|A look at the roof collapse at Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake including the vigil Sunday evening. (QMI Agency/Elliot Lake Standard/SHANNON QUESNEL)
ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. -- The city’s former chief building official knew the Algo Centre Mall’s roof wasn’t watertight but said his office was too short-staffed to conduct inspections unless a complaint was received.
Roger Pigeau was testifying Friday at day 13 of the inquiry into the deadly collapse of the mall’s rooftop parking lot on June 23 that killed two people and injured 22 others in this northern Ontario city.
From 1980 to 1999, Pigeau was responsible for enforcing the Ontario Building Code, property standards and various other bylaws.
Under questioning from commision counsel Mike Wallace, he said he saw leaks in the ceiling and pails to catch drips but said he thought the mall’s owner, Algoma Central Properties, was working to resolve problems and he didn’t see a reason to get involved.
“The maintenance staff always seemed diligent to deal with and fix the problems,” he said.
During his tenure, inspections were only initiated if he observed something wrong himself or if he received a complaint, because he had a small staff. There were two building inspectors, one plumbing inspector and one secretary working for him in 1980.
“I never received any complaints from tenants so I can only assume they were satisfied with repairs,” Pigeau said, before Wallace reminded him of a letter he was copied on from Elliot Lake Library board chair Janet Taylor to the mall’s manager complaining of “continuing problems” with the roof over the library, describing missing ceiling tiles, book collections covered by tarps and a floor “littered with buckets.”
Pigeau admitted the letter constituted a complaint but said the mall manager assured him the issues were being resolved.
--With files from Jordan Allard