05/09/2013 14:22 EDT | Updated 07/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Elliot Lake mall manager didn't know about city repair order

The former maintenance manager with Eastwood Mall, owner of the now-collapsed Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, says he wasn't aware of a city order to waterproof the roof-top parking lot.

Brian England, who was in charge of the roof maintenance, told the inquiry looking into last year's fatal roof collapse that he followed a maintenance plan issued to him by the mall manager — and didn't receive any other instruction.

England was hired in 2006 as a project manager to repair the roof — the same year the city issued a notice for bylaw violations, "based on a complaint of a tenant, the public library,” said Mark Wallace, a lawyer with the Elliot Lake Inquiry.

The city ordered Eastwood Mall to waterproof the mall and hire an engineer to inspect its structural stability. But England told the commission neither of these orders was completed by the owner during his employment.

"Well at that time, I didn't know anything about it …,” he said.

But Wallace said England should have known.

"You were the guy tasked with the job of solving this particular problem."

The inquiry — which is looking into the partial roof collapse that killed two women on June 23 and the emergency response to the incident — began March 4.

'Band-Aids and duct tape'

In an interview with CBC News at the end of June last year, England said he was with Bob Nazarian, the 66-year-old Richmond Hill businessman who owns the mall, when Nazarian was told of the consequences of not doing repair work to the mall’s roof.

“The architect plain and simple told Mr. Nazarian that if he didn’t proceed with these repairs that we could find that his structure was at the point of deterioration that it possibly could collapse," England said. "It was that clear.”

England was one of five Algo Centre Mall managers since Nazarian bought the mall in 2005.

England managed the mall between 2007 and 2008.

The ex-manager said some caulking was done along the roof in 2007 to address continuing complaints about water seepage. But snowplows over that winter undid the work, and plans were made to fix the roof properly.

"We had the opportunity to do it up right, but he chose to do it on the cheap, or not at all," said England.

"The whole mall was held together with Band-Aids and duct tape."