Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday December 13, 2008

Christmas draws ever nearer and the Town is starting to slow down a bit – especially with the budget discussions finished for the year.

This Monday December 15th, we will start off with a closed meeting at 6:30 followed by Council at 7:00 pm (Deputation Only). Mainly an administrative meeting but including:
- A request by Georgian College to have the Town provide transit service to the Midland campus (this is about the 4th request)
- The establishment of a new committee to set the terms of reference for parking administration in Midland. This follows the recommendation from staff to disband the current Parking Authority
- A staff report on the situation on some streets where Canada Post has refused to deliver mail to homes because of a lack of plowed sidewalks

Wednesday the 17th will hear the results of the recent energy audit of the NSSRC building. The report will be presented at 1:00 pm at the NSSRC.

At 7:00 pm on Thursday the 18th, the Town will hold a second meeting to address the new sewer and water rates.

The Town offices will be closed from Dec 24 to Jan 5th.

Time to go shopping – Shop Midland!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday December 7, 2008

Christmas is fast approaching, so with lots to do this week I will keep it short.

Your busy Councillors will start off on Monday at 6:30 with a closed meeting. At 7pm you are invited to attend the regular General Committee meeting (Written Input Only). Some of the more interesting agenda items include:
- a recommendation to dissolve our Town’s Parking Authority
- further discussion of our bulky waste pick-up and leaf collection
- announcement that our Winterfest is set for February 6 and 7
The meeting will also receive a letter from Canada Post stating that they will not be delivering mail to homes in the following areas this winter because of a lack of safe sidewalks:
- Yonge at Hamelin
- Bay at Second
- Fourth at Victoria
- William at Bay, William at Yonge and William at Donalda

On Wednesday December 10th at 5:45 the Town will have its third and last scheduled budget deliberation (You May Not Speak). At last review we were at 2.9% for the Town. If you wish to make comment, please contact your Councillor.

On Thursday December 11th from 1:30 to 3:30 you are invited to a “25 in 5” strategy session to discuss how to reduce poverty in Ontario. The meeting is co-hosted by the County of Simcoe and will take place in their Council chambers in Midhurst.

And lastly this Friday at 11 am the Midland Area Reading Council will be hosting their annual Christmas Open House at their offices on Fourth Street. Please drop by and say hello.

Gord McKay

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday November 29, 2008

The stores are busy with Christmas and your hard working Council is getting its year end projects tidied up.

First the budget. As reported, the County approved its budget with an increase of 3.4%. Your Town appears to be zeroing in on 2.9%. The final budget meeting (You May Not Speak) will occur on Wednesday December 10th at 5:45 pm at the Town.

Second planning. County Council adopted its new Official Plan. Midland continues to have significant concerns about the County’s expectations for our growth and “urban” boundaries. We now are waiting to hear if the Province will accept the plan. The Town will start its own planning process with a series “visioning” workshops. These will occur:
1) Session One: Saturday January 24th 9 am – 1 pm
2) Session Two: Tuesday February 3rd 7 pm – 9pm
3) Session Three: Tuesday February 10th 7 pm – 9pm

On Tuesday December 2nd the SSEA will present its draft Sustainability Plan for the area. The meeting will take place at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC and present the results of a consultative process covering our economy, environment and society.

A Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday December the 3rd at 7:00 pm (You May Speak). The hearing will accept input on the rezoning of the residential property at 519 Yonge St. to accommodate a tri-plex.

Later that evening at 7:10 pm will see the PAC meeting (You may speak). Two items of interest:
- Discussion on sale of Town parkland to the GB Native Friendship Centre
- Review of the wording of our proposed Home Occupation By-Law, currently under appeal to the OMB.

And lastly, SHARE will be holding a film night at the Centennial Museum in Penetanguishene at 7:00 pm. They will be screening a comedy “Everything’s Cool”, a spoof on global warming.

Gord McKay

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday November 23, 2008

It’s going to be a busy week for we hard-working Councillors. (What!….Am I not hearing any sympathy???)

Monday the 24th starts off at 5:30 pm at the Town when we discuss your upcoming water and sewer rates. (Participate at Discretion of Chair).

Then at 7:00 pm we move into what will be a lengthy Council Meeting (Deputation Only). The meeting will start with possibly 6 deputations. Residents are bringing forward such issues as:
- The Physician Recruitment program
- Concern about our taxes
We will also discuss:
- The County’s change of heart in reinstating the heavy waste pick-up. Midland is set to adopt the voucher system and has taken no further action to reduce the amount to waste headed to landfill.
- The $1.2 million grant from the province to help our capital projects. It is good to see but unlikely to be repeated over the next few years.
- The proposed increase in the parking permit rates.
- The Town’s comments on the County’s Official Plan, describing our growth, employment and infrastructure targets.
What is not on the agenda is any follow-up to the heated discussion on whether we should be able to vote for our local hospital Board.

On Tuesday November 25th at 9:00 am the County will vote on its Official Plan. The meeting will take place at the County of Simcoe Council Chambers, 1110 Highway 26, Midhurst.

On Wednesday November 26th at 5:45 pm we will discuss the second draft of the Town budget. (You May Not Speak). Coming out of this meeting should be a fairly clear indication of where tax rates are headed.

Enough said.

Gord McKay

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday November 8, 2008

What a glorious week. I hope you had a chance to savour the summer weather. Now getting back to work…….

This Monday at 7:00 pm the General Committee will meet at the Town (Written Comment). The relatively short agenda includes:
- A proposal by the Severn Sound Environmental Association to restructure themselves as a Joint Municipal Services Board. The proposal contains significant changes to staffing levels and costs.
- A recommendation to increase parking permit rates
- A recommendation that Midland use a voucher system for heavy garbage items. Each household would receive two $25 vouchers a year.
Not on the agenda is the staff report requested at the last Council meeting respecting hospital governance.

