Elliot Lake council debates rebuilding on Algo Centre Mall collapse site
Site of deadly mall collapse has been sitting empty since 2012
Five years after the Algo Centre Mall collapse, Elliot Lake city council is considering whether it should build a new community hub on the site.
The property has remained dormant ever since the shopping centre was torn down following its deadly collapse in 2012.
The building would be home to a new arena, curling rink, gym and pool. There would also be a memorial for Lucie Aylwin and Doloris Perizzolo, the two women who died when a portion of the shopping centre's rooftop parking deck fell in.
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City councillor Luc Cyr, who was at the mall when a part of its rooftop parking deck caved, said he wants to see the site repurposed.
"That is near and dear to all of our hearts because we were there the day it fell. We were there," Cyr said.
"We heard the inquiry when everybody just washed their hands from everything. We need this to wash away the past and rebuild for the future. That's where it belongs."
But not everyone thinks it's appropriate.
City councillor Connie Nykyforak is against the proposal.
"Public perception...that's where the mall collapsed," Nykyforak said. "I'm not willing to put a recreational facility on that property by any means."
Nykyforak says it may cost more than $1.5 million to buy the mall site from its current owner.
"I suggest we start looking at other sites in the community that are city owned," she said. "So that we're not in a situation of having to purchase the site from the former mall owner and [encountering] additional costs.
Mayor Dan Marchisella said leaving the mall site inaccessible for any longer would not be acceptable.
"The most responsible thing to do is to take ownership and allow access to our community once again, whether to be access to the rex plex or not," Marchisella said. "Having it closed off to community is not acceptable."
Marchisella also points to what rebuilding on the site means for the people of Elliot Lake.
"The opportunity for closure for the families and the whole community," he said.
Council is expected to debate the project further next Monday.