Port Elgin waterfront redevelopment proposal presented to council

Train cars for the Port Elgin and North Shore Railroad sit in front of The Station store at the Port Elgin beach. (photo by Jordan MacKinnon)

Negotiations are underway for a development at the Port Elgin beach that may see the train run once again.

Saugeen Shores council received an information report on the parcel of land that includes the train station and mini-golf, which sat dormant last year after a much-publicized lease negotiation fell apart.

Councillors learned Port Elgin businessman Pier Donnini, who owns the Queen’s Bar and Grill, and designer Dan Murawsky were the lone submission to receive full marks from a recent request for proposal to develop the property, which also includes the adjacent area that houses the Port Elgin flea market every summer.

Donnini said he can’t go into the details because they have yet to sign a memorandum of understanding with council, but he is planning to have a train run at the beach if all goes according to plan.

“If I have something to do about it, there will be a train, yes,” said Donnini.

Donnini said the plan will cater to what the public has said they want to see at the waterfront.

“We paid close attention to the waterfront master plan, which the community worked on for years and really expressed what they needed, or what they wanted [at the waterfront],” said Donnini. “I think our plan hits a lot of those points, so I don’t think we’re far apart, certainly from a philosophical point of view.”

The proposal will be multi-purpose in nature and Donnini envisions a drawing card for the waterfront.

“We’ve done some work, we estimate, once you see the final plans and I’m really not at liberty to talk about that, we’re talking millions of dollars of economic impact, north of 60 jobs created and really trying to become a real destination,” said Donnini.

Donnini added the earliest the proposal could come together as a final product is the summer of 2020.