Tuesday is Remembrance Day. Please take the opportunity to come out and honor our veterans.

Councillors will meet on Wednesday the 12th at 5:45 pm to further discuss the budget (You May Not Speak). In addition to hearing budget proposals from a number of agencies we may get into a discussion about where our tax rate should be headed.

And lastly, on Tuesday November the 18th at 7:00 pm the Zero Waste Simcoe group will hold a public meeting at the NSSRC. The meeting will tell you about local initiatives for waste reduction and the provincial government’s call for ideas to change our waste systems. The outcome of this debate will have a real impact on the taxes you pay and what you put at the curb.

Gord McKay

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday November 1, 2008

It has been a while since my last communication. No excuses but it has been a busy Fall.

Your Council has had two meetings regarding your 2009 taxes. At first draft the rate increase is sitting at about 6%. Your Council is aware of the economic circumstances facing the taxpayer – the Mayor spoke to this matter at our last budget meeting. Our next budget meeting will be held on Wednesday November 12th at 5:45 pm (You May Not Speak). At that time Council is likely to start closing in on what the final tax rate should be. If you want to participate this is a good time to be in touch with your Councillor.

And on other taxing matters:

- MPAC has calculated that Midland residential properties have increased in value by 20.15% since the last valuation in 2005. This increase is being phased in over 4 years. So this year the average residential assessment increase is 4.95%. What about your own taxes? That depends upon the tax rate set by Town Council. Simply, if your own MPAC increase is above 4.95% your taxes will increase by more than the Town tax rate increase; if less than 4.95% your taxes will increase by less than the Town rate. Sorry about the math.

- Your water and sewer rates will be discussed in a report to Council on Monday Nov. 24th from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. This will be followed by a Public Meeting (You May Speak)
on Wednesday, December 3rd from 6:00 to 7:00.

This Wednesday Nov. 5th the Planning Advisory Committee will have an unusual closed session starting at 6:30 pm. The regular PAC meeting (You May Speak) begins at 7:00 pm. A relatively quiet agenda including two items devoted to the upcoming Town Planning exercise.

On Thursday November 6th the County of Simcoe will hold a Public Information Session on the draft County of Simcoe Official Plan. The meetings are from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and again from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the County of Simcoe Council Chambers in Midhurst. The draft plan will go to County for a final vote on November 25th. Midland has raised a number of objections to the County Plan.

And finally, on Thursday November the 13th Council will hold a meeting at the Town to discuss the new Library addition.

Gord McKay

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday October 13, 2008

What a glorious Thanksgiving weekend. So if you are inside reading this e-mail, I am really starting to get concerned…..

Lots going on this week.

On Wednesday at 7:00 pm your Committee of Council will be meeting at the Town (Written Comment). This should be one of our more interesting meetings:
- Public Works will update us on all the construction work under way. (I have attached their summary so you can see some of the good work they do for all of us.
- The Georgian Bay Snowriders will present a list of all the proposed snowmobile routes in Town this winter.
- The Trails Committee will present a proposal to include the properties beside MSS and along the south side of the properties on Ingram Crescent in our trails system.
- The Committee will discuss how to handle new charges associated with providing your neighbourhood street-lighting.

On Thursday the Severn Sound Watershed Sustainability Plan will be discussed at NSSRC starting at 6:30pm. That same evening Wye Marsh will host its annual fundraising dinner.

On Friday the YMCA will hold its Stand Up to Poverty Challenge at the YMCA premises in Little Lake Park at 12 noon.

And lastly, Simcoe County Council will vote on the new County Official Plan on Nov. 25th. This plan will affect the future of Midland. If you want to review the draft plan, please browse

Gord McKay

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday September 28, 2008

Its election season and between watching coverage in the US and Canada there seems little time for anything else. That said…..

The Town will host its first budget meeting this Tuesday September 30th at 5:45 (Watching Only). We will hear the spending plans for next year for our Planning Department, Fire Department, Administration, Community Services and Public Works.

Then on Wednesday October 1st at 6:30 pm the Town will introduce you to its new Official Planning Process. (You May Speak) This is a long term effort to develop a future vision of the Town. I urge you to get involved in this important discussion over the coming months. More details at

Later that same evening at 7:00 pm the Planning Advisory Committee meets (You May Speak). Two items of particular interest:
- The possible acquisition of lands for a trail between Hugel and Yonge next to MSS
- Review of changes in response to the public hearing respecting the “VLA lands” development at 950 Yonge St.
Our Askennonia Senior's are very busy in October with such things as Garfield Dunlop's free Senior Day, the free Seniors Health & Wellness Fair & Luncheon, the Fall Fashion Show and 55 Alive Driver Refresher Course. For more details see
A reminder of the All Candidates meeting taking place on Tuesday October 7th at 7:00 pm at the Penentanguishene Brian Orser Hall. The debate is sponsored by the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce.

And finally a last minute reminder that the Huronia Foundation for the Arts fundraising celebration starts at 5:30 pm on Saturday October 4th. Tickets are available at the NSSRC.

Gord McKay

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday September 21, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen

How many of you went grocery shopping on Saturday and saw the Zero Waste Simcoe people promoting the use of cloth bags at the stores? The campaign is a first for Simcoe County and it started right here in Midland.

Your Council meets this Monday the 22nd at 7:00 pm (Deputation Only) at the Town. Lots of interesting items:
- A presentation will be made by the “All Charities Event” Committee about a major family event planned for next summer in Midland. As the name suggests the event will be backed by many of our local charities. More news to come.
- The County has advised us that they will be picking up Leaf and Yard Waste on April 27, 2009 and Metal Items on May 25, 2009. Bulky Item collection has been discontinued but we will likely get a $50 voucher if we take them to the Transfer Station.
- The newly formed Trails Committee will be bringing forward their first two recommendations:
o A bicycle lane on Highway 93 between Penetanguishene and Midland
o A snowmobile trail for the 2008/9 season along the Penetanguishene Road right-of-way between Yonge and Hugel
- And lastly, the motion to ban the sale of bottled water on Town premises should be discussed. Your Councilors have already received a lot of corporate lobbying on this matter. Should be interesting.

