's testimony follows Monday's testimony from a Barrie businessman, who tried to buy the mall on several occasions in the years just prior to the deadly roof collapse last summer.

Ron McCowan eventually reached an agreement to purchase the mall for $5.7 million in 2011 — less than the $6.2 million owner Robert Nazarian paid when he acquired the mall from Retirement Living in 2005.

The public inquiry — established in July 2012 by the Ontario government — has been underway in Elliot Lake since March.

It was created to report on events surrounding the mall roof's collapse, the deaths of Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the injuries to others and the emergency management and response.

The hearings are expected to conclude with testimony from former premier Dalton McGuinty on Sept. 12.

Follow a live blog of the hearings from CBC Reporter Megan Thomas:

Schedule of testimony

Witness Name

Dates (subject to change)


Ron McCowan, McCowan and Associates, considered purchase of mall

June 10

Rhonda Lendt (Bear), former mall manager, Eastwood Mall

June 11

Rob DeBortoli, City of Elliot Lake CEO

June 12

Judy McCulloch, manager, customer service, Scotiabank

June 13

Jaime Hass, certified engineering technologist, Pinchin

June 14

Ed Hudson, former inspector, Ontario Ministry of Labour

June 14

Rick Hamilton, mayor, City of Elliot Lake

July 8

Antoine-René Fabris, lawyer, retained by Eastwood Mall Inc.

July 9

Lesley Sprague, clerk, City of Elliot Lake

July 10

Dale Craig, expert, engineer, J.L. Richards

July 10

Roger Jeffries, engineer, Ministry of Labour

July 11

Levon Nazarian, leasing manager and real estate adviser, Eastwood Mall

Starting July 12 and continuing the week of July 15

Robert Nazarian, owner, Eastwood Mall

Week of July 15