Committee hopes to breathe life into Logan's mill
The Brussels Logan’s Mill Committee is bringing together Brussels Lions Club members, the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority, the Huron East Heritage Committee as well as members of the community to try and breathe life into the old mill building that sits on the Maitland River just off Sports Drive in Brussels.
Exactly how the group will do that is still undecided, as it hasn’t created any concrete plans. however, committee member Paul Nichol said that if it can start quickly, funding will be available to help with the re-purposing of the century-old space.
“There is funding available from Heritage Canada,” Nichol said during an on-site inspection last week. “It’s one-to-one, so whatever we can raise, in cash, goods or services, will be matched.”
The funding, however, has stipulations that will require the project to start by Sept. 2, which is 100 years to the day that the current incarnation of the mill was opened.
“There are three key factors for the funding,” Nichol explained. “It has to be creating a space or environment for the arts and support a celebration or anniversary. If capital costs are required for the celebration or the structure celebrating an anniversary, [Heritage Canada] will pay half.”
The committee has to figure out how much it’s going to cost to renovate the space, the value of goods discounted or donated and the value of service so they can go to the government with that information.
The entire project started at a Lion’s Club meeting where members Jim Lee and Nichol agreed the Logan’s Mill building was a potential opportunity they should explore.
As far as the plans go, different ideas were brought up by several members of the committee. Some of the suggestions included a soundscape that imitates the noises that would typically be heard in a mill, a stage facility that starts inside of the building and faces outward towards Sports Drive or a rotating art gallery.
While the ideas came from many different directions, Nichol said that the group wasn’t yet committed to any particular renovations. Those kinds of plans would need to wait until the committee saw what it needed to do and what it could do.
“We’re looking at using natural aspects as much as possible,” He said. “We’re not going to commit to electricity, washrooms, kitchens or anything like that because we don’t know what that will involve.”
The mill technically belongs to the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA), however, Stewart Lockie, MVCA Conservation Areas Co-ordinator, said the building could be leased for a use such as those being suggested.
“It would still be owned by the MVCA, but they would work with the group to look at options for running it and doing a long-term lease,” he said. “The only thing you would have to make sure is that the organization is sustainable. They won’t want to sign on with a group that isn’t going to last.”
Charlie Hoy, chair of the Huron East Heritage Committee and a member of the Logan Mill’s Committee, says this is the opportune time to take on a project like this.
“Right now, Brussels is trying to rebound,” he said. “The main street is seeing empty stores filled in, the Brussels Community Development Trust voted, last night, to try and put money towards making the new streetlights more decorative and the community is just really thriving. This is a good time to go and try and benefit from that momentum.”
Anyone interested in trying to help out should get in touch with the committee through Lee, Nichol or Hoy or any of the other members of the committee, which includes Geoff Miller, Bryan Morton, Lockie, Joan van der Meer and Gerry Exel.