Sudbury·Audio

Elliot Lake mall collapse victims' families react to inquiry's final report

The final report into the Elliot Lake mall collapse documented a series of failures on the part of everyone from engineers to mall owners and municipal officials — but it also provided the families of the victims with answers.

'It's exposed now for everybody to see what we have been living with for 30 years'

Rachelle and Réjean Aylwin, parents of Lucie, one of the two women who died in the 2012 Elliot Lake mall collapse, came to listen to the community hall where the Elliot Lake Inquiry commissioner's final report was released. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)
There were strong words yesterday from the Commissioner of the Elliot Lake public inquiry, Justice Paul Belanger. The CBC's Megan Thomas joined us live from Elliot Lake with some reaction from the community to what was in the inquiry's final report.

The final report into the Elliot Lake mall collapse documented a series of failures on the part of everyone from engineers to mall owners and municipal officials — but it also provided the families of the victims with answers.

Among the 1,400 pages detailing the troubled history of the mall — and shortcomings during the rescue — the commissioner addressed the question of whether one of the victims could have been saved.

A plaque commemorates the life of Lucie Aylwin, one of two women who died in the Elliot Lake mall collapse in June of 2012. (Christian Noel/Radio-Canada)
A plaque memorializes Doloris Perizzolo, one of two women who died in the Elliot Lake mall collapse in June of 2012. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)
Justice Paul Belanger concluded Lucie Aylwin probably lived for a period of time after the initial collapse, and may have even survived for up to 39 hours.

Her father Rejean Aylwin said he found it hard to believe.

“But it could happen I guess. I hope it wasn't true. I hope she died right away.”

There are also answers in the report about how so many people did so little to deal with the forever-leaking mall roof.

Some in the community said they hope more criminal charges are laid.

But the son-in-law of victim Doloris Perizzolo said he doesn't feel that way.

“What is that going to do for anybody? They are the ones who have to lay awake at night and deal with their conscience,” Darrin Latulippe said.

Criminal charges were laid earlier this year against the engineer who last inspected the mall just weeks before the collapse. Robert Wood is due back in court in Elliot Lake later this week.

In the interim, the OPP said their investigation into the mall collapse continues.

Justice Paul Belanger, the head of the inquiry into the deadly collapse of a mall in Elliot Lake, Ont., two years ago, released his final report on Wednesday. His findings cannot be used in any prosecution. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)
Latulippe said he's pleased the commissioner was so thorough in his documentation of what happened.

“It's exposed now for everybody to see what we have been living with for 30 years. And now there is no hiding it anymore. Our biggest fear was that things, as with normal politics around here is, [it] would get swept under the carpet and they would forget about us.”

Lawsuit ahead

In February, a judge approved a class action lawsuit brought by those who suffered losses in the Algo Centre Mall collapse. About 300 people and businesses are seeking damages. There are 13 defendants, including the province of Ontario, the City of Elliot Lake, and the former and current mall owners.

The judge's decision also rejected the province of Ontario's argument that it should not be a defendant, and said Ministry of Labour inspectors should be held to account.

The lawsuit was launched by Elaine and Jack Quinte, who lost their restaurant in the mall during the roof collapse.


Algoma Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha speaks with reporters following the release of the Elliot Lake Inquiry's final report Wednesday. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)
On CBC Sudbury's Morning North radio program this morning,  Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha shared his thoughts on the public inquiry in Elliot Lake and the final report that was released Wednesday.

On Mobile? Click here to listen.

This week on our report from Queen's park, we speak with the MPP for Algoma Manitoulin, Michael Mantha. He shares his thoughts on the public inquiry in Elliot Lake and the final report that was released yesterday.

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