Residents worry over future of Elliot Lake mall
Algo Centre Mall was a social hub for many
People who owned businesses at the mall in Elliot Lake are meeting again with officials from the Chamber of Commerce this afternoon.
Their businesses have been in limbo since the mall roof caved in at the end of June, killing two women.
Residents in the former uranium mining town are not alone in wondering what is next for a building that has been the centre of town for decades.
Fundraising for displaced mall workers
The owner of a restaurant in Elliot Lake is holding a fundraiser on Friday.
Rob Ferrucci owns Cranky Joes in Sudbury, but he also employed 18 people at his restaurant in Elliot Lake, known as Elliot's Not Here.
The restaurant was located in the Algo Centre Mall, where the roof collapsed a couple of weeks ago.
Ferrucci said he's trying to assist his employees — and the other almost 300 others who used to work at the mall.
"Right now, what the Chamber of Commerce has said, is that we should lay off our employees and so this way they can start and try to collect unemployment if they're eligible," Ferrucci said.
"If they're not [eligible], then they're going to have to go through [the] welfare system for now."
The fundraiser will start at the Sudbury restaurant at 2 p.m. and will run until 2 a.m.
Even nearly two weeks on, the tragedy at the Algo Centre Mall remains the topic of conversation over coffee in Elliot Lake.
But longtime resident Ted Hyndman says those conversations now happen at new gathering spots.
"I mean it is gone now, so everybody congregates at Tim Hortons and McDonalds," he said.
The mall was as much a social centre as a shopping centre.
Hyndman said he expects a new mall will eventually be built — but in a different location.
Others, like Mike Marcella, hope to see a new mall on the same site.
"That’s where we kind of have to have it. It's kind of our downtown core," Marcella said. "I really can't see it being built any other place."
Debie Milne has lived in Elliot Lake for almost two decades and says most agree on one thing: they want to see the rest of the current mall demolished.
"It needs to be torn down because of the memory of it," Milne said. "Build something new and put a memorial there for the two ladies who lost their lives."
The mall remains cordoned off while several investigations are carried out, including a criminal probe.
City officials in Elliot Lake say it will be some time before the future of the mall is determined.