Time to take a second look at beach development says reader

To the Editor:

Back in 2019, we all agreed that the Main Beach had become run down due to lack of maintenance. The Station was in disrepair and the lack of a long-term lease did not encourage the existing leaseholders to make necessary repairs. The tennis court/flea market area was the Town’s responsibility, but it was also not maintained.

You are all aware what happened next, resulting in the CCV lease being hurriedly put together despite many concerns and objections. Since that time many of the initial players have moved on and at this point, almost four years later, nothing has been built. A lot of things have changed since 2019; Covid, the economy, concerns for climate change, the environment, staffing difficulties, and reduced disposable income for families. Maybe it is time to take another look at what we want. It is not a done deal.

As you may be aware on June 9, 2023, the lease can be terminated as per the terms of the lease.

If the Substantial Completion Date shall not have been attained by the second anniversary of the Commencement Date, then the Lessor, at its option, may terminate this Lease by Notice to the Lessee, in which event such termination shall be effective immediately upon the delivery of such Notice and may enter upon the Project with or without process of law and take possession thereof.

The project commencement date was extended by six months due to Covid, so the revised commencement date was June 9, 2021. (Confirmed in email from Phil Eagleson) This means on June 9, 2023 the lease can be cancelled. Even if they started today, they could not reach substantial completion by that date.

Letter received on Friday, February 19 from Phil Eagleson, Head of Protective services, Oversight Manager of CCV….

Date: February 22, 2021 at 12:40:36 AM ESTTo: Patricia Frank <portelginbeachpreservers@gmail.com>Subject: 6 month rent deferral for CCV

Mrs. Corrigan- Frank,

At the time of signing the Land Lease, it was anticipated construction of the 
CCV would have begun within 12 month.
You are aware construction on the site (Commencement) was not started in 2020.

The Commencement Date of the Lease has been extended for 6 months to June 9th, 2021 or the date when construction begins, should construction begin before June 9th, 2021.

Rent for the land will begin once the CCV occupies the property or on June 9th. whatever date occurs first.  

No rent has been charged or collected at this time, as the land has not been occupied and final approvals have not been granted to the Proponent.

Thank you for your question,


Substantial completion basically means that it is almost ready to be used as per the definitions in the lease and the Construction Act.

Lease definitions

“Substantial Completion means that all work required to achieve “substantial performance” of the Project has been completed, giving to the term “substantial performance”  the meaning ascribed thereto in the Construction Act(Ontario) as same may be amended, modified or replaced from time to time.

“Substantial Completion Date” means the date upon which Substantial Completion has occurred, as evidenced by a certificate issued by the Project Architect pursuant to the Construction Act (Ontario) as same may be amended, modified, or replaced from time to time; 

Contracts, substantial performance and completion (Construction Act)When contract substantially performed2(1) For the purposes of this Act, a contract is substantially performed,

(a) when the improvement to be made under that contract or a substantial part thereof is ready for use or is being used for the purposes intended; and

(b) when the improvement to be made under that contract is capable of completion or, where there is a known defect, correction, at a cost of not more than,

(i) 3 per cent of the first $1,000,000 of the contract price,

(ii) 2 per cent of the next $1,000,000 of the contract price, and

(iii) 1 per cent of the balance of the contract price.  R.S.O. 1990, c. C.30, s. 2 (1); 2017, c. 24, s. 4 (1, 2).

The CCV investors have had enough time. As a result of failed deadlines, financial issues, inaccurate information submitted to the MOE, refusing or delaying information submissions to SVCA, inability or lack of experience to manage a project of this size, or lack of transparency, this project is a disaster. Let’s put a stop to it and rethink what is best moving forward.

Where are we right now? A building permit has been issued for a restaurant and covered outdoor assembly area on the North end of the property. It was supposed to be an ice cream store and games space with rumours, at one time, that there was a Dairy Queen. Is there a contract in place for a Dairy Queen? Do you know who the tenant is? You should. Per the terms of the lease any sublease requires the approval of the lessor. The architectural drawings look like it is set up to have a drive through window in the future, even though they were specifically told a drive through would not be allowed. What was supposed to be a games area, now referred to as a covered outdoor assembly area, looks like just an outdoor covered porch. Do you know what is planned for this area?

Where do we go from here? I suggest that the Town cancel the current lease and rethink and renegotiate the entire project. Options could include, renegotiating the lease for the North building and cancel the second phase, renegotiate something on a smaller scale with reduced height for phase 2, or look at other alternatives. Take a serious look at what has happened. This project has divided the community.

This project wasn’t supposed to cost the tax payers anything. Have all of the costs incurred to date been paid back? The initial deposit should be used to cover anything not yet paid. Does council have a clear estimate of the costs to the town to support infrastructure for this project: water, sewer, hydro, landscaping, parking lot, law enforcement?

Perhaps council should put existing businesses first. Many are struggling to get staff and have to restrict their hours. I am sure restaurants will struggle this year as families eat out less often. With increased housing costs and food many couples are opting for smaller back yard weddings. Alternative recommendations such as replanting of trees, grass, picnic tables and allowing some seasonal food trucks would be more acceptable. Just because the CCV is cancelled doesn’t mean the area can’t be cleaned up and a nice area provided for families to enjoy. The rent collected to date is not refundable and is to be used for improvements to the main beach

Article 3 Rent3.1 D… For the rent payable for period from the Commencement Date to the time when the Lessee begins providing services in lieu under this provision, the rent payable and paid under this Lease will be held by the Lessor to fund and pay for capital improvements to the main beach area of the Town of Port Elgin in its discretion.

We have a second chance. We have learned a lot from this experience. Let’s start again on a smaller scale, one step at a time. Think about it.


Joanne Weishuhn-Lee