ELLIOT LAKE

Questions linger in Elliot Lake over why 1 person faces charges for mall collapse

In the centre of Elliot Lake, Ont., there are concrete steps leading to an abandoned piece of demolition equipment that is partly buried in a snow covered field.

'Mall leaked long before Mr. Wood even knew where Elliot Lake was,' resident says about ex-engineer's trial

Residents of Elliot Lake, Ont., Ed Eckert and Keith Moyer, want to see more people brought to justice for the deadly 2012 Algo Centre Mall collapse that killed two women. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
In the centre of Elliot Lake, Ont., there are concrete steps leading to an abandoned piece of demolition equipment that is partly buried in a snow covered field.

The property is marked by two worn out signs that used to advertise stores in the Algo Centre Mall before a part of its rooftop parking deck caved in and had to be torn down.

The June 23, 2012 collapse killed Lucie Aylwin, 37 and Doloris Perizzolo, 74. More than 20 others were injured. 

"You don't forget something like that easily," resident Kevin Moyer said pointing to where the empty lot sits. 

"The evidence is sitting across there in that big empty lot with that big piece of junk sitting on it."

Moyer was at the shopping centre just an hour before the collapse happened. Five years later, he still cannot get that day off his mind, and he has a hard time believing only one person — former engineer Robert Wood — is facing trial for the events that led to that fateful day.

Hoping other people will be brought to question

"That mall leaked long before Mr. Wood even knew where Elliot Lake was," Moyer said. 

"We're hoping that other people who were responsible are actually brought to question."

Wood is the only person criminally charged in connection to the Algo Centre Mall disaster.

He declared the building structurally sound after doing an inspection just weeks before a portion of its roof gave way. 

Wood has pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death, and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. 

His trial is taking place in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Superior Court at his request.

'Comedy of errors'

Ed Eckert made the two and a half hour drive from Elliot Lake to Sault Ste. Marie last September for the beginning of the trial to find out what was going on.

The 82-year-old wants to know why more people have not been charged in connection to the collapse, especially since Justice Paul Belanger stated that the tragedy came down to "human failure" during a public inquiry. 

"Two of our people are dead," Eckert said. 

"It was not the fault of everything. It wasn't one person. It was a comedy of errors."

Eckert and Moyer started a Change.org petition last year encouraging police and the Ontario government to reopen its case into the cave-in.

Ontario Provincial Police previously told CBC they do not anticipate laying any more charges in this case — leaving many people anxious to find out what will come of Wood's trial as it heads into closing submissions this morning.

"It's called justice," Moyer said. "Right now, there's no justice."

About the Author

Olivia Stefanovich

Reporter

Olivia Stefanovich is a network reporter for CBC News based in Toronto. She previously worked in Saskatchewan and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @CBCOlivia. Send story ideas to olivia.stefanovich@cbc.ca.