Cornwall Square Sends Memo to Stores – Calls Largest Newspaper in City Social Media Site & Acuses us of Lying MEMO

Karen Burns 1Cornwall Ontario – I was stunned when I heard about this memo distributed to staff and vendors of Cornwall Square after our story about the condition of the parking garage.   I was even more stunned when I received multiple copies of the documents.

Karen Burns, manager of the square who signed this document, clearly shows why she probably shouldn’t be managing a mall when she calls the largest newspaper in her city; with probably more actual traffic than all the other media combined, a “Social Media Site”.

Hey, we’ve been called worse.  What’s most disturbing about this memo is that she is accusing us of lying.   In nearly five years CFN has never had to print a retraction or been sued.  We ourselves have issued suit six times winning four cases with two cases before the court; because of this exact type of statement and attitude.  Nor have we ever had to print a retraction.

What Ms Burns doesn’t realize is that many that work in Cornwall Square are loyal readers of CFN; the largest newspaper in her city.  And many were shocked to see such a memo.  When I walked through the mall Tuesday several mentioned the memo and gave me copies.   They were upset not just at the slurring of their community newspaper; but the feeling that something was possibly being covered up.


What we know is that after the story hit last Friday, as Ms Burns mentions in her memo, a team of PR people and management along with an engineering firm put together document(s).    An ADVERTORIAL was published in Our Home Town whose founder is….Chris Savard; former manager of …..Cornwall Square.

A release was sent to “media partners” who then simply published excerpts of the document sent from Cornwall Square.

This is akin to when headlines blared across the Standard Freeholder declaring that Mayor Kilger was not in Conflict of Interest….because his lawyer said so….

 Elliot Lake collapse footage

Cornwall Square’s document below.

Karen Burns 2

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Calls were sent to City Hall on Friday and still have not been returned.    I spoke with one city councilor over the weekend who said they’d investigate and get back to me.  That councilor has yet to contact me.

Today I spoke with another councilor who said that he’d spoken with city staff who the councilor stated had said that all was fine at The Square.

I asked this same councilor if he had known about the four cases and counting of reported falling concrete in the parking garage, or the concrete that fell from an outer wall across from Kastner’s on First street that allegedly struck a car; or the allegations that some of the roof in the food court fell on a group of students?

The councilor said that he had not.

Nobody wants to see another Elliot Lake in Cornwall.   There seems to be a lack of accountability.    The Ministry of Labour can only investigate and ensure that workers are safe and when I spoke with a rep in our original story they seemed to infer that it was up to the City to police the mall?

Elliot Lake Timeline.

1996: A city report titled “Downtown, Core, and Industrial Area Improvements” is very critical of the overall design and aesthetic appearance of the Algo Centre Mall. Around this time, the mall begins to suffer from leaking and water problems.

2005: Bob Nazarian of Eastwood Incorporated acquires the Algo Centre Mall for $6.2 million.

2007: The owner of mall food vendor Starlight Cafe sues Eastwood Incorporated, alleging in court documents that leaks above her shop twice caused the roof to collapse, forcing her to close the business. She is ultimately awarded $11,000 in damages.

2008: Leaks continue to plague vendors at Algo Centre Mall. The Bank of Nova Scotia is forced to close its outlet for more than a week to deal with water damage. Whole sections of the Elliot Lake Public Library (located in Algo Centre) are closed to the public due to concerns over mold.

June 2008: Owner Bob Nazarian and Eastwood Incorporated announce plans to repair and renovate the roof of the Algo Centre Mall. Architect John Clinckett is retained to install a protective membrane on the roof to keep water out (which had been part of the original 1979 design for the mall) as well as add a layer of asphalt to maintain rooftop parking.

2008-2009: According to a former manager of Algo Centre Mall, Nazarian balked at the $1 million price tag of repairs and cancelled the contract. Nazarian hires contractors Peak Building Restoration to complete repairs. According to court documents, Peak completes $823, 657 of worth of work on the roof, but are paid only a small fraction of that by Nazarian.

