RE: Pearleville, Sept. 19.
Elora is rapidly losing its identity. “Pearleville” has taken over our little village and we won’t be getting it back. An enlightened letter by Olga Domjan has me thinking that we have been “blindsided.”
Pearle has come into town like a lamb and now we are seeing their roar! Were we blinded by the light? I now see sentries on Mill Street and Wellington Road 7 with walkie talkies standing guard all weekend long. Roads around the mill appear to be theirs now and are blocked off. I fear once the walking bridge is complete, it too will be blocked off and inaccessible to the public because of the three weddings taking place at the same time. Like an alien movie, they have taken over! Seven to eight weddings on a weekend is obscene. Privacy and profit seem now to be the order of the day.
Does the town gain from any of this? Have our restaurants been rescued? Have their taxes been adjusted fairly to help pay for our infrastructure? Did council get hoodwinked? Has Pearle upped the anti on change, making their business more monolithic than first intended or did we fall asleep at the switch?
Google Zita Cobb of Newfoundland, founder of Fogo Island Inn. She did it right. A much-loved island girl who made it big in New York came home and invested her money, designing an inn that involved the whole island. She made the island inclusive rather than exclusive. Absolutely brilliant. That’s how it’s done!
Perhaps we are all to blame. The train has left the station and we are left standing around holding our bags saying: what just happened here? Regarding growth, do we look forward to 2040?
The notion of Elora being a village is gone now. Suburbia has moved in. Parking is impossible most days on Mill Street and traffic is backed up on Metcalfe Street at the lights in both directions. The mill itself is gated and secure, inaccessible to outside tourists who want to have a walk about and perhaps see the Tooth of Time. Pearle has isolated their little enclave, creating a wall between them and us.
There are over 80 working, practicing artists in our town and Pearle has not purchased one painting nor commissioned one sculpture! Furthermore, they do not pay a hanging fee to artists who exhibit their work in the mill. They have failed to dovetail the town into their plans.
The Elora Fergus Studio Tour was last weekend and this weekend – I wonder how many of their patrons will spill out into our community and partake in our event? This growth is called progress, but all of the updating and restructuring of our river’s edge, is it for the better or will it become an eyesore? “Pearle vision” may be progressive but it is to the detriment of our citizens and our small, quiet town once called by the Globe and Mail “sleepy Elora.”