Elliot Lake mall collapse inquiry to hear from roof construction experts

The Canadian Press

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. - The public inquiry into a deadly mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ont. is set to hear more details about the building's roof today.

Dave Monroe and Doug Harman, who are slated to testify, were both involved in the construction of the roof at the Algo Centre Mall.

It was the collapse of the roof that destroyed the town's commercial hub and killed two women.

The inquiry heard from a structural engineer Wednesday who said he saw evidence of shoddy workmanship from the time the mall was built in 1978.

John Kadlec said the mall was built using crooked columns and rusted steel beams.

He says he tried to bring the issues to the attention of the mall owner and architect, but says he was ignored.

"I'd never seen that many deficiencies in my life before," Kadlec told the inquiry. "I sent letters warning (the owner) about sloppy workmanship."

The discovery of off-kilter columns prompted an unusual fix in which the construction company, York Steel, anchored the building to an adjacent rock face, the probe heard.

Also Wednesday, senior commission counsel Peter Doody confirmed a Canadian Press report that the inquiry was set to take the unusual step of taking the mall's last owner to court.

Doody said the commission had instructed lawyers to seek a contempt citation against Bob Nazarian in Divisional Court for his failure to produce thousands of emails.

"It is a serious step but we are determined to obtain all the evidence that's relevant to our mandate," Doody said in an interview.

The court is expected to hear the case — which also involves Nazarian's son Levon and wife Irene — in two weeks.