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Collapsed platform in Winnipeg's Fort Gibraltar last repaired a decade ago: city

The elevated walkway in Winnipeg's Fort Gibraltar that collapsed during a school field trip, sending 16 children and one adult to hospital, was last repaired a decade ago.

As CTV News previously reported, a group of Grade 5 students from St. John's-Ravenscourt School had visited the fort on Wednesday morning. While the group was on a walkway about four to six metres high, it collapsed.

Emergency crews took 17 people to hospital including 16 children – all of whom are 10 to 11 years old – and one adult.

A spokesperson for Shared Health said as of Thursday, all but two have been discharged. The two remaining in hospital are in stable condition.

Emergency officials told CTV News on Wednesday they do not know what led to the fall.

The incident even drew the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was in Winnipeg Thursday.

"My thoughts are with the students, teachers and families affected by yesterday's incident at Fort Gibraltar," she said. "Thank you to the first responders and the staff at the Children's Hospital for acting so quickly. I really hope that everyone who has been injured recovers quickly and fully."

A city spokesperson said repairs were made to the structure in 2004 and 2013, according to records.

The repairs in 2004 were made to the palisade’s elevated walkway, which included, “replacing stringers and treads of stairs and replacing rotten wailers on wall sections,” the spokesperson said, adding an inspection was conducted.

In 2013, crews repaired sections of the palisade, repairing rotten rails, rickets and fencing with new wood. While a development permit was pulled, the city spokesperson said an inspection was not necessary.

The spokesperson said based on an initial search of their records, they had not received complaints about Fort Gibraltar. They said if they do receive a complaint about a potential hazard, it is inspected.

“The city will be conducting an inspection to determine the extent of the damage and the steps required to remedy it. Until such time, the property will remain closed,” the spokesperson wrote.

The city said that inspectors from the planning, property and development department went to the fort Thursday.

“As a result of this inspection, the owner’s rep (Festival du Voyageur) has been directed to retain the services of a professional engineer," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

They said the engineer will need to do an assessment of the entire complex for any unsafe conditions and provide documentation for any repairs needed. The spokesperson said the work associated with the repairs will require appropriate building permits and inspections.

The fort will remain closed until the work is completed.

Speaking Thursday, Mayor Scott Gillingham said he is hoping to find out information on when the last inspection of the site occurred.

He said he also wants to know about the frequency of inspections.

“We do have regular inspections,” Gillingham said. “I want to find out, for our city facilities where the public is accessing them, how often are we inspecting them.”

Premier Heather Stefanson said the province will be working with the city to ensure that there are better safety mechanisms in place for children. Top Stories

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