BUSINESS

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the station

The Station at the Port Elgin waterfront consists of a confectionary, a mini golf course and a replica 1836 American Steam Engine.

Hub Staff

The iconic beachfront business known as The Station in Port Elgin could be up for sale after the owners Andy and Debbie Hess’ lawyer indicated to the Town of Saugeen Shores that they would not sign a new lease and have an intention to sell the business and its assets.

During a report to Saugeen Shores Council during the May 28 Committee of a Whole, Town of Saugeen Shores CAO David Smith offered clarification that under the current model the Town owns the land and the Hesses own the building and the train. “We don’t know whether [the Hesses] plan on opening [the train] this year or not,” said Smith.

The Station includes a confectionary, a mini golf course and an 1836 American Steam Engine replica.

Councillor Dave Myette said that it was unfortunate that such an iconic business should find itself in the position of likely not opening this year. “It’s the passing of an era for sure,” he said.

Councillor Mike Myatt echoed Myette’s sentiment and wanted to clarify that the Town of Saugeen Shores had offered a new lease to the Hesses.

Town CAO David Smith replied. “We offered a lease that was very similar to their previous year’s lease with some additional requirements and capital improvements,” he said.

Additions to the previous terms included:

1. The Tenant will be responsible for the legal costs of creating and maintaining the
lease;

2. The Tenant, who is the owner of the track, will be responsible for the cost associated
with the maintenance of it;

3. After a joint site tour, where items were noted such as broken light standards, retaining walls in disrepair, fencing in disrepair, crumbling and loose concrete etc. a capital plan was developed and proposed by the Tenant to bring the property up to minimum
standards. Going forward a rolling capital plan was recommended; and

4. The Town requested a first right of refusal if the Hesses sold the business. This would
not impede the sale in any way.

Smith then reiterated the Town’s position on The Station and the iconic train. “The train has been a valuable asset to the community and the Waterfront Master Plan anchors that the train and that business is important to the community.”

Mayor Mike Smith said that the Hesses have been great for the Saugeen Shores community over the past three decades. “The Town is absolutely committed to see the Train operate and we had a lease that we were happy with,” said the Mayor. “We're hoping that he will sign and continue to operate, if not sell it to someone who will operate it.”

Smith added that staff have worked very hard and cooperated with the owner to get the lease. “We had a difficult time last year so I think there is some unwillingness to really come to us and deal with those issues,” he added.

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