2010: Engineering consulting firm Read Jones Christofferson Ltd. is hired to perform a feasibility study on retrofitting the mall. In court documents, the firm alleges it wasn’t paid $23,825.

2011: A section of concrete crashes through the roof of Algo Centre restaurant Hungry Jack’s. Both mall management and the city are notified, but according to a restaurant employee the city’s inspector never arrives, and nothing is heard from Algo Centre management. The restaurant is adjacent to the location of the 2012 roof collapse.

March 2012: Mall management pleads guilty in court to having sprinklers and fire alarms that failed to code. $50,000 is spent upgrading the fire-prevention systems at the mall.

May 2012: According to Rhonda Bear, manager of Algo Centre Mall, an engineering and structural study is done (a month before the deadly collapse), but fails to turn up anything.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2:19 PM: The roof of the Algo Centre mall collapses. Two cars fall through the 40-by-80-foot gap. The mall is evacuated, and two people are reported missing.

4:00 PM: Mayor Rick Hamilton declares a state of emergency.

8:00 PM: The Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team (HUSAR) is deployed to Elliot Lake to assist in rescue efforts. Included are approximately 40 police, EMS, firefighter, and public safety personnel.

Sound a little scary and sorta familiar yet?

More sadly is the apparent hesitancy of the “media partners” of Cornwall Square to investigate an official complaint lodged at City Hall against the Square’s parking garage and speak to the Ministry of Labour, and the city’s apparent silence.

Are you afraid to park in the garage at Triovest Managed Cornwall Square?

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The big question is whether the parking garage should be closed until repairs are concluded and the garage officially deemed safe by whomever is the official authority.

If there is a tragedy at this point we surely know who should be prosecuted and held accountable.   As someone posted today; there are occasional earthquakes in Cornwall.   Could the mall and parking garage withstand a good shaking in its condition?

Should the Parking Garage at Cornwall Square be Closed Until Repairs are Complete?

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What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.   And what is it with these folks that can’t accept that CFN is a Newspaper?   There are thousands of Online Newspapers in existence now and some of them are much larger than print editions; many of which have shuttered and are only online now?

Jim Moak


  1. “Should the Parking Garage at Cornwall Square be Closed Until Repairs are Complete? No my car is insured.”———-Is your life insured? Your spouse’s? Your children’s? Your neighbour’s? Your friend’s? Family?

  2. What this woman is trying to do is covering her you know what in this matter and she knows very well what is going on. Tenants in Cornwall Square are {MODERATED} and they don’t want to see their customers go away from there while they are still there but people are starting to see how dangerous these places pose. If things are not brought up to date and repaired it falls. Someone is going to get badly hurt or killed because of negligence on the part of the corporation that owns Cornwall Square and then the lawsuits start but you cannot bring back the dead. Like all of Cornwall it is one big cover up after another. Here in Ottawa a lot of the malls are coming apart and building individual stores on the lots which are a lot safer and a lot better. The big malls will not exist later on and we only have a few of them left. All you see in the big malls are gangs and that is one of the reasons for doing away with those ugly things.

  3. People are fried now a days. Everyone thinks everything’s a big conspiracy and she and he is hiding this and that. Wake up people, if something went really bad here you think their ass is covered? Well no it would be an even worse situation for them and probably a law suit or even a criminal charge. You guys act like they did nothing at all and are doing nothing at all. They installed poles for support all around(If you actually read their letter you would see that it’s temporary and they will indeed be fixing the rest but again if you can read the letter they sent you, it says that they are figuring out the best way to fix this. There could be lots of complications right now like getting the workers, getting the money to fix it…. Not to mention all the resources getting used on the bridge) There’s a saying Rom wasn’t built in one day. Also everyone’s so scared so they keep using it? I would also like to know everyone’s background in building structures and where you got your degree. Oh wait no one here’s an expert… Pretty sad that you need someone to tell you what to do, you think it’s not safe no big deal don’t use it. You can’t say people don’t know because like you said you made your assumptions just by looking at it, so everyone knows it’s under repair and many still park there. It be like if I told you my roof is about to collapse but I tell you can still park there, then you park there because I told you so, but you see my roof about to collapse but you go ahead because I told you to, even though you knew it wasn’t safe. People need to start using their brains instead of blaming others.

