ELLIOT LAKE — For many Elliot Lakers, the fact that 10 years have now passed since the tragic collapse of the Algo Centre Mall will seem remarkable, a sad memory from the past.
Mayor Dan Marchisella will lead a ceremony at the Mall Memorial to honour the two women who perished in the collapse Thursday, June 23, at 11 a.m.
That will be 10 years to the day after the roof of the mall that stood at 151 Ontario Ave. caved in, killing two and injuring some two dozen other people.
The stark details of the event were spelled out in news reports in the hours, days and weeks that followed the collapse and, more than a year later, through the testimony of civic officials, experts of all types and those who were charged with conducting the investigation at the subsequent inquiry called to look into it.
The search for survivors was called off two days after the roof fell in despite the fact rescuers saw signs of life in the rubble that morning. Then, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty soon overruled that decision, ordering the search to continue.
Darrin Latullipe and Teresa Perizzolo, whose mother and mother-in-law, Doloris Perizzolo, 74, was killed in the tragic accident, have never attended the memorial ceremonies held annually on the shores of Horne Lake adjacent to the water feature installed in the lake.
This year will be no different.
Of the collapse and the subsequent investigation and hearing, Darrin says, "We knew it was coming. Nobody knows the life I've lived, the things I’ve seen."
The following is a written statement he and his wife issued on the 10th anniversary, in its entirety.
"Over the last 10 years, the only thing that has changed is that the lump under the city's carpet has gotten a lot bigger. "The grief, anger and disbelief never go away. We appreciated all the thoughts and prayers from the people of Elliot Lake that feel the same way we do.
"The fact that no one has ever been held accountable for their blatant disregard and negligence. Even after all the money that was spent on the inquiry and all the hidden information and evidence of corruption Justice Belanger and his team of experts brought to light. It's still like a slap in the face!
"My wife Teresa and I have lived here for over 54 years. We knew what would happen. Everyone at city hall and everyone in town knew something catastrophic would happen.
"It wasn't called ‘Algo Falls’ for no reason. But the city just swept everything under the carpet to cover their mistakes, just like all the other hidden secrets in this town.
"Not even seven years later, the city-owned Civic Centre collapsed in Feb. 2019. And the roof of the new mall leaked almost from the day it opened.
“To this day, we still feel a mix of emotions. We appreciate the remembrance ceremonies; many people have wondered why we do not attend.
"It's not that we don't appreciate the thought, but we choose to remember at the cemetery, with our mother Doloris, not the place her life was stolen from.
“Thank you, Darrin Latullipe and Teresa Perizzolo."
Also killed in the mall collapse was Lucy Aylwin, who was 37 years old. She was an employment counsellor who occasionally worked in the mall's lottery kiosk. The inquiry heard she was a generous and caring person who liked socializing.