LaSalle mayor stands by quality of Vollmer Complex

The Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex in LaSalle is open a day after wind nearly blew its roof off Monday.

Cracked floor, flooding, roof problems plague complex

A day after wind nearly ripped the roof off LaSalle's Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex, the town's mayor and director of culture and recreation stand behind the quality and safety of the building.

Strong winds nearly blew part of the facility's roof off Monday. A section of the roof started lifting up and flapping in the wind, which gusted at nearly 80 km/hr at one point.

Police cordoned off the area, fearing pieces of the roof would fly off with the potential to injure someone.

The building was evacuated after people inside could see daylight where the roof meets the wall.

"There were probably dozens of homes in LaSalle and Essex County that had the same problems," mayor Ken Antaya said.

The roof isn't the first problem to plague the approximately $20-million complex. When the facility first opened in 2008, one of the ice pads had to be reconstructed after a crack in the floor was found. Last year, the building was closed due to flooding.

"As far as what happened yesterday, it’s just a freak of nature – same with the flooding. It was a one-in-100-year storm," Antaya said. "I know they had problems with the floor, but it was guaranteed by contractor and replaced at no cost."

Previous flooding could cost taxpayers

The flooding, however, could end up costing the town as much as $70,000. The town is looking at ways to prevent future flooding. Staff is to report back to council later this month.

"I suspect council will opt for a permanent solution," Antaya said.

That means taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $70,000. A cheaper fix could be had for $20,000, according to Antaya.

Tuesday, the roof was secure and the town was completing a damage estimate. The town will likely have to pay for that, too, Antaya said. The town has a $25,000 insurance deductible on the building.

"I suspect it’s something the municipality will incur," Antaya said of roof repairs. "If there is more than $25,000 damage there, it’s well hidden, because I can’t see."

Town says building is safe

Antaya and Terry Fink, the town's director of culture and recreation, said the building is safe.

"There’s no risk of anyone being in danger," Fink said.

Fink said the Vollmer Complex "met all building codes during construction."

Antaya added that "no corners were cut" during construction.

"Mother Nature just dealt us a very fast hand [Monday]," Fink said.

LaSalle council has such confidence in the building and the area it voted to move the town's environmental offices and public works to land there. The town also added baseball diamonds there, too. A 5,000-seat amphitheatre is to open there this summer.

Temporary repairs were made to the Vollmer Complex late Monday night, after the wind died down.

The centre was opened to the public again Tuesday morning. Winds died down to 11 km/hr on Tuesday.