The Algo Centre collapse

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Former engineer charged, seeks delay in releasing some of the official inquiry’s findings

Northern Ontario Construction News staff writer

On a Saturday in June, 2012, after decades of problems with leaking and repair attempts, part of a 12 m by 24 m rooftop parking deck segment collapsed at Elliott Lake’s Algo Centre Mall. The metal and concrete dropped through two floors into the mall, killing two people and injuring more than 20.

The tragedy devastated the small community and changed life for the approximately 11,000 or so people who live nearby.

Located north of Lake Huron in the Algoma District, Elliott Lake is midway between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie both of which are more than 100 km away. The Algo Centre Mall and its adjacent hotel employed about 250 people and became the community hub. The mall hosted community and charity events, the city’s library, many government services and was the only local shopping centre.

Following the collapse, the Ontario government announced an official inquiry, launched in March 2013. The $20 million inquiry has pulled together more than 9,000 exhibits and 40,000 pages of testimony.

Meanwhile, Ontario Provincial Police charged engineer Robert Wood – the last engineer to inspect and confirm the safety of the mall – with two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

A trial date has not yet been set. Wood’s lawyers have asked for some elements of the inquiry’s results not to be made public pending his trial, for which a date has not yet been set.

See the Elliott Lake Inquiry’s website at elliotlakeinquiry.ca.

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