The Midland Area Reading Council holds its AGM at Honda on King Street this Wednesday the 24th at 7:00 pm. They need your support.

The Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board are holding a public meeting on education development charges. That’s Tuesday September 30th at 7:00 at the Education Centre at 1170 Hwy. 26 in Midhurst.

Gord McKay

Good post

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday September 15, 2008

A blustery start to the week.

The Town will have a number of committee meetings this week: Huronia Museum on Monday; Emergency Management on Tuesday; Police Services and BIA on Wednesday; Seniors Council on Thursday – keeps your Councillors busy. If you want to attend any of these meetings please contact the Town at 526-4275.

Paving is a bit delayed on King St. and on Galloway Boulevard. The base asphalt is now scheduled to go on Monday September 22nd.

This Saturday the 20th will see the “Zero Waste Simcoe” group at four of our local grocery stores. They have partnered with the grocers to encourage you to try useable cloth bags. You may want to stop and hear what they have to say.

And an update on two dedication ceremonies. On Saturday September 27. at 1:30 pm, the Vas Kuchar Memorial Park ceremony will be held. This park is located at the end of Yonge Street on Aberdeen Blvd. On that same day, at 2:30 pm, the Edythe Clark Memorial Heritage Garden ceremony will be held.

Gord McKay

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Background - Midland's Water Bottle By-Law

Background Information Prepared for Council Regarding

Disposable Plastic Water Bottles By-law


This information has been prepared by Councillor McKay as background to the motion regarding the banning of plastic water bottles. This is not a staff report. The information presented here is generally available on the internet and other public sources. Sources are quoted where available. The reader should investigate other sources of information.

Basic Premise

The rationale behind the proposed by-law is this:
1. Midland Council has expressed its interest in both reducing waste and becoming a sustainable community
2. The plastic water bottle is a convenience item that usually ends up in landfill, harms the environment and charges a high price for a commodity for which the taxpayer has already paid
3. Midland Council can demonstrate its commitment to making Midland a sustainable community and help reduce waste by passing the By-law

What Does the By-Law Say

The proposed wording for the By-law is:

1. Ban the sale of disposable plastic water bottles in Town facilities, including office buildings and arenas, where access to Town water is available

2. Where feasible implement public water fountains in Town facilities.

The proposed By-law is not intended to cover:
- Water bottles brought to Town facilities by staff, residents or visitors
- Other liquids sold in disposable plastic containers
- Disposable water bottles sold at outdoor events held on Town property
- Water bottles sold or used outside of Town facilities.
So family picnics with disposable water bottles can still go ahead.

Why Do We Need to Do Anything?

Midland has recently committed resources to find out how it can be become a sustainable community. Midland is also aware of prospective legislation requiring municipalities to adopt sustainable practices affecting both water and energy.

For Midland to become a sustainable community it must address how much waste it generates, and how it uses energy and water. The disposable plastic water bottle presents a “case-in-point” of how we can turn our good sustainability intentions to resolving one small problem.

The plastic disposable water bottle has been identified as one of the most common items of litter in the world. The Canadian Plastics Industry Association says in their 2004 report that in Ontario about 65% of disposable water bottles (some 33,000 tons) ended up in landfill. More recent studies put that number anywhere from 80% to 40%. Bottom line – a lot of these bottles end up in the dump.

Each water bottle we manufacture, ship and, yes, recycle uses a quarter of a bottle worth of oil. Source: Pacific Institute

The process of making one water bottle uses another two bottles of water. Source: Pacific Institute

Stopping the sale of water bottles will not in itself make Midland a sustainable community. But by failing to pass this By-Law we send the message that while we will talk about sustainability we will not take the smallest step to stop unnecessary waste and reduce our use of water and energy.

If We Can’t Buy Water in Bottles, Where Will We Get Water?

The By-law will cause us to change a few habits. After all we have been buying drinks in disposable plastic bottles for nearly thirty years.

No Place to Get Water

First of all the By-Law is drafted so that the sale will be banned only where other sources of water exist. No one will be without water.

Further, we need to start making water, that that taxpayer has already paid for, available in public. That means water fountains. Concerns about public water fountains are usually twofold:
1. Cost: According to our Parks Department a water fountain can be installed at a cost of $5,000 to $10,000. (Less than the annual cost people are already paying the Town’s vendors for water in plastic containers)
2. Public Health: While anecdotes are legion I offer two facts:
a. The North Simcoe District Health Unit has no policy against the installation and/or use of public drinking fountains
b. The School Boards in our area who are very concerned about the health of our children are building new schools with public drinking fountains.

So we can give the public back the access to their water.

You Can’t Control the Public Using Water Bottles

That is true. The By-Law does not intend to restrict the use of these bottles by the public.

The By-Law Will Not Resolve the Issue

The By-Law in and of itself will only ban the sale of bottles at Town facilities. The problem is much bigger.

The By-law is also important as a “message”. It will tell the citizens of Midland how Council views the topics of waste, water and energy conservation. It will help citizens answer the question, “Is this Council committed to sustainability?”. The City Council of London Ontario understood this by including the phrase in their By-law “The City Council wishes to set a positive example to the London community on environmental matters”. We should too.

The Town will Lose Revenue

The Town’s vendors gross about $14,000 from the sale of water bottles. The Town’s profit on this is $9,000. Therefore the Town will experience a real financial drop of some $9,000 annually.

(Council should also be aware that the Town has put itself in the position of choosing not to install public fountains in its facilities, thereby denying taxpayers access to their water and then profiting when they buy the high priced alternative.)