  4. Cornwall Square Parking garage should be closed off to parking til it is repaired or replaced,it is that simple it is unsafe,an eye sore,depriving stores inside of potential business.This is a black eye for city mayor & council for turning a blind eye to this potential threat to life & limb.I have chosen to buy more on-line & in Ottawa or sometimes Kingston. These safety issues are fact not opinions,but I must be lying too & just about anyone I ask!!!

  5. @Shiremaid…your comment suggests that you didn’t have time to think it through properly before you hit the key pad. Why should I bother to look both ways before I cross the street, I have life insurance ? Yes responsible people have adequate insurance for their vehicles, possessions and their very lives. Insurance does not bring people back from the dead, nor does it reverse permanent physical disabilities.

    Unlike the Elliott Lake situation everything maybe perfectly safe with the Cornwall Square. Unlike other communities no public officials or persons entrusted with the public safety in Cornwall would ever lie to us or attempt to conceal the truth. Personally the temporary reinforcements in place at the Cornwall Square for me red flag a problem that does not have the outward appearance of being rectified anytime soon.

    The release by Ms Burns could have come much sooner than it did and been proactive rather than reactive but management capabilities are not a constant. Communication of the nature of the reasons for the undo delays in rectifying the situations concerning the parking garage and the pedestrian walkways could have alleviated speculation. Speculation that now Ms Burns is taking exception to but could have possibly avoided had her skill set been more rounded.

    Perception is not everything, no doubt. Weighing on the side of caution to some is a form of extremism, fine.
    When the repairs are finished completely and business has returned to normal I shall consider the Cornwall Square as a possible shopping destination. Until then I will continue to enjoy the shopping experience at locations that I am more comfortable with.

    Good luck Ms Burns please feel free, now that you have found your voice, to continue to update the community at large regarding the “complex engineering projects” that will be completed sometime in the future.

  6. She has alerts set up to monitor emails pertaining to Cornwall Square? She must be with the Obamas to have such sleuthy tech guys.
    The only thing complicated about the projects is that they don’t have any money. Do they invest with Gilles Latour? Maybe the mall bought too many shares in Senator’s seats. And by Senator’s, I mean the awful hockey team . Go Habitants.

  7. @David Oldham

  8. @David Oldham
    Let’s talk about something known as “risk management”

    it’s a very important concept that everyone should be familiar with and how it applies to issues such as this.

  9. I think Karen has a valid concern and though you may not like what I am about to say it is quite accurate.

    Is anyone here a structural or civil engineer? Has anyone here ever spoken to soomebody familiar with structural engineering?

    Yep it looks pretty unstable but I think you should verify your story with a qualified person before putting it to print What I read above prety much validates what Karen says about writing your opinion not based on facts.

    That being said keep up the good work

  10. Mr. David Oldman you are from Ottawa. One day if you have any spare time if you want to go to St. Laurent Shopping Centre and look at the Parking Garage and that goes for others here as well. The corporation that owns it has been working on that garage ever since we have been here if not before. There are those steel metal bars holding parts as they work on that thing. People are parking their cars there and a lot are parking in the lots instead which is what we do.
    Whoever this manager is at Cornwall Square should have had a structural engineer in a long time ago and those things should be looked at on a yearly basis. If something dreadful happens watch out no amount of insurance will bring back the dead or someone who would become totally disabled. Jamie did the right thing at reporting the problems with the parking garage. We do not have to be structural engineers to see that there is a problem and one that must be dealt with. Yes I sure can understand about not having enough workers to deal with the problems and the same thing is happening here in Ottawa – we need skilled workers badly and can’t get them. A lot of the workers are from Québec and they are working in construction all over Ottawa. These are the people in very great demand. Again a structural engineer must be called in and work must be done now on that parking garage. There is no time to waste when it comes to safety.

  11. @Hailey…didn’t you know that engineers are as useful as “teats on a boar”? When I tried to challenge this statement, admin didn’t allow my comments. I’m not sure why. There was nothing malicious or profane in it. Perhaps you could post it now Admin?

