ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. -- Wrecking crews have begun to demolish the Elliot Lake mall where two people died and around 20 were injured when part of its roof collapsed.
"It's bittersweet," Mayor Rick Hamilton said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press when asked Thursday about reaction to the work in the small northern Ontario town.
"The mall has always had a close relationship to many of the people who lived (and) who were raised here but at the same time it's a fresh start as well. It's left a lot of bad memories and by and large what I'm hearing in the street is it's high time it's been removed from the landscape of Elliot Lake."
City officials expect the work to take between 40 and 60 days.
Rob deBortoli, the town's chief administrative officer, said the demolition crew must follow strict provincial guidelines. Also, because most of the material will be recycled, workers will have to take the time to sort the debris and ensure it is sent to the right place.
"The demolition will be very controlled, meaning that the mall will be dismantled in a systematic, piece-by-piece process and there should not be any risk associated with any of the material from that site making its way out of the property," deBortoli said.
Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, were crushed by debris from the Algo Centre mall, which destroyed several of the community's small businesses when the disaster happened on June 23 of last year.
The collapse sparked a $30-million lawsuit, an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and a public inquiry, which is slated to start next month.
-- The Canadian Press