Town Water Unsafe or Unacceptable

As our Council well knows, the quality and acceptability of Town water is of the highest order. (Refer Public Works).

I Already Recycle - Isn’t It Enough?

Recycling is good. But it is still far from the ideal solution for disposable plastic bottles. As mentioned above:
- Many of those recyclable bottles never make it to recycling. For many reasons they end up in landfill. Recycling will never be 100%
- But even if we hit 100% recycling, making, shipping and retailing of plastic water bottle exacts a cost:
a. An additional two bottles of water is consumed in manufacturing
b. The equivalent of a quarter of a bottle of oil is used


Yes, plastic water bottles are convenient. That is why Canadians consume more than 2 billion litres of bottled water a year. And we do this despite the fact that we here in Midland can have better quality water from our tap for just a few pennies.

The By-Law is about sending a message. The message is simple. Midland chooses to become a sustainable community. And that we as a Council want show leadership on this very important topic.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday July 27, 2008

I hope that your summer is going well.

Things may seem to be summer quiet at the Town but there is really a lot of stuff going on.

This Monday the 28th the County of Simcoe will be holding a public meeting respecting its draft Official Plan. This plan is important to Midland as it will set many of the planning rules we will have to abide by for the next five years. The meeting is at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre. Doors open at 6 pm, presentations start at 7 pm. (“You May Speak”)

On Tuesday July 29th the Town gets back into meeting mode. At 6 pm is a closed meeting to basically discuss membership for a new Town committee. Then at 7:00 pm at the Town is the regular Council Meeting (“Deputation Only”). A lot of interesting items including:

- Last winter the Post Office stopped mail delivery to some addresses on Yonge St., William St. and Fourth St. because of a lack of sidewalks. The Post Office has indicated it will stop delivery again this winter. We will discuss how the Town will respond.
- A proposal is being made to rename the Tiffin parkette at the base of Yonge Street in honour of Vas Kuchar, the visionary architect who created the Tiffin development.
- We will discuss the Town’s “significant concerns” to some of the proposals in the County’s Official Plan. These matters could significantly affect the future of Midland.

August 6th will see a Public Hearing (“You May Speak”) at the Town at 7 pm on three matters:

- A zoning amendment to construct a two story office Tower at the corner of Yonge and Hartman Dr.
- A zoning amendment to increase lot coverage of the undeveloped properties known as the Stollar lands
- A zoning amendment to allow a daycare to be operated at 562 King St.

August 9th will see a wakeboard event – “Boardrock” – take place at the Town Dock.

And finally, the next meeting of the Planning Advisory Committee (“You May Speak”) is scheduled for Wednesday August 13th.

Gord McKay

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday June 27, 2008

The summer is upon us so meetings at the Town will be fewer and farther between – and so will my updates with News from the Town. But things are not quieting down at Council, as you have seen in the local press.

Council may meet again on July 14th, at the discretion of the Chair. We will have our first Planning Advisory Committee meeting with our new Director of Planning on Wednesday July 9th (“You May Speak”). The Heritage Committee is to meet on July 8th and the Committee of Adjustment on the 10th.

July 1st is all about celebrating this great country of ours. And as you can see in the attached, our Town is doing it in fine style. One special note: there will be a special flag dedication to our veterans taking place at 9:30 am at Huronia Park, at the foot of Bay Street near Bayshore.

Enjoy your summer.

Gord McKay

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday June 23, 2008

The good old summertime has arrived. And with it we all should be spending more time outside enjoying this beautiful Town we call Midland.

The main meeting for the Town this week will be Council, taking place today (Monday) at 7:00 pm (“Deputation Only”) at the Town. A quieter agenda:
- Will confirm funding for the downtown outreach workers until the end of the year
- A new staff committee to look at the “location, design, cost estimates and timing” for a new Town Hall
- A communiqué from the County about our new Green Bin program (attached)
- An interesting request from the Museum, at the end of the meeting

The Georgian Manor is holding an Open House to review their development plans this Tuesday at 2pm at 7 Harriet Street in Penetanguishene.

And next week will see our new Town Director of Planning aboard. We will return to our regularly scheduled Planning Advisory Committee meetings on July 9.

And don’t for get our big Canada Day celebration coming up July 1st.

Gord McKay

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday June 8, 2008

Garbage! Right after the weather, the most popular topic for discussion this week was the mess on our streets as a result of the annual heavy waste pick-up. You have to believe that in 2008 we should be advanced beyond the point where we have to display mounds of trash on our streets for two weeks. Fortunately, two items may interest you:
- At this week’s General Committee meeting (see below) the Mayor will lead a discussion about the trash issue
- A private sector “Simcoe Product Stewardship” group has just been formed to change the way we generate and dispose of trash in Simcoe County. If you want to be part of the solution, please give me a call.

This Monday at 7 pm at the Town, the General Committee (“Written Comment”) meets to discuss many interesting matters:
- Funding for the Downtown (SOS) street-workers program
- Setting our tax rate guidelines for 2009
- Further review of the Rotary Trail location

The Midland Heritage Committee meets on Tuesday the 10th this week. You can be sure the Drummond Wall situation will be discussed. Please contact the Town (526-4275) for the meeting location.

On the environmental front, the SHARE (renewable and alternate) energy group will be holding its annual general meeting on Thursday June 12th at 6:30 at Wye Marsh.

And don’t forget to attend Party on the Dock, starting at 6:30 on Friday June 20 at the Midland Town Dock. Rotary throws a great party.

Gord McKay

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday May 31, 2008

Lots of interesting items for you this week.

On Tuesday June 3rd at 7pm, the Town will discuss the SOS street-worker program that now serves the downtown Midland area. (You may speak at the discretion of the Chair) The program funding runs out at the end of June and Town needs to locate more. Should be lively.

On Wednesday June 4th at 7pm we will have our first PAC meeting in two months (“You May Speak”). No we do not have our new Director of Planning yet. One interesting item will be the discussion of moving the Canadian Tire Gas Bar from in front of the Mountainview mall to the front of the Canadian Tire property.

