Council ponders rail line in private

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Municipal staff and council members aren’t saying much about Wednesday’s closed session of council.

Council met to receive an update on negotiations to sell the former CSX Rail line that runs from Chatham to just north of Wallaceburg. The municipality purchased the line last fall, in partnership with CP, which has salvage rights for the steel rails if a buyer isn’t found.

So why just two days after a regularly scheduled council meeting, our elected officials convened again, but only behind closed doors and only to talk about the rail line?

“It was important to update them,” was all Stuart McFadden, deputy director of economic development and lead hand on the rail negotiations for the municipality, said on whether time was a factor.

“There was some time sensitivity to the decision making,” said South Kent Coun. Art Stirling. “They’re still very much in negotiation mode.”

McFadden said the meeting was fruitful, as staff received some guidance from the elected overseers.

“We needed to update them on where the file was, and they provided us some direction,” he said. “They’ve given us our orders and that’s what we’re going to do. It was in closed session, so I can’t say anything more.”

Stirling expects the matter to come back to council either in open session or in an open special meeting in early September.

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