Water access has always been critical to operating Stark’s Mill. The river is the obvious water connection, powering the two turbines’ 125 horsepower and driving the line shaft connecting to all mill operations. But the site’s well also played a key role, providing water for steaming the grain prior to milling. The building is still connected to a private well for domestic water.
The site’s zoning requires any future developments to include connecting to the local municipal water system (it’s already connected to municipal sewers). This requirement may at first seem onerous, but it will actually play a key role in protecting Stark’s Mill for future generations; it will allow a sprinkler system to be installed to protect the heavy timber-framed structure, as stipulated by the building code for the five-storey height. And that’s a good thing, as there was already one grist mill on the site that burned down in 1883.
We are thankful to be working with Arran-Elderslie Township to extend the nearby municipal watermain about 75m from the Paisley Waterworks facility just down the street. A local engineering firm familiar with Paisley’s system is designing the watermain extension, and work could happen this summer. While the costs of this construction work are ours, it will be well worth having the water service for the sprinkler system and accommodations planned for the site.