PORT ELGIN, ONT. -- A train station that had been apart of Port Elgin’s waterfront for three decades has been torn down.

“It was a sad day to see it come down. It’s sad to see the train gone, sad to see the station gone, but something had to be done,” says Patricia Corrigan-Frank, founder of the Port Elgin Beach Preservers group.

The train station and store were torn down in late May, after being vacant since 2018, when the town decided not to renew the store operator’s lease.

Instead, Saugeen Shores council signed a deal with some local businessmen to build Cedar Crescent Village, a 30,000 square foot facility featuring restaurants, shops, volleyball courts and an event centre, on Port Elgin’s publicly-owned waterfront.

Luke Charbonneau is the Town of Saugeen Shores mayor.

“It’s going to enable us to move on with the next phase of that, in our public-private partnership to build Cedar Crescent Village, which I think will be a great new attraction for Port Elgin’s Main Beach,” he says.

An expected opening date of July 2021 is likely not possible as work on the project has slowed to a crawl due to COVID-19 restrictions.

It's aatime for sober second thought, suggest those opposed to the waterfront project.

“Our local merchants and restaurants are all hurting. So, to start a project like this, that adds another restaurant and an event hall, when we’re already hurting? It makes no sense to me,” says Corrigan-Frank.

“Obviously we want to see it move forward as quickly as possible, but we have to do the things we have to do, to do it right. And we will do those things, and if it takes more time, it takes more time,” says Charbonneau.