Sudbury

Elliot Lake city buildings still closed following civic centre roof collapse

Most municipal buildings continue to be closed in Elliot Lake, while crews clear snow off the roofs. This after the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre partially caved in last Thursday night.

Pool and arena expected to re-open this week, while civic centre remains closed indefinitely

The roof of the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre partially collapsed Thursday evening. Some damage can be seen on the roof's left side. (Jean-Loup Doudard/Radio-Canada)

Snow continues to be cleared off of roofs all over Elliot Lake, while officials try to figure out exactly what caused a partial cave in at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre last week.

Chief administrative officer Dan Gagnon told city council Monday night that a contractor from Barrie has been hired to help city crews shovel off the roofs of the arena, pool and Collins Hall community centre, which are all still closed.

"It's been clearly an eye opener for us and other commercial building owners in town, you can see it on the rooftops the last few days," he said.

Gagnon said the civic centre will be closed indefinitely and the engineering firm that is investigating still has "more questions than answers."

Daniel Gagnon is the chief administrative officer of Elliot Lake. (Jean-Loup Doudard/Radio-Canada)

"We have no idea when and to what degree we'll be able to re-enter the building," Gagnon told council. 

"There will be time to learn from the civic centre collapse and we will do so as transparently and accountably as possible."

The hospital in nearby Blind River is also dealing with snow concerns. Some patients have been moved out as a precaution until the roof has been cleared. 

Elliot Lake Mayor Dan Marchisella pointed out that city council ordered an assessment of all municipal buildings in 2016 and received a report in January 2017.

He said that report saw foundation work and other repairs done at the civic centre in recent years, but it didn't call for a roof replacement until 2029.

"There's a lot of rumours flying out there that city council and city staff have done nothing to protect the public. This is the reason why we order these reports," Marchisella said.

"We do the best we can."

Elliot Lake Mayor Marchisella says there are a lot of rumours flying around about the roof collapse, but the city recently did a review of the civic centre. (Erik White/CBC )

Three people were inside the auditorium when the roof collapsed, but no one was injured.

Shelley Watt Proulx from the Counselling Centre of East Algoma told council that this collapse brings about a "terrible deja vu for many in our community" who lived through the collapse of the Algo Centre mall in 2012.

She urged people to come in for help "if you had been coping well and are now experiencing some symptoms that you thought you had previously addressed."

Elliot Lake city councillor Luc Cyr said based on his own experiences after the mall collapse, sometimes the symptoms don't emerge for a few years.

"Just because you're not feeling anything now, doesn't mean you're not suffering from the affects," he said.

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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