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Elora Mill Condominiums and Revisions
January 31, 2014

All Photos copyright ©Bob Hill
Read these Other Articles on the Elora Mill Project:
Elora Mill Revitalisation, June 11, 2013
Elora Mill Condominiums and Revitalisation, October 12, 2013
Elora Mill Condos and Restoration, August 13, 2014

Watch the Horse and Hound event held at the Elora Mill

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New Drawing of Elora Mill Redevelopment

This new drawing of the Elora Mill revitalisation project, by Landmark Developments, shows the revised reorientation for the condominiums. Shown to the right in this drawing, the Elora Mill condominiums have been reoriented into a U-shape so that every unit will now have the ability to view either the river or open space.

Landmark changed the location of some of the proposed condominiums because prior to the change, not all of the condos had a view of the river or green space. As this picture shows, there will now be a landscaped courtyard between the buildings.

Planner and project manager Brian Blackmere noted that with the changes the townhouses, which were part of the initial plan, have been removed from the project.

Blackmere stated that “the residential component is definitely a Phase 2 situation and I don’t see it proceeding to construction until 2015 at the earliest with occupancy possibly available in 2016. We won’t be taking deposits this summer,” he said.

Initially, Landmark had hoped to have final condominium and building site plans completed by this summer and to begin taking preconstruction deposits on the condominium units at that time.

Landmark received recent approvals and work permits for the pedestrian bridge between the new inn on the south side and the existing Elora Mill on the north, shown to the right in the picture. These approvals have allowed them to begin the revitalisation project with the demolition of the old piers and to make way for the construction of the new piers.

According to Blackmere, the Victoria Street walking bridge, shown on the left in the new drawing, already had stable piers in the river and did not require the same approvals as the new enclosed pedestrian bridge between the hotels.

On the south side of the river, the Walser building will be renovated into a wedding chapel overlooking the river. It will be located at the beginning of the Victoria Street walking bridge on that side of the river, which will pass by the convention banquet facility and new retail outlets. A community trail will continue along the river front to meet with the natural Elora trail system.

Bob at the base of the Old Victoria Street Foot Bridge and pointing at the Old Walser Building Ruins

One idea being proposed in a section of the current parking area bordering the river beside the old Walser building is a water park and performance centre with a possible platform being built for the performance of musical acts. This area will also be made available for community groups such as the Elora Festival.

Blackmere said that Landmark was working with the Township to supply additional parking in the area around the LCBO, which should accommodate those individuals that are currently using the existing parking lot. The new parking garage, to be located behind the new hotel, will have some parking dedicated as hotel parking but the remainder would be open and free to the public, he said.

Restoration of the Elora Mill includes a two-storey dining area over-looking the river. A small hydro station exists adjacent to the Elora Mill and it will be removed and its flow re-directed to a new station, which will be located on the south side of the river. Part of the work includes the development of a hydro facility, which was discussed in detail in my October article.

Blackmere said they are nearing the end of the Environmental Assessment process for the Hydro Project which should wrap up in May just ahead of when the construction will begin.

Fireplaces Inside Elora Mill

The Old Dining Area inside Elora Mill

Bob Beside the Old Power Station with Tooth of Time

Landmark partnered with Shaman Power, who have developed and currently operate several small hydro electric plants in Ontario, to create the Elora Power Corporation. Blackmere, who sits on the Board of Directors of Elora Power Corporation, said that the proposal is in keeping with the site plan development.

Blackmere said, “We always promised that the power facility would be compatible with the overall plans and this was the very best way to ensure follow through. We aren’t in the power business so we partnered with Shaman Power who have developed and currently operate several small hydro electric plants in Ontario.”

Elora Power Station Proposed Layout

General Layout of the Proposed Power Station Including Elora Mill

Drimmie Dam Reconstruction Underway

The water power project will include an intake structure that will be built in conjunction with the Drimmie Dam. The power station will utilize the head water produced by the Drimmie Dam and will produce 3,800,000 kilowatts of annual energy production, which could power 350 homes.

The company plans to sell the hydro generated to Ontario Hydro, thereby subsidizing the power they use in operating the mill.

Remnants of the Old Bridge Linking Victoria Street on One Side of the River to Mill Street on the Other

Remnants of the Little Folks Buildings

Elora Mill and Remnants of the Old Piers

The Drimmie Dam was constructed in the 19th century to control flow for operation of the adjoining mill, which is now the Elora Mill Inn. The dam has been owned by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) since 1984 and in 1984 a micro-hydro generation station was constructed at the site to provide power to the Elora Mill Inn.

A dam safety assessment study was completed by Sanchez Engineering Inc. for the GRCA in 2008. The study confirmed that the dam was in poor condition and that there were several deficiencies associated with the dam’s stability. The results of the DSA study indicated that the existing dam required remedial measures or it should be removed.

The $1.2-million project that is currently underway is designed to replace the 112-year-old dam with a new concrete structure. It will sit slightly lower than the original, creating a shallower pond that will be just as wide as the current one. The lower profile of the new dam will allow more water to pass through the town and reduce the potential for flooding during periods of high flow. It will also feature a control gate that will provide an additional water management tool.

The cost of the project is being split three ways: The GRCA is paying about $400,000, the township of Centre Wellington is paying $200,000 and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is paying about $600,000 through its Water and Erosion Control Infrastructure Program.

Through the Trees from the Little Folks Property

Bridge Into Elora From Little Folks Property

For any information on Elora, Fergus, Guelph or the surrounding area, call or text me at 519-400-5301 or email me at [email protected]