Collapsed mall owner chose not to fix roof, inquiry hears
Elliot Lake mall owner, Reitrement Living, had the money available to spend on fix recommended by engineering firm
The Elliot Lake public inquiry has learned the owner of the collapsed mall, Retirement Living, had the money to install a waterproof barrier in the roof of the building — but chose not to.
The general manager of Retirement Living, which bought the mall in 1999, said the company never intended to waterproof the mall's roof.
"We chose a [maintenance] plan with the deck and we stuck with it," Richard Kennealy said of the mall, which collapsed in June of 2012, killing two people and injuring dozens of others.
For nearly six years, Retirement Living chased leaks and cracks across the parking deck, filling them with caulking.
Kennealy admitted during testimony at the inquiry Thursday that Retirement Living didn't invest in any major capital project on the roof, even though engineering firm Halsall advised a waterproofing membrane system be installed — a recommendation that carried a price tag of $775,000.
Halsall told the company the investment would provide up to 25 years of protection.
Retirement Living did not take the advice, even though the company had the money to do so.
Financial records submitted to the inquiry showed that, while Retirement Living owned the mall, it spent $1.5 million on its golf course.
Kennealy insisted Retirement Living did everything it could to fix the leaks at the mall.
"We also worked on the assumption that we felt that we had a viable method for maintaining the physical structure," he said.
Previous evidence shows daily maintenance to the roof wasn't done properly.
Schedule of testimony:
|Witness Name||Dates (subject to change)|
|Blaine Nicholls, Architect, formerly with Nicholls Yallowega Bélanger||April 16, 2013|
|Richard Kennealy, General Manager, Retirement Living||April 17 and 18, 2013|
|Rhona Guertin, Comptroller, Retirement Living||April 19 and 22, 2013|
|Paul Officer, Fire Chief and Former Building Inspector and Chief Building Official, City of Elliot Lake||April 23, 2013|
|Brian McDonald, Project Manager, Construction Control||April 24, 2013|
|Troy Speck, Former Chief Administrative Officer, City of Elliot Lake||April 24 (and 25 if necessary), 2013|
|Chris Clouthier, Building Inspector, City of Elliot Lake||April 25, 2013|
|Syl Allard, Former Chief Building Official, City of Elliot Lake||April 29, 2013|
|Ralph Regan, Former Inspector, Ministry of Labour||April 30, 2013|
|Ed Hudson, Former Inspector, Ministry of Labour||April 30, 2013|
|Brian Cuthbertson, Former Manager, Zellers||May 1, 2013|
|Judy McCullough, Manager, Customer Service, Scotiabank||May 1, 2013|
|George Farkouh, Former Mayor, City of Elliot Lake||May 2 (and 7 if necessary), 2013|