Summerside's County Fair Mall has been closed for most of Tuesday morning due to an air quality issue. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
SUMMERSIDE – Chalk this one up to a freak accident.
The County Fair Mall in Summerside was closed nearly all day Tuesday due an overwhelming smell of paint that had somehow permeated the building overnight Monday and into the morning.
Jim Corbett, regional manager for Crombie REIT, which owns the mall, said that he’s never seen something like this happen before, and that the company is continuing to look into what might have caused the smell to circulate so strongly.
“It’s strange. I mean honestly, this has not happened. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and have not experienced this,” he said.
The smell was so bad during the short time the mall opened in the morning that it was starting to cause minor respiratory problems for some customers and employees.
The mall was closed in the interests of public safety, said Corbett.
“So erring on the side of caution we decided to shut it down, bring in a firm like First on Site Restoration, put in exhaust fans and try to just move all the air out,” he said.
The problem seems to have stemmed from a coating of protective paint that was applied Monday by a sub-contractor in the new Sport Chek location, in the recently renovated section of the mall.
The only stores to reopen on Tuesday were Sobeys and the liquor store, which were cut off from the rest of the mall.
Corbett said he expected the entire shopping centre to be open for business Wednesday morning. However, if something unforeseen was to happen and the building had to be shut down for a longer period of time, he would be contacting local media with an update in the morning.