Cambridge approves $12M Galt post office revamp

Cambridge city councillors have voted eight to one in favour of a $12-million renovation to the old post office on Water Street in downtown Galt despite public opposition to the proposed design.
RDH Architects plans to restore the old post office and build a 7,000-square-foot glass addition to the west side of the historic building, as seen in this rendering. (RDH Architects Inc.)

Cambridge city councillors have voted eight to one in favour of a $12-million renovation to the old post office on Water Street in downtown Galt despite public opposition to the proposed design.

RDH Architects, the firm chosen to reimagine the historic building, presented council with the preferred design on Monday, four days after they were first made public. The design involves restoring the brick facade of the original structure and adding a 7,000-square-foot glass addition to the west side facing the Grand River. 

"This design, quite frankly, is one of the ugliest I've ever seen," said Cambridge resident John Mitchell after the design had been approved. The glass addition will distract people from seeing the post office from the river, he added.

Other residents expressed concerns about the size of the addition, the restaurant that is supposed to occupy the ground floor and the speed at which this project is moving forward.

"The designs came out last Thursday. They're going for approval tonight. That's four days," said Christine Rier, who calls herself a passionate heritage advocate. "I've worked on ... heritage issues that have taken over two years."

Although opposition to the project was strong at Monday's meeting, Mayor Doug Craig says council has to consider all points of view when making a decision, "not just the delegations that are opposed."

The city hopes put out tenders this fall for a company to restore the brick facade of the old building next year. It hopes to have the whole project complete by December 2016.

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