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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Port Elgin Train Controversy Continues

Port Elgin | by John Divinski  

Saugeen Shores council got an earful on the mini train from eight different speakers.

The miniature train operation issue at Port Elgin's main beach is not going away in a puff of smoke.

The train, owned and operated by Andy and Debbie Hess, may not be operating right now, but the controversy as to why not, is chugging right along.

Saugeen Shores resident Wayne McGrath told councillors, unless a decision on the operation and its lease is made now, it's what he called "Game Over" for the attraction for the Canada Day holiday weekend and possibly for the summer.

The town says they're open to negotiations with the owners.

McGrath thinks not saying, "The administration and others saying this is all above board.  It smells, really smells."

McGrath says we're throwing away an international attraction that is huge to the local tourist economy.

Another speaker, Anthony Melidy says he's prepared to ask for the services of an Integrity Commissioner to investigate the conduct of the town in its dealings with this issue.

He suggests in one instance the town says it is encouraging the train business to continue and then in the next instance, Medily feels moves are made to block the business.

Medily was shut down three times on Points of Order, when he questioned the integrity of people on council, in the handling of the issue.

Mayor Mike Smith stuck to his guns though, saying the town wants to negotiate with the Hess's.

In the meantime, the iconic train and the train station have run out of steam and lie dormant at the beach.

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