A former senior manager with Algoma Central Properties says the company considered selling the now-demolished Elliot Lake mall more than a decade ago.

On Wednesday, Robert Leistner, general manager and vice president with Algoma Central Properties, told the commission looking into the mall’s fatal roof collapse that the owner of the building didn't have a realistic option to fix the roof and eventually wanted out.


Robert Leistner, general manager and vice president with the Algo Centre Mall's original owner told the Elliot Lake Inquiry the company didn't have a realistic option for fixing the mall roof. The structure collapsed in June of 2012, killing two women and injuring dozens of others. (Supplied )

Evidence submitted at the inquiry showed Leistner knew as far back as 1991 that leaking at the mall was compromising the structural integrity of the building.

"We believed degradation was occurring and that, over time, it would affect it," Leistner said, adding he never saw a realistic option to fix the problem.

"There was no physical way we could put a membrane on that roof."

Commission lawyer Peter Doody showed several recommendations Trow Engineering made to Algoma Central to fix the roof, but Leistner said he believed, at that time, those options would further compromise the stability of the parking deck.

He wanted Trow to guarantee that the $1.5 million repair job would stop the leaking — a request Doody found hard to fathom.

"Did you really expect that a professional engineer would give you a contractual guarantee that the repair method they recommended would work?"

Algoma Central Properties eventually sold the mall to Retirement Living in 1999.

The leaks at the mall still hadn't been fixed.

Elliot Lake Inquiry schedule of testimony:

Witness Name Dates (subject to change)
Roger Pigeau, Former Chief Building Official, City of Elliot Lake March 22 and 25
Fred Bauthus, Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot Lake *Will only speak to the first period he acted as CAO, namely February 1990 to July 2000 March 26, 2013
Barbara Cloughley, Former Personnel Manager, Woolco, Former tenant of Mall March 27, 2013
Robert Leistner, Former General Manager and Vice President, Algoma Central Properties March 27-28, 2013
Warwick Perrin, President, Ontario Association of Property Standards Officer Inc. April 2, 2013
Larry Burling, Former Clerk, City of Elliot Lake April 2, 2013
Ken Snow, Former Maintenance Foreman, Algoma Central Properties and Retirement Living April 3, 2013
Paul Meyer, Structural Engineer, P. Meyer Engineering, hired by Algoma Central Properties April 4, 2013
Albert Celli, Engineer, Halsall April 5, 2013
Michael Buckley, Engineer, Halsall April 8, 2013
Jeff Truman, Engineer, Halsall April 9, 2013
Michael A. Luciw, Architect, Yallowega Bélanger April 10, 2013
Richard Quinn, Former Property Manager, Retirement Living April 11, 2013
Blaine Nicholls, Architect, formerly with Nicholls Yallowega Bélanger April 16, 2013
Richard Kennealy, General Manager, Retirement Living April 17-18, 2013
Rhona Guertin, Comptroller, Retirement Living April 19-22, 2013