On Thursday June 5th from 11am to 4pm, the Severn Sound Environmental Association will be hosting an Open House at the NSSRC. They will tell you about drinking water protection plans for the area and the other good work they are involved in.

Friday June 6th, join the Mayor’s Walk. The Midland leg will be starting at the NSSRC at noon.

And on Saturday June 7th, two items:
- Penetanguishene will have a grand opening of its new Roberts Street Town Hall starting at 10am
- Enjoy free family rock wall climbing at the NSSRC from 4:40 to 7:00 pm

Lastly, the County has set July 24th and 27th (middle of the summer) as the two dates for the public meetings on the new Simcoe County Growth Plan. Locations to be advised. Hope you can attend these important sessions.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday May 25, 2008

Too nice a day for a long e-mail, so here goes.

Council will meet on Monday at 6:30 for a closed meeting to discuss some personnel matters. Then at 7:00 pm the full Council meeting (“Deputation Only”). A few of the interesting items:
- The Midland Curling Club has written the Town about a new curling facility
- The Shelter Now group will petition the Town to waive/reduce its development fees on their assisted housing project

Product Stewardship (a better approach to waste management) will be discussed at a public meeting taking place at the NSSRC this Tuesday May 27 at 7:00 pm. At the same time a public meeting will take place at the Royal Canadian Legion (196 King Street, Midland) to discuss Dr. Smith’s recommendations on the future of our area hospitals.

And lastly, Party on the Dock festivities seem to be expanding with the downtown merchants ready to “Jimmy Buffet-ize” their stores starting June 13.


Gord McKay

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday May 18, 2008

A quiet week coming up in the Town. Council members will be attending a variety of meetings including Emergency Management, Huronia Museum, Police Services, BIA and the Huronia Airport. The Town is also well into the process of hiring our new Planning Director. Should keep us all busy.

One non-Town meeting that I have a personal interest in takes place on Tuesday May 27th at 7pm at the NSSRC. It deals with “Product Stewardship”. Our society, including those of us in North Simcoe, continues to generate increasing amounts of waste. While our Blue Box allows us to divert some of this waste, the cost to taxpayers and the environment is rapidly escalating. I think we all know something more has to be done. This meeting will tell you about our waste situation, what is happening with other jurisdictions (such as BC where Product Stewardship is well established) and should see the creation of our own Simcoe Product Stewardship Council. You are cordially invited to attend.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday MAy 11, 2008

And just when you thought you could ease quietly into Spring……it gets busy!

This Monday May 12th we Councillors will start off at 5:30 pm with a Closed Meeting at the Town to discuss contracts. Then at 6:00 pm the Midland Power Utility Commission will hold its Annual General Meeting at the Town (you may attend). And finally at 7:00 pm we get to the regular General Committee Meeting (“Written Comment”). It will be a busy one including:
- Discussion of a donation to Community Link for assisted transit
- A review of what should happen with the Drummond Wall
- A presentation of a plan to build 3 soccer fields by 2010
- A new policy to have the Town promote and support tourism events
- The announcement of draft terms for the new Trails Committee. It includes a proposal to have 6 civilian members.
(If you need further information on these items, please let me know.)

On Saturday May 17th the Midland Horticultural Society will be hosting its plant sale at the NSSRC. Also on Saturday, the Penetanguishene Town Dock will be the location of the commissioning of the new 32 foot OPP boat, the “Tom Coffin”. Penetanguishene will also be holding its Emergency Services Day event at that time.

Saturday May 31st; get ready for the Annual Kids Fishing Derby, 9am to 12 noon, at the Midland Town Dock.

On June 22nd expect a visit from a group of canoeists from Quebec City. They will be completing their 10 day voyage and will be in Midland to tell us about the Champlain 2008 celebrations.

And one last item that I would like you to consider, as it is important for our economic development. The County is running an online survey until the end of May asking residents to tell them about their internet access. What they hope to determine is what your problems are so they can get the industry to fix them. The internet is our highway for the next generation. Please let the County know we want to be connected. The survey can be accessed through or by calling 705-726-9300 extension 1092 for a telephone survey.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sundcay May 4, 2008

A quieter week coming up for the Town. There will be no Planning Advisory Committee this month, due to a lack of pressing issues and the departure of our Director of Planning. A search for his replacement is underway.

The murmur at our last Council meeting sounds like the “Trails Committee” may soon be announced.

And a number of items on the Arts and Culture front:
- Direction Ontario will hold an information session about the upcoming Champlain events in our area. It will take place at Ste. Marie Among the Hurons at 2:30 pm on Thursday the 8th. If you are planning to go call Kelly Kraby at 1-877-684-6673x105
- Serenata Singers will be holding a concert on May 10th at St. Pauls church. It will feature our own amazing Jessica Lalonde singing Mozart's Exultate Jubilate.
- The Carriage House Gallery is presenting an exhibition by Donald Petit this month. If you like landscapes and want to meet a charming artist, please drop in or visit him on the web (Let me know if you can guess what the opening graphic is?

And don’t forget Mother’s day!

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday April 27, 2008

A busy week but the outside weather is delightful so I will keep this short.

Monday will feature an update by our area’s Physician Recruitment group. It takes place at the Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene at noon.

Then for Monday evening you have a real choice. At 7pm Dr. Kevin Smith will update our local hospital situation. That will happen at Penetanguishene Secondary School, 51 Dunlop Street. Also at 7pm is our monthly Council Meeting (“Deputation Only”). Some of the more interesting items on the Town agenda are:
- a final decision by Council on whether it will contribute to the new Huronia Players theatre parking lot (not quite over yet)
- a decision will be made on funding a heritage assessment of the Drummond Wall (on Fuller Ave.)
- this summer look for an $8 million renovation of our Wal-Mart; plus Donalda will go under the shovel for new sewers
- we should pass a by-law recognizing Ms. Andrea Fry as our new Town Clerk

The Ontario Arts Council will be in Town on Thursday at 7pm at the Carriage House Gallery to speak to all artists about funding and sponsorships.

