City council is ready to move forward, passing a motion to begin mediation with CNR Centre owner Lawrence Ryan.
At a special meeting held on July 13, city council voted unanimously to begin the process with several conditions.
First, Ryan, his numbered companies and the city must consent to the mediation and to enter into a confidentiality agreement. Legal representatives must be present during mediation.
As well, the mediator chosen from a list provided by the city must be agreed upon by both parties, who will be responsible for covering their own costs. The cost of the mediator and the facilities will be paid for by the city.
Initially, 20 hours of mediation time will be agreed to, a limit which can be extended if discussions are fruitful. The mediation ad hoc committee will include Mayor Dan Mathieson and councillors Frank Mark, Keith Culliton, Howard Famme and Dave Hunt.
At the meeting last week, minutes indicate Coun. Lloyd Lichti said Ryan told him no mediation would move forward unless water and hydro services are connected to the former rail shops. Ryan was not in attendance at the meeting. Mathieson has suggested those matters be included in the mediation.
When Lichti was contacted about the matter earlier this week, he said his views were published "loud and clear" in Monday's Beacon Herald and refused to comment on, or clarify, his statement.
In an interview Tuesday, Ryan said the mediation is a step in the right direction, however it's not appropriate to deal with the issue of water and hydro in the talks.
"The reason I don't want it part of the mediation is it delays an essential service," explained Ryan, who said he never refused mediation if services are not connected. "They are two totally separate issues."
Ryan said it is important to lay out what matters are to be mediated, as the process could take some time.
"We all agree that it is a good idea, now we just have to agree how to do it," he told the Gazette.
Ryan also said there had been productive meetings earlier this week with the city's director of engineering and public works regarding the hook-up of water to the site.