Reaction to the Northern Ontario mall roof collapse
A hole in the ceiling at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., formed in February 2012. (Submitted by Nikki Lafleur)
After the rooftop parking lot collapsed at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., on Saturday, patrons and employees told journalists about problems with leaks in the mall's roof dating back years.
CBC Community member Nikki Lafleur sent us the photo above and others showing the condition of the ceiling in February 2012.
- "I would like the media to know that the people of Elliot Lake have been complaining about the state of the mall well before this happened. Pieces of the roof have been falling on shoppers for a long time. The people of Elliot Lake have been saying something like this would happen and they keep putting a band aid on it," she said.
Similar stories were told in the comments of our story from Saturday:
- "I moved to Elliot Lake about two weeks ago, and on my first trip to the mall, my husband, a journeyman carpenter, was pointing out various points in the mall where it was possible for the roof to fall in because of structural work he did not think was up to proper standards. Shocking that this happened now, so soon after!" said NthrnONLooker.
- "I have family in Elliot Lake and have been visiting for about 15 years. This roof has been leaking all that time. Roof tiles have fell in, elevators out of service for months. Everyone knew it was bad. Rusted out beams along the outer walkway. I was lucky my family was OK," said snowcat7811.
- "Both Shoppers Drug Mart and Scotiabank pulled out of the mall. Scotiabank had been forced to close because of flooding. The library just signed a new lease, despite flooding and damage to its collections. Zellers seems to constantly need buckets and pails to deal with water penetration. However, the food court area and lottery kiosk location seem to be the worst affected locations; water containers and falling ceilings all over," said Tallaght.
Other commenters spoke about the maintenance of the mall and the problems with the rooftop parking lot.
- "A flat roof supported by large iron girders held up on steel-reinforced concrete columns. Rust caused by the leaks progressively weakens the metal, and the structure eventually collapses at its weakest point. Leaks in concrete structures are easily ignored because the structure seems so massively solid, but rust may be hiding in unseen places," said Bard29.
- "So, what, they spent $120,00 on maintenance repairs? This is normal course spending. What I would be interested in is if this $120K was to plaster over cracks in existing structures to make them look good while ignoring the structural problems underneath. Make this a criminal investigation seems suitable to me. I have done enough real engineering that it sounds like at least negligence causing death is a minimum here," said dave777.
- "Having seen this mall first had a few month ago I can tell you $120,000 is a drop in the bucket for getting this building up to safety standards. It was in need of much more than just a 'facelift,'" said Northerner74.
Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to comment on or challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.
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