Keep Port Elgin’s Gem like Southampton’s says reader

To the Editor:

Before I start, I’m known for rambling on.

Many of you will know me from a few years ago for writing some articles for the Saugeen Times under the heading of “Kudos & Nots”. I wrote about things that I saw as I walked around our towns using my walking sticks. I spoke of the good things I saw, thus the Kudos and the Nots came from what i didn’t like, needing corrected, changed or repaired.

ln Southampton, I spoke of the “Gem of Southampton” Fairy/Little Lake. Over the years there has been cleanup and improvements made to this Gem but so much of its naturalism has been maintained with its beauty and occupied with its animals. By the bandshell there is an interpretive sign that tells about the history of this Gem. This was the first sign in Saugeen Shores, I was involved with its creation. If you have the chance, spend some time here and feel the joy of the surroundings and relax for awhile.

Now, onto Port Elgin where I spoke frequently about the Main Beach and North Shore Park (NSP). I’m not commenting at this time about the beach, I do have thoughts about it, but I want to speak about the “Gem of Port Elgin”, the NSP. When I first spoke of the park, there were several Nots but over the years, there have been great improvements. One of the latest has been completed recently. I had spokem to a council member about this and he has made it happen, a pathway from the existing paved walkway along the shore up to the handicapped washrooms. This was not easily accessible previously so this has made a big difference. Thank you.

I spend considerable time down there. Even though there was a cool breeze today, I was there on my mode of transportation these days, a mobility scooter. I sat in the sun, protected from the wind by shrubbery listening to the waves splash on the rocks as the picture above shows. It seems I had a little siesta and received some sunburn. Mother Nature has shown her power and removed a large quantity of the park’s trees due to a couple of storms going through it. It is a great place for individuals to sit and enjoy the beauty, maybe read a book. Also, a place to meet family or friends, maybe even have a picnic. It is more accessible now for those with handicap issues. Beautiful and peaceful. I will now go to my main reason for writing this, the North Shore Railway proposal.

Originally when the proposal came out, it was about bringing the original train back to Port Elgin with a small number of small buildings. I was excited to see the train back as I felt that it should never have left. I attended the meeting this past year at the NSP pavilion. There was lots of info and facts/info collecting. I was still excited. BUT, on April 11th council meeting when Mr. Pearson presented his updated proposal, my excitement disappeared. It no longer was about the train but I felt it was about lining the pockets.

It now included such things as several larger buildings, a mini golf with a train theme, fences, an open-aired pavilion for wine and food tasting, maybe for events like wine/cider festivals, food trucks and maybe more. How about parking for all of this? It also appears that it would take up about a third of the park. This proposal can be viewed on Saugeen Times website. Also, there is a survey there that closed on May 12th for input on this proposal but I believe it has been put up again on the website. I suggest if you can, complete the survey and/or contact your council members with your thoughts. Mr. Pearson has included that he will replace up to 200 trees in the park. I don’t feel this is a good trade off as the town has money already set aside for use in NSP. I believe Mr. Pearson is a good gentleman but I don’t want to see the park being treated as a business. It does need more trees, cleaned up, more sitting/picnic areas but let’s keep “Port Elgin’s Gem” like “Southampton’s Gem”, a peaceful and relaxing meeting spot. Let’s put a Whoo to this before it costs Mr. Pearson and/or us the taxpayer any more money.

As I said at the start, I do ramble on and could likely say more but i believe I’ve gotten my thoughts out.

Thank you

“The Stix Man”
Larry McIntosh