Work will start this week on the removal of roof trusses from the collapsed portion of Elliot Lake’s Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre.
Heavy snow on the roof of the centre resulted in the southern portion of the building over the theatre to collapse on Feb. 21. The collapse forced the city to close the building on an order by the Ministry of Labour. One person received non-life threatening injuries in the collapse as the local theatre group was about to hold a dress rehearsal for a play to be staged in the theatre the following evening. The collapse happened around 6:30 p.m.
“Crews with heavy equipment will begin removal of the roof trusses and HVAC units from the collapsed portion of the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre in the coming days,” city CAO Daniel Gagnon said in a media release. “The retrieval work is being overseen by forensic engineers from the city’s insurance provider and is anticipated to take a few days.”
“As soon as this phase of work is done, an evaluation consultant from the insurer will begin work on site later in the week,” Gagnon added. “The insurance consultant will be working to table a report to council to facilitate decision making on the future of the building, likely sometime in June.”
The collapse also resulted in the city closing several other of its facilities, including the Collins Hall, municipal swimming pool building and Centennial Arena to allow for snow removal and inspection of the buildings. Both the Collins Hall and swimming pool were re-opened. The city recently learned that its arena – built in 1967 – failed a subsequent inspection and has been closed permanently. Alternatives to replace the arena are currently being considered by city staff and council.
Several artists' groups that rented space in the civic centre were allowed to enter the north portion of the building to remove art work and equipment after that portion of the building was found to be structurally sound. The city has been working with the various artist groups to find alternative spaces to rent.
“The public is asked to continue to cooperate with the (truss removal) process by refraining from accessing the site,” Gagnon said.