Pillar proposal

Dear Editor:

The controversy over the new Elora bridge has polarized citizens into vigorously opposing camps: those who wish to save it and those who want the new bridge.

The “save” group invokes “heritage” – hardly a convincing argument for a structure built in 1953 while many actual heritage sites in Elora, 100 years older, have no protection. This is nostalgia, not heritage.

The existing bridge is comparable to an antique toilet that no longer works – it is neither useful nor beautiful and is of value only to a museum of plumbing.

The bridge, utilitarian in its day, with never any claim to beauty, is now decrepit and costly to repair and maintain.

The new design – simple, elegant, safe, with a nod to the past with its quasi traditional lampposts – is “in keeping” with the townscape.

However: the pillars.

The “gateway” proposed for the south end of the new bridge is a monstrosity. The two massive and unnecessary pillars have no reference to local heritage, despite the efforts of the planners to invoke the Elora Post Office clock tower and the cenotaph as models. Instead the pillars represent the brutalist architecture of the mid 20th century; ugly, heavy, entirely at odds with the scale and spirit of the town and certainly not “welcoming.”

Another very serious consideration is the added cost of these pillars. The public meeting on June 13 lacked any cost analyses of the bridge proposals, but I am sure that these pillars alone add enormously to the overall expense of the new bridge and should be cancelled immediately.

Mary Anne Neville,