  12. Please consider the role of certified engineers in Algo Mall collapse in Elliot Lake:
    – Engineer John Kadlec (made mistakes with design of the mall’s parking deck)
    – Engineer Paul Meyer (said it met Ontario Building Code standards)
    – Engineer Robert Wood (gave a thumbs-up to the mall’s leaky parking deck)
    – Engineers Gregory Saunders and Robert Wood (inspected the building 2 months before collapse)

    But of course when you consider it is the engineers that are still alive, and it’s a couple of people that may or may not have finished highschool that are dead… well then yeah, you’d have to say it’s safer to stick with the engineers.

    And as far as mall owners/operators go… well, in the case of the Algo Centre Mall’s owner Bob Nazarian, he asked (and got) engineer Robert Wood to change or omit details about the condition of the mall from the inspection report — circumventing the arduous task of buying ad space from “media partners” and encouraging their tenants to behave like “sheople”.

    Friends and neighbours, please be prudent and stay away.

  13. Close the blasted thing down. This town is full of LIARS….the poof is right there and you can tell just by looking at the damn thing!!!! Everyone here is about money before anything else. SHAME!!!!!

  14. An engineering degree entails four years of university education. Upon graduation, an engineer is not an expert in anything. It takes years of working in a particular narrow field to become an expert. For example, I have an electrical engineering degree, and I don’t have a clue about large scale power transmission or production. I know electrical engineers who wouldn’t have any idea of how to wire a house, or sort out an electrical problem in a car. All fields of engineering are very specialized. The degree means next to nothing in itself until the engineer gets years of experience in a particular field.

  15. As I’ve always said, a degree is a sign of accomplishment not necessarily capability.

  16. Furtz you are absolutely right indeed about engineering being entirely different in different fields and that is great Furtz I never knew that you had that kind of an education. Like I said to you before when we are on line and we don’t know one another personally we do not know how to interact and I am a funny person but in general I try to keep serious.

    Engineers like anybody else are often bribed. I have heard stories coming out of my husband and others how people are bribed right here in Ottawa let alone things that go on in tiny Cornwall. When the buck passes hands then people think that all will be ok until something bad happens. I don’t think that the garage was ever inspected until lately and it would be a good idea to park elsewhere. You can continue to shop at the mall but park your car somewhere else and be safe. That woman who is manager of the mall is trying to be quiet because otherwise there would be no patrons to the mall but at the same time she is also risking people lives.

    As for Bare Ass that is a lost cause and only looks after himself as we have all seen. When the election comes up boot all the bums out. It is the responsibility of the owners of the mall to keep that place up in tip top shape. Tenants are there to pay rent and report things that are not in good order but are not responsible for the upkeep like an owner has.

  17. Now peoples you are in my profession. You cannot blame an engineer alone for building fail. A engineer or technologist is governed by so many standards and certifications that you cannot take a breath without choking on at least one.
    No I am no engineer but I am governed by the same standards they are.

    Most failure is money and nothing more.
    Clients do not want to spend the money. The engineer s then governed by just that the almighty dollar. Not many would take the chance of being responsible as the consequences are very severe. You should be certain if the documents were stamped by the engineer prior to turning over for construction and you really need to see if the simpleton pouring and mixing concrete used the proper aggregate.

    Do you think an engineering company would stand behind their engineer in a situation such as this? Not likely and that is money as well. With clients and contracts dropping by the wayside they too will do whatever it takes to remain in business?

    I have always held that you can easily tell an engineer but you can’t tell them much…but working from the inside I can assure you the blame lies deeper then on the profession.

    As for the Cornwall Square…has anyone seen a document frm an engineer to confirm what is being stated?

  18. Furtz my sister in law in Beirut’s deceased husband was an electrical contractor and engineers would contact him when they needed his advice on things of wiring the airport, etc. Like you said that engineers have their own specialty and that is the truth. George wired the airport and he did work for other people in his field but an engineer has each their own specialty. It is something like a doctor that each one specializes in different fields of study and an MD will send their patients to different specialists for different ailments. The same with a car that takes a mechanic to figure out the problem especially today’s vehicles that are so electronic. Again you are absolutely right in what you said.