Work should start on King Street this week to install the new nautically themed street lights. This is a joint project of the downtown Business Improvement Area and the Town and should take 3 to 4 weeks to complete. It will look great when it’s finished.

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday April 20, 2008

As this will be a rather quiet week meeting-wise at the Town, I will address environmental issues. If you would rather be outside enjoying our summer weather, please read no further.

Last week Council and staff received training on the new County waste arrangements. The County is not offering any public training sessions but will send out a newsletter. For further information check the County website. Interesting changes:
- Our “green bin” program will start in late September or early October
- The green bins will be delivered earlier, likely August
- Each single family home (no multi-residential) will receive a large curbside green bin and a smaller mini-bin for the kitchen
- Collection will continue weekly for regular garbage, blue bin and green bin
- You cannot put pet waste or diapers in the green bin
- The County will restrict garbage to a 1 bag limit
- This fall our Transfer Stations on Golf Link Road, where you drop off Household Hazardous Waste, will be operating 5 days a week (as opposed to 5 times a year). Should reduce the line ups.

Our annual heavy pick-up by the County will take place on Monday May 26. Make sure you get your stuff to the curb for that date.

The Town will be holding its Pitch In Week event this Wednesday at 1:30. So if you want to see your Councillors in action, some of us should be up at County Road 93 at Yonge.

Two important non-Town public meetings are coming up:
- The County will hold a review of its growth plan this Thursday at 5pm at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre
- On Monday April 28th, Dr. Kevin Smith will update us on what is happening with our local hospitals. The meeting will take place at 7pm at Penetanguishene Secondary School, 51 Dunlop St.

Gord McKay

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday April 14, 2008

I am a little delayed in getting the News to you this week. I have found my garden again and discovered that there is a lot of work to do.

The week will start with a very busy Committee Meeting at Town tonight (Monday) at 7:00 (“Written Comment”). Items include:
- The Drummond Wall on Fuller Ave. Committee will assess if it will undertake an “archeological assessment” of the importance of the wall before holding a public meeting on the matter.
- Household waste costs. Committee will receive a report showing that the Town will get a waste rebate from the County but more importantly that what you pay for waste services per household has increase by 19.3% in 2007 and an expected 15.2% in 2008
- Huronia Players will again ask the Town to help fund the new theatre
- King Street could be under construction this summer if Committee decides to spend the money it has received from the Province on resurfacing King St. from Galloway to Hwy. 12.
- Committee will discuss whether to waive the fees for the popular Rotary Party on the Dock
- A proposal is being brought forward by our Parks Department to start work on our new soccer field and lastly;
- The Mayor will discuss whether the Town will impose a curfew on late night snowmobiling. Appropriately we may not get to this item before 11pm.
Something for everyone.

There will be a SHARE environmental film night at the Penetanguishene Museum this Friday at 7pm.

And lastly, the Memorial Candlelight Tribute will take place at the Cenotaph on May 7th at 7:30.

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday April 6, 2008

The biggest news this week – spring has finally arrived. So get outside and enjoy it.

Many committee meetings going on this week. Some of the areas your Councillors and citizen members are getting involved in are:
- Midland Accessibility Advisory Committee - Monday 7 pm
- Parking Authority – Tuesday 4 pm
- Midland Heritage – Tuesday 7 pm
- Committee of Adjustment – Thursday 4:30 pm
- Library Board – Thursday 7 pm
All of these are public meetings and you may be allowed to input at the discretion of the Chair. Please confirm locations and times with the Town office if you plan to attend.

In the months ahead I will be writing more about environmental developments. But before I start, I will be joining my fellow Councillors at the Town this Monday at 10:00 am to be briefed by Simcoe County about our new waste programs. These are:
1. Curbside Organics Collection (Green Bin)
2. One Bag Garbage Limit
3. Expanded Recycling Opportunities
4. Expanded Facility Household Hazardous Waste Programs
5. New Electronics Recycling Programs.
These presentations are just for Town staff and Council. I am told that public presentations will take place in early summer.

And Midland’s Earth Hour electricity reduction, when we all turned the lights off for one hour on March 29th – 4.5%; just a little bit less than the provincial average. What have you done to conserve energy today?

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday March 30, 2008

Winter is hanging tough but the signs of spring are out there. Keep the faith.

And what a way to start. The Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal has just notified the Town that we will be receiving a grant of $3.5 million towards our library expansion. Bill Molesworth, our Chief Librarian, is to be congratulated for leading this effort. If everything turns out well work may start this year.

The North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation is set to start its “business retention and expansion” survey next month. The survey will contact 100 or more businesses in North Simcoe to determine how our economy is changing. Survey work should wrap up by the summer with results reported in the fall.

I hope you all participated in Earth Hour, on the 29th. Once the lights are out you really have to rethink your evening priorities. The Town has kept track of our energy consumption during Earth Hour and should give us an indication as to whether we in Midland are making a difference. I will let you know as soon as I get the information.

And finally, the Planning Advisory Committee meets this Wednesday the 5th at 7 pm. (“You May Speak”). A busy agenda including:
- The future of the Drummond stone wall on Fuller Avenue. This wall is part of Midland’s heritage and could be lost to development. If you are interested in heritage this would be a good one to attend.
- The sidewalk easement to the Tiffin waterfront walkway near the new condominium towers will be discussed. The intention is to move the Town’s easement rights from the North side to the South side, nearer the parking.
- The proposed site plan application for the Sayward apartment building at 742 Birchwood Drive will be addressed.

Gord McKay

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday March 22, 2008

Like all Canadian authors I have to open with a comment about our weather.

