Council approves heritage permit for Elora Centre for the Arts expansion

Following the approval, the ECFTA will still be doing a capital fundraising campaign in order to meet the difference of the cost

ELORA – Out with the old and in with the new as Centre Wellington council has approved the heritage permit application for the Elora Centre for the Arts’ expansion project. 

At Monday’s virtual meeting, council approved the heritage permit application which proposes an expansion that includes accessible washrooms and a featured atrium in order to comply with the standards of accessibility. 

The proposed construction includes a 3,583 square-foot addition with featured atrium and multi-purpose space, accessible washrooms, coat room, loading entrance and storage. It will also include a renovation of the existing staff kitchen and the opening of four interior walls to connect disparate galleries. 

The new addition has been architecturally designed to enhance the presence of the centre in the community, while respecting the historic nature of the existing building and surrounding neighbourhood. 

Coun. Bob Foster wondered how will the ECFTA keep its historical and heritage look when its proposed addition looks modern and contemporary. 

“We kept it one storey because we didn’t want to interfere with the second floor windows and compete with the height of the heritage building. When we go to one storey, it’s going to be a lower one level structure,” explained Lianne Carter, executive director of the Elora Centre for the Arts (ECFTA). 

“What we’ve done with the board and batten and the exposed wood beams complement what we see in the neighbourhood houses, so ultimately, they have a similar age and style to some of the century homes in the area.”

Carter further explained that they will be using the same stones from the heritage building in the new addition’s entryway. 

“Overall, as outlined in the report, we’re often not looking to replicate the heritage element. We want to compliment it and not compete with it. But we don’t want to go down the road where we’re emulating a faux heritage look,” said Marie Shelley, team lead for SRM Architects Inc.

“So that’s where we’re looking at the present design by utilizing materials that are bound in the surrounding heritage context and using them in a more contemporary manner.” 

Council praised the design with Coun. Stephen Kitras applauding the contrast of the design as it highlights the heritage look of the centre even with the new addition; the modern aspect is very complimentary.

The following steps after the approval of the heritage permit is meeting the difference between the grant ECFTA received from the provincial and federal government and the required cost of the project. The ECFTA will still be doing a capital fundraising campaign in order to meet the difference. 

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