Pearle plea

Dear Editor:

RE: So much for sleepy, Oct. 3.

I read Barry McCarthy’s letter last week and it echoed the sentiment I have been hearing in town.

I have been supportive of Pearle Hospitality’s development in Elora because it seemed there were only two options: either that beautiful historical mill would eventually crumble in disrepair or someone (like Pearle) would make the significant investment needed and make a go of the operation.

It simply could not have been rescued without a massive injection of capital and I accept that for this to make economic sense for Pearle, the development may be bigger than some would want.

What is it about Elora, aside from its natural beauty, that makes it so special and a place that people want to visit? The answer is obvious: it’s Elora’s artists, the independently-run and imaginative shops and eateries, and the small-town yet wonderfully creative vibe that exists here. The character of Elora is precisely the goose that we can’t risk killing and, on this, I think we and Pearle must be on the same side.

Pearle’s success ultimately depends upon preventing Elora from losing its charm, so it seems to me that it should be a leader in demonstrating a commitment to protecting it. If Pearle doesn’t respect the architecture and vibe of Elora and doesn’t make a serious contribution to the community, what happens? The only thing that happens is that the town becomes so gentrified that it turns into a glorified box mall (of which we already have too many).

My plea is to Pearle – thank you for bringing life back into the Elora Mill, but please think seriously about the unintended impact you may have.

You have done a beautiful job of restoring the Elora Mill but you need to pause and look at your current vision of the condo complex and ask yourself if it truly respects our architectural landscape. Perhaps the simplest, yet very important, step you need to take is to make sure you support the local artist community. Elora has an abundance of creative people; use that talent and in the process you help protect the essence of what makes Elora what it is.

We need to work together to make sure Elora retains its flavour because it will vanish so quickly we will all (including your executive team) be wondering what happened.

Everyone (including you) will benefit in the long-term if thoughtful decisions are made.

Julie Galloway,