Archived Letter – 990

Dear Editor;

The Elora Business Improvement Area (BIA) would like to add clarification to your recent published letter from Jay Alexander in regards to the Victoria Street Walking Bridge in Elora.

The bridge is not a favour for Pearle hospitality. Factually, The Elora BIA would like to point out that our records show correspondence with Mayor George Pinkney about this subject, dating back to January 13th, 2003 – long before Pearle Hospitality was ever on the scene.

Ever since its demolition, the Elora BIA has lobbied Council (and made no secret of their desire) for a replacement structure to be made. This bridge is essential to link the North and South boundaries of our organization. With the anticipated season long replacement of the Badley Bridge in 2018, residents, visitors and merchants of Downtown Elora need a way to cross the river from the single largest parking lot in town – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – which is an impractical feat for a shuttle bus.

The decision to replace the bridge falls in line with other recent pro-business resolutions from our Council. It also follows precedent set with the Templin Walking Bridge in Fergus which also helps to unite the north and south sides of the Fergus Business Improvement Area.

Contrary to the author’s information, It is our understanding from Public Works that the piers remaining in the river are structurally sound (as of the last time they were inspected), which is why they were “capped” with concrete – to prevent deterioration so they could be utilized for future replacement purposes. The deck of the bridge was what had deteriorated to an unsafe level.

In regards to the price of the bridge, the expedited need for the replacement of the Badley Bridge by the County has meant that this Township project needed to come to light. Every item in a budget needs to have a dollar amount assessed to it. As per the new operations of Council to forecast several years ahead, it was essential to “get it on the books” – quick! Now that we have received a willingness from Council for this project, actual real costing can be done and hopefully we will receive a cost-effective, attractive and practical structure. If we are lucky, we may even be able to find partners to fund the bridge through various means.

It is our understanding that Pearle Hospitality will be placing their own bridge linking their properties on either side of the river, at their own cost, which means it is a private venture. The Victoria Street Bridge – which is the original bridge linking North and South Elora – will be for the use and enjoyment of everyone who lives, works or visits the Village.

On this matter, the Elora BIA is grateful to the current Council for showing unity and decisive leadership on an issue that has been drawn out over 13 years.

Fred Gordon
Administrator, Elora Business Improvement Area.

Fred Gordon