  19. CFN may have more unique visitors per month than the mall does(?) Mall management should be paying attention to public perception. Isn’t that the most important thing its PR company should be stressing? Perception is reality. Management can’t afford to take any risk and who is going to put their neck on the line and say there’s zero?

  20. @ Reg. You are correct. A degree or diploma is indeed an accomplishment. But the real learning and knowledge comes from working in whatever field you’ve chosen.

  21. Well stated Furtz . It actually at the same time demonstrates the significant difference between a university degree and a college diploma.

  22. Hailey was right about the different kinds of cement and that is so true indeed. Not every kind of cement works for everything. There are people who have college instead of university and they have a good knowledge of the practical sides of things like eg. home inspection and what to look for or as a computer technician and they are different to the engineering side of things and each one has their own specialty. Like Furtz said that it takes years to master ones specialty and how very true that is. There was a lady on a website for a hobby that I shared with her and others and she was an electrical engineer on the military ships in the US. She was a very smart cookie indeed but that was her specialty.

    If any of you are ever in Ottawa go to St. Laurent Shopping Centre and you will see some steel structures holding things up at the parking garage below and there are men who are working on that since a long time and yes it is very expensive. Most big malls are coming down and making them as individual stores. The gangs are a mighty big problem and cops are having a very hard time as well as the people. A lot of people do not want to shop in such places and nor do we.

  23. Ok if WE look past the “Valley Girl” talk from Mall manager///// “don’t like on JAMIE or CFN on facebook”
    jumpin jezz whether its the PM stevie harper or this lady running the mall
    all they seem to care about is Message Management…not the truth or the facts
    Maybe ms the best interest of Cornwall Square…could get MP Guy Lauzon
    down to hand out a cheque or cut a ribbon which should make everything all Better
    HIre a PR firm..yes sir…we got our priorities straight
    Note to MS Burns…if you don’t want bad press…stop mass mailings BASED ON YOUR Personal opinion
    Try talking from the heart based on whats best for CORNWALL

  24. Author

    Yes, Ms Burns should run her business more businesslike… Media partners indeed….

  25. Jules
    You miss the point regarding the cement. Yes there is different grades but I was referring to whomever mixed the cement. It is more than mud and rocks. You have no idea how many “could have been’s” exist.

    When this building was erected we had different standards for construction and materials.

    Take maintenance
    How has the environmentally safe changes to controlling ice and general cleaning effected the structure.
    How about all our clean fuels cars now so commonly burn.

    How does it all affect the older material?

    Environmentally safe you believe * lil chuckle* that term only means as acceptable as today’s standards allow and no more.

    It’s ok to be concerned but do some research before coming to a conclusion and especially for blaming someone

  26. I was once told by a friend d of mine that an expert is defined this way . X is a unknown quantity and a spurt (spert) is a drip under pressure kinda looses something when typed into words but you get the Idea.

  27. No worker, tradesperson, or professional is being discounted out of hand… it’s just that commonsense, experience and good judgement would lead a reasonable person to see that the Cornwall Square parking structure is disintegrating, and is not safe. (

    And recent history tells us that misplaced faith is deadly. (see video in the above article)

  28. Hailey I don’t know what year that Cornwall Square was built since I was living in Ottawa at the time but I do think that construction materials in those days was different to today – my meaning is that today they might have built it differently maybe using better materials. You do make a lot of sense and I don’t dispute that at all. I do believe that there are a lot of problems at the Square and that it should be looked into by a very well qualified engineer. Like Furtz said which is absolutely true is that not every engineer is really qualified and that it takes many years to really know ones profession or trade. I believe that the parking garage should be closed off until there is an expert that comes in to look things over and that the work gets done so as nobody gets killed or badly hurt. Contractors have been working on the St. Laurent Shopping Centre parking garage since the time we moved back to Ottawa and maybe even before since it was in bad condition. There are still some supports on the lower level and contractors are still working on it. Another important things is the walkway overhead just like here in Ottawa as well.

  29. I saw the pictures that Simon posted and one thing good is at least there are some of those metal type of pillars that show that the parking garage and the walk over are in need of extensive repair from what I see. If people would park their cars somewhere else in the meantime and can continue to use the plaza itself then that is a better idea then nobody would get hurt. When you see these metal pillars holding things up it is a kind of a notice not to use the facilities until all that is repaired and I can say that it is going to cost a great deal of money. Malls are coming apart here in Ottawa and making individual stores like a mall on one floor but without connections. Each store looks after itself and all individual. No escalators at all nor elevators to worry about. No gangs inside those stores either. I saw today the way they made the new Food Basics here and one door on the Walkley side only and the Heron Rd. side will be closed off. There is too much theft and something has to be done. With the economy getting a great deal worse something has to be done. Maybe with the time or maybe even sooner the Square may have to come down as well. When the owners see the cost of things then this may be what they might decide.

  30. Anyone going into or parking in that building has to have a few bricks short of a load, or has some kind of death-wish. It doesn’t matter what any number of engineers (so called experts) say. Use your own eyes. If it looks dangerous, it probably is. As much as I hate, and don’s shop at big box stores, I must admit that their parking lots are reasonably safe.

  31. Check out the videos on about the Elliot Lake Mall disaster. It will give you all some ideas. I just went on one video about what happened. In the past construction was different and a scary thing is when earthquakes hit and that will happen and what happens to malls, buildings, etc. It is good to check out what happened in Elliott Lake to have an idea of what can happen in Cornwall if the parking and the walk way is not fixed. This is a great concern and must be looked into and not overlooked.

  32. I agree with Furtz where if you park in that parking at the Square it is your own responsibility and you see the metal rods that are there for very good reason and they are there to help support the concrete slabs until the owners get in people to repair it or take it down. It is mighty expensive to repair but the owners will take the cheapest way possible whether to repair or tear it down. I sure wouldn’t park in that parking anymore.

  33. When a person goes to university to study example engineering, nursing, medicine, etc. you get the basics (a general course of study) but the real thing is when you go into the working world and have to apply that knowledge and people find out that so much that they took in school is so different to what they learn on the job. That goes for all jobs where you learn something all the time. It takes years to really be a good engineer or a good doctor, etc. There was a man in my building ten years ago when we came to Ottawa and he had two masters university degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering from the university and was looking for work. He plastered his car (literally) with his qualifications along with his phone number looking for work. When we saw that we became discouraged on the situation of Ottawa back then. Well my daughter was working the night shift 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and did that for a whole year and that was how we saw the man’s car in the garage in that kind of a state. You get depressed seeing a man with masters degrees in the engineering and wondered “my God what is happening here”. Lately my daughter sees engineering jobs by the dozens in the agencies and those agencies are all temporary employment and the government is not telling the people the truth about the real situation of Canada. Well the same holds true about a lot of the infrastructure where we are not told the real truth and so much is hidden and if the company that owns the property at Cornwall Square really has the money to repair it or dismantle it. In the meantime someone can get badly hurt or killed and then what. It isn’t the fact that a person should have life insurance but it is the responsibility of the company that owns Cornwall Square that they can be sued. It is also the responsibility of people to have a good sense in their heads and not use the parking garage nor the walk way on top. It is only common sense. If a person is going to get badly hurt or killed no amount of insurance is going to bring that person back to the way they were.

  34. since learning of the degredation occurring at cornwall square of their parking garage, i have refused to venture anywhere near the site, that means its stores as well. if the parking garage is in this state of disrepair consider what the concrete behind the facades looks like. it was built at the same time by the same companies using the same materials if i remember correctly. i would be more concerned with my health than that of financial gain. what good is a paycheck if your crushed under rubble? i’m not a learned man but i am also not unintelligent, i am smart enough to stay away from disaster waiting to happen and i will continue to do so as well as forewarn those who chose to attend those places. i definitely would not want to be withdrawing money from the TD ATM when all hell breaks loose

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