This winter has been miserable for street clearing and seeing cars as you back out of driveways. Thank heavens for our excellent Public Works department. One of the more challenging streets has been Fredrick Street that was dug up for sewers last fall. The good citizens of Fredrick have had to cope with no sidewalks, no road and a pot-hole situation that defies description. And you thought you had problems.

Our Council meeting is this Tuesday March 25th at 7:00 pm. It will be a historic meeting in that it is the final Council meeting for our Town Clerk Heather Babcock before her retirement. Heather has been a rock of sound advice and due process, as well as being a lovely lady, and will be sorely missed at Council.

The Council meeting (“Deputation Only”) should be fairly brief. There are no deputations and few contentious items on the agenda. Council is looking for a representative to help the School Board plan the location of new schools. So if that is of interest, please get your name in to myself or to Heather Babcock.

The Pesticide Committee will meet on Monday March 31st at 7:00 pm at the Town. The major agenda item is to decide “Where do we go from here”.

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday March 9, 2008

And the snow just keeps getting deeper and deeper!

A quieter week in the Town – perhaps a lot of people have escaped down south.

This Monday March 10th at 7pm will see Council Committee meeting (“Written Comment”). No real barn-burners on the agenda but you never know.

The next Pesticide Committee meeting will be March 31st at 7pm. (“Written Comment”). The Chair hopes to come up with concluding recommendations at this meeting.

A couple of interesting parties shaping up this summer. The Party on the Dock (Jimmy Buffet fans) will look for approval from Council for its June 20th date and a new “bass tournament” is being considered by your Chamber of Commerce for this September.

Bryan Peter is getting Town summer activities into gear. Registration for spring and summer programs will take place at the NSSRC on March 27, 28 and 29. Bryan has also prepared a schedule of planned events for the summer. (Please see attached) More information is available on all these events by contacting the Town’s Community Services department

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday February 24, 2008

Things are quieter around the Town this week. The “Good Roads Conference” is on in Toronto and many of your Councillors are in attendance. A good opportunity to hear what others are doing.

Accordingly, the Council meeting has been rescheduled to this Thursday at 7pm. (“Deputation Only”). Some items on the agenda:
- We will review our budget deliberations. It looks like we are headed for a Town increase of 3.2%, with an overall increase of 3.6% when County charges are included.
- The meeting will discuss a pilot project to put more bicycle parking stands on King Street (initially near Gianettos).
- And finally we will vote on recognizing “Earth Hour” - an opportunity on March 29 from 8pm to 9pm for everyone to turn out their lights and help the environment.

The Council meeting will also discuss our need for planning – strategic, economic and Little Lake. Planning is becoming more important for the Town because of the increasing pressures we face. Take building permits. The Town has issued $67.2 million in permits last year, well above historical averages. Good planning is essential.

And lastly, we had over 70 people come out this past week to hear about our need to better plan our waste management in Simcoe County. There is a big issue here for all of us. More on this to come.

Gord McKay

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday February 17, 2008

I hope that you have had a chance to enjoy your new Family Day.

A few quick notes:
- The Town will hold its final Budget meeting (“Written Comment”) this week before the matter goes to Council. The meeting should determine our recommended tax rate plus look at a number of financial policies to guide future budgets. Wednesday the 20th at 6pm in the Council Chambers
- The Town will continue its discussion of cosmetic pesticides this Thursday at 7pm at the Town. (“Written Comment”).

And as if that were not enough:
- The Simcoe Waste Coalition will be hosting an educational evening (“You May Speak”) entitled “Our Waste – Our Future”. The evening will feature three speakers and allow you to hear about how our waste is and should be managed. The event takes place on Thursday the 21st at 7:00 pm at the Penetanguishene Arena at 61 Maria St. No charge.

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday February 10, 2008

Have you noticed – 6:00 pm and it is still light. Almost time to start thinking about gardening.

Last week’s PAC meeting agreed to re-zoning the lands at 846-850 Hartman Drive. The developer (Shelter Now) intends to build transitional housing to help alleviate Midland’s need for affordable housing. The Public Hearing (You May Speak) will take place on Wednesday March 5th at 7:00 pm at the Town.

After last week’s budget meeting we are headed towards a 3.2% municipal tax increase – 3.6% when you include the County portion. And since we have no property reassessment this year (unless you improved your property) you can now determine what your 2008 taxes will be.

The Committee of Council meets this Monday at 7:00 pm. (Written Comment). A number of items:
- The Severn Sound Environmental Authority (SSEA) will present a proposal to study our Little Lake and prepare a usage plan for the Town. (SSEA is a federal/provincial/municipal organization charged with sustaining environmental quality in our region. Midland pays them an annual fee.)
- Our Community Services department has a number of interesting events:
- a free family skate on our new public holiday, February 18th
- talks have started for a new soccer field
- a Little Lake event called “Woof –Fest” in August
- a revised plan for a wakeboard event in Little Lake, likely in July.
- A request by our bus transit authority to review fares

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday February 3, 2008

We have many new readers this week. Welcome. If you want to catch up on past items please check out my “blog” at

A couple of key Town meetings coming up this week.

Town Budget - (Written Comment)
On Tuesday Feb 5th at 6:00 pm we will discuss the 2008 budget and take steps in determining your 2008 property tax rate. Some issues we will consider are the contracted annual wage increases of 3 - 3.5% and proposed commitments to the new theatre and the downtown street-workers program. Should be interesting.

Planning Advisory Committee – (You May Speak)
Wednesday the 6th at 7:00 pm. A full agenda. Items include:
- Review of the Captain’s Cove Development trail
- Proposal for a Midland-Penetaguishene trail connection
- Consideration whether some of the King St. parking spots should be used for bicycle parking

Our pesticide discussion will return on February 21st. (I will confirm the time later as I think there may be a conflict with another Town meeting.) This meeting will take place against a backdrop of proposed provincial legislation banning most uses of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. If you wish to comment on the Province’s proposal you can go to the Government of Ontario website at:
You need to do so before February 17, 2008.

And finally the Site 41 debate is not over! You are invited to a waste management information session – “Our Waste – Our Future” at the Brian Orser Arena in Penetanguishene on Thursday February 21st at 7pm. No fee and an opportunity to ask questions about your waste.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday January 27, 2008

The work of the Town never ceases. So I apologize if this e-mail is a bit longer than most.

I am often asked by residents if they can speak at Town meetings. Frankly there is no simple answer. So in future I will annotate my e-mails to tell you what you can expect at a meeting. First of all, Town meetings are open to you unless they are closed by a motion of Council. This does not happen often so please feel free to attend. Now:
1) Town Council meetings do not allow you to speak. You may contact the Clerk in advance and ask to make a deputation. You will then be scheduled into the meeting. (“Deputation Only”)
2) Most other Town meetings typically do not allow you to speak. Your speaking is at the discretion of the Chair. You may, however, write your views to the Chair of the meeting. (“Written Comment”)
3) A few meetings invite you to speak. These are Public Meetings, as advertised in the paper, and the Planning Advisory Committee meeting (at present). (“You May Speak”)
Hope this change helps you better participate in our Town meetings.

The big meeting of the week is the Town Council meeting this Monday January 28th at 7:00 pm. (Deputation Only).

Among the more interesting items:
The Snowmobile Committee will deliver its “final” recommendations to Council. It will be up to Council to decide where this goes next.

The group proposing the Wakeboard event at Little Lake Park will be back, hopefully with some good news.

A deputation will be made regarding the walking trail placement through the Captain’s Cove development. Some residents have expressed a concern about having the trail in their back-yard.

Council will consider passing a by-law to request $2.4 million from the Provincial infrastructure program for our library expansion.

And last but not least, Council will debate what salaries the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors should all be receiving in the days ahead.

The Town budget process is about to get interesting. The next meeting is February 5th at 6 pm at the Town (Written Comment). With most of the review completed, the meeting should get down to setting a near final budget and hence your tax rate for 2008.

Finally a few closing items:

There is talk of a Bass Tournament coming to Town in early September. The Chamber of Commerce seems to be taking the lead on this one.

Midland Winterfest is scheduled for next weekend. Please get out there and enjoy this great place we call home.

Our first Family Day is Monday Feb 18th. Most stores will be closed in Midland. Please check with your merchant.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday January 20, 2008

It is not often I have to snow-blow my driveway three times in one day. Winter is back with a vengeance!

A relatively quiet week at the Town. This Thursday sees the next Snowmobile Committee meeting – 7:00 pm at the Town. After more than a year of meeting, I understand Chairman Jeffery hopes to wrap it up and move recommendations onto Council.

Speaking of Council, it will next meet on Monday January 28th at 7:00 pm. Two items should garner some debate. Council will vote on whether to permit the wakeboard event on Little Lake this summer. Council will also debate what type of salary increase is appropriate for the Mayor and Councillors. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know.

This week sees a very interesting meeting being sponsored by the Huronia Communities Foundation. They will be holding an “all charities planning session”. Over 20 local charities will attend to plan how long term funding may be made available to them.

And in February the long discussed Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) exercise should get started. The project, sponsored by the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation will survey a large number of local businesses to gain insight on the local economy. A good starting point.

Lastly a plug for The Out of the Cold program. You are invited to our Open House at Knox Church on Saturday January 26th from 1-3 pm.

Gord McKay

Oh! Canada

I read with dismay the sad state of our nuclear research industry, once a flagship of this young proud country. And then the other haunting images of our past come flooding out – Canada the peacekeeping nation once respected around the globe – Canada the country of natural abundance and environmental good sense - Canada the country of fairness and justice and not the national shame of Maher Arar and Karl Heinz Schreiber.

Why have we lost our direction? Why do we now get nervous about wearing our flag on our backpack? Selling our oil has been great for the national economy but beyond that the good news gets pretty thin. The answer is not in our stars but in our leaders. Do we expect too much – assuredly. But our partisan system of parochial politics seems to doom us to forever being the best country that almost was.

The good news is that we are a people of hope. Looking to our own collective resources we can set new directions and make the needed difference. And if our leaders care to stop and listen maybe they can find their own way as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday January 10 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen

Windy! I was looking out at Midland Bay yesterday and saw one of our ice-huts headed towards Port McNicoll. Hope all are safe.

An interesting Planning Advisory Committee meeting last night. Mr. MacKell presented a summary of the many developments in Town. For 2008 we will see construction start at Bayport Village (off of Sunnyside), Captain’s Cove (on Aberdeen) along with the Wal-Mart expansion and the new Brick store. Mr. MacKell told us of the potential for more than 2,000 new dwelling units over the next 5 years. It has been a long time since Midland has seen such growth. If you would like more details please give me a call or Mr. MacKell at the Town.

Council will meet again on January 28th at 7pm (note the time change). Council will vote on the contentious Wakeboard event that was deferred from the December meeting. It looks like environmental concerns will determine the outcome.

Upcoming meetings:
- The Pesticide meeting for January 10th is cancelled. The Town is looking at February 21st as a possible reschedule date.
- The Snowmobile Committee next meets January 24th at 7pm at the Town. The Chair is hoping to prepare recommendations to Council at this meeting.

2008 may see the creation of two new Town Committees. The Mayor would like to set up a Task Force on housing. We are also looking at setting up a Trails Committee to address the development and management of all the Town’s trails.

And in closing:
- The Out of the Cold program is hosting an Open House at Knox Church on Saturday January 26th from 1-3 pm. Please come out and see our new homeless shelter.
- Garfield Dunlop MPP is hosting a levee at the Midland Legion this Sunday the 13th at 1 pm.

Gord McKay