Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday December 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Christmas music is playing in the background; gifts have been purchased; and final decisions have been made of who sits where for Christmas dinner. Take a moment to consider those who are having a tougher time this Christmas.

Your Council is still at work. A closed meeting to discuss Committee appointments takes place on Monday December the 20th at at the NSSRC. Then at is the Council Meeting (Deputation Only). A long agenda including:
-          a deputation on the town budget and taxes
-          the public meeting for the new (higher) sewer and water rates
-          discussion of our negotiations with OPSEU (town staff)

The mayors of Penetanguishene and Midland, together with staff, will meet on Tuesday to determine the initial public consultation process for our new Urban Growth Node status. While many people are still unaware of the impact of this provincial designation, what we do with it will guide our economic prospects for the next decade.  Stay tuned for more information on this.

Those of you who tried to attend the Town budget meeting last week were disappointed when it had to be cancelled at the last moment. By way of history, the previous Council had proposed a Town tax rate increase of 5% as it left office.  The new Council at its first meeting set a tax rate increase of between 2 and 3%. The next budget meeting will see Council and staff work out how that can be achieved. The next budget meetings are set for January 5th and January 17th.  All meetings are at at the NSSRC.

Your editor will take a brief Christmas break. My very best wishes to you for a memorable Christmas and a prosperous New Year. And don’t forget to vote for our hospital beds at

Gord McKay

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday December 12, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The snow is coming down soft and sticky. You have to love the beauty of a fresh snowfall. It’s the six months afterwards that test you.

At on Monday December 13th there will be an announcement of a new partnership between the Mental Health Centre in Pentanguishene and the University of Toronto. An important step for our area. If you plan on attending call Ms. Stewart at 549-3181 x2073.

At that Monday evening at the NSSRC your new Council will meet for a series of meetings. The first meeting is to review the Water and Sewer Rate Study Update. (Speak at discretion of Chair)  At it’s the General Committee meeting. (Written Comment Only). A lengthy agenda with a range of topics:
-          Discussion of allowing heavy trucks on
Fuller Ave.
-          Review of accessibility preparations for voters in our recent election
-          Launch of Midland’s Cultural and Recreational planning exercise
Following that (about ) is a special meeting of Council to discuss appointments to the Police Services Board.

On Tuesday December the 14th County Council will hold its inauguration ceremony at .  You are most welcome to attend at the Midhurst Council chamber to meet your new County Councillors (Stephan Kramp and myself representing Midland) and find out who your new Warden will be.

Wednesday the 15th sees us right back to more meetings. At at the NSSRC we will enter a closed meeting to discuss contractual matters. Then at we will start our second budget meeting for the new Council. At the last meeting, Council agreed to set a Town budget somewhere between 2 and 3 %. At this meeting we will work with staff to identify how that will be accomplished. Should be a good discussion.

A little lighter for the remainder of the week;
            - Midland police retirees luncheon takes place at on Thursday the 16th
- The four northern municipalities kick off discussion on Friday as to how they cab work together to bring jobs and economic development to our area.

That’s it!  Please vote every day until Dec 31st  We need those hospital beds.

Gord McKay

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday December 5, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Civitan folks organized a fabulous Santa Claus parade. And just in time - winter arrived today with a vengeance.

On Monday December 6th there are two special events, both starting at at the NSSRC. The first is a ceremony commemorating the Ecole Polytechnique slayings that occurred on this date. This special event also serves as a public expression of our abhorrence of violence against women.

The second event is the investiture of your new Midland Council. Your new Councillors will be taking their oaths of office and then telling you of some of their intentions for the coming term. All are welcome.

Then on Tuesday its right to work.  Your new Council will meet at at the NSSRC to debate and decide upon your municipal tax rate for 2011.

Wednesday December the 8th is the Planning Advisory Committee meeting. A number of interesting items including:
-          a report on the usage of our downtown parking for summer 2010
-          a discussion of the “Chew Portico” facing the Hillcrest nursing home
-          introduction of the public consultation documents for the Town’s Employment Lands study

And to round out the week you may want to drop into the Midland Area Reading Council’s Christmas reception on Friday December 10th from to at their office at
67 4th Street

Gord McKay

P.S. Please vote every day at  We need those hospital beds.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday November 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

You may expect me to be waxing eloquently about the delightful first snowfall that we received in Midland on Friday – don’t count on it.

A busy week ahead, with a splash of Christmas. On Monday November 29 the YMCA is offering Gifts to Give at the NSSRC from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This event re-gifts unused items for those who need a helping hand this Christmas.

On Tuesday November 30th, the Province will be hosting an information session on its recent “growth plan” decisions. The briefing takes place at 2:30 pm at the Southshore Community Centre in Barrie. You can expect to hear a lot about growth and economic development over the next few years.

Wednesday starts the inauguration ceremonies for the new Councils:

- Tiny inauguration – Wednesday December 1st at 1:00 pm

- Penetanguishene – Wednesday December 1st at 7:00 pm

- Tay – Thursday December 2nd at 7:30 pm

- Midland – Monday December 6th at 7:00 pm

All inaugurations take place in their respective Town Halls, except Midland’s which will be held at the NSSRC.

On Friday December 3rd the Silver Stick Hockey tournament comes to Town. If you love youth hockey this is the event to see. Puck drops at 1:45 pm at the NSSRC.

On Saturday December 4th get ready for the Civitan Santa Claus parade in Midland. It starts at 1:00 pm downtown. Dress warmly.

And in closing our Georgian Bay General Hospital challenge team has now moved up to 8th spot. If we are to get the $100,000 prize for new beds we need you to get clicking. Please vote every day at We need those hospital beds.

Gord McKay

Monday, November 22, 2010

Draft - Midland Use of Town Vehicles Policy

Ladies and Gentlemen

The section quoted below is the core of our Town's draft use of Town vehicles policy.  Comments appreciated.


5.07     Guidelines
a)     Vehicle Provision for Staff During Regular Working Hours: Each Department Head shall determine which, if any, employee(s) shall have access to and use of Town vehicles in their departments. No Town vehicle shall be used for personal purposes.
b)       Vehicle Provision for Staff Outside of Regular Working Hours: Where use of a Town vehicle is made available after normal working hours, the vehicle is provided exclusively for Town business and not for personal use. (See ‘personal use’ under definitions)
c)      Vehicles at Place of Residence: Employees shall, unless otherwise authorized by the Department Head, not take a Town vehicle home. Such determination to take a vehicle home shall be based on the on-call or standby status of an employee and the need for vehicle use for special events.
d)     Vehicle Restriction: In all cases, Town vehicles will be returned to the employer during vacation time, office closures, any prolonged sick leave and leaves of absence. (i.e. over 24 hours)
e)       Sole Right of Use: any person authorized to use a Town vehicle will have the sole right to operate the vehicle and shall not allow unauthorized individuals to operate or access the vehicle or equipment. No personal passengers shall be allowed at anytime.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday November 21, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Mother Nature is starting to test us with a few snow flurries. But with a high tomorrow of 16c I can put off fueling the snowblower for another week – I hope.

Monday November 22nd sees the last Council meeting of the old Council (Deputation Only). It takes place at 7:00 pm in the NSSRC. A short agenda including:

- the Town’s new employee use of vehicles policy

- recommended appointments to the downtown BIA Board

- vote on by-laws authorizing $3.5 million in debt financing

Tuesday November 23rd at 9:00 am in Midhurst is the last meeting of the outgoing County Council. County Council has a direct impact on the residents of Midland in everything from tax rate, to waste services to social housing. I plan to provide you more information on your County Council in the years ahead.

On Thursday November 25th at 7:00 the YMCA is celebrating an evening of Peace with music, poetry and guest speakers, This year’s Peace Medallion recipient is Erin Chapelle, a new Councillor in Penetanguishene. This event takes place at 334 King St. in Midland.

At 6:00 pm this Friday the Town hosts its annual staff Christmas party. This festive event honors our staff and many community volunteers.

Two closing items:

- your new Council will continue the discussion on your taxes in December. You may wish to take a look at my blog on the topic at

- please vote every day at We need those hospital beds.

Gord McKay

Taxes - Where Do You Stand

Midland Town Council is currently embroiled in a budget debate. The two positions at the table are:

1) keep going as we have over the past few years with Town tax increases of 3.5% or more or;

2) get taxes under control by keeping increases over the next four years to no more than the rate of inflation, roughly 1.5%

I am on the side of keeping our tax increases under the rate of inflation and here are some of the reasons why.

1) We have just finished an election. People elected a mayor whose platform included keeping tax increases “below the rate of inflation”. The people have voted.

2) Midland has the highest tax rate in Simcoe County at 1.56%. A high tax rate keeps people and industry from moving to Midland. Let me explain. If I am thinking of buying a $250,000 home somewhere in Simcoe County I will pay $600 more a year in taxes in Midland than I will in Collingwood or $1,800 a year more than in Tiny. High taxes make it harder to attract jobs and new residents.

3) Midland has many citizens who depend upon social supports - seniors, the unemployed, ODSP recipients - to name a few. Social support payments are indexed to the rate of inflation. Here is a recent example: “All OW clients will benefit from the increase as of December 1/2010. To say it is a modest increase is an understatement, it amounts to approx. 1.2% or $7.00/month for a single person.” If our vulnerable citizens are seeing their incomes going up at the rate of inflation, how do we justify to them that their taxes are going up a lot faster?

Midland citizens are rightly proud of the many services they receive from the Town. So when anyone says “getting taxes under control” the immediate reaction is that services will be cut and jobs will be lost. What I would say to those individuals is that getting our costs under control is essential for Midland’s well being. No organization can grow without regard for its “customers” ability to pay. Secondly my background in working with organizations to improve efficiencies has shown that service cutbacks are a last resort. During the election campaign Town staff and residents alike came forward with ideas to save money without cutting services.

I am confident that we can get our taxes under control. All it needs is political will and working together with the citizens of Midland.


Your Councillors are on both sides of this debate. So what would you tell them? Keep our tax increases and service delivery as they are or control our taxes and look for more cost-efficient ways to deliver our services. I would like to hear from you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday November 14, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Matthew, a precocious eight-year