ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. -- Premier Dalton McGuinty says there are signs of progress in Elliot Lake that will give hope to a community devastated by the deadly collapse of the local shopping mall last summer.

Two women died and several people were injured when the rooftop parking garage collapsed into the Algo Centre Mall on June 23.

McGuinty says returning to Elliot Lake was high on his list of things to do before he steps down as premier in January.

He says local residents need to see progress, so it's important that work has begun on a new mall and that the local grocery store is up and running, even if it is in a temporary location.

McGuinty acknowledged people in Elliot Lake are anxiously waiting to see the Algo Centre torn down, the timing of which he said is up to the private owners.

The premier also said all of Ontario would benefit from the findings of the public inquiry into the mall collapse, which he expects will start in January.