Peel street sidewalk to stay closed
Published Monday, July 20, 2009 6:15PM EDT
The Peel street sidewalk around the Marriott hotel will remain closed for the foreseen future while provincial building inspectors and a coroner examine the scene of last Thursday's deadly accident.
A chunk of concrete peeled off the hotel's facade, and plummetted 18 stories to crush 33-year-old Lea Guilbeault.
Her husband, Hani Beitinjaneh, was injured.
Quebec's Building Inspection Board, the Regie du Batiment, says a full investigation could take months to determine why the concrete slab fell off the building. But the deadly accident isn't prompting the Board to change inspection procedures.
The Marriott Hotel was last examined in 2000, and the Board says it will continue to examine buildings only when it receives complaints.
That is the same excuse the Board provided last year, when an indoor garage collapsed in St. Laurent and killed one man.
The union representing public sectors employees blames these tragedies on a declining number of in-the-field inspections.
It claims they went from 55,300 in 2003 to 13,500 last year.
The board claims inspections are the responsiblity of the owners, and not the province.
Meanwhile Claude Dauphin, president of Montreal's Executive Committee, says the city could force owners to inspect their buildings, but would rather the Board do its job.
"I'm not against new bylaws but unfortunately sometimes it takes a catastrophe like that to react," said Dauphin.
It was a similar catastrophe in 1979 that forced the city of New York to create a building inspection bylaw. That law calls for every building over six stories to undergo a complete inspection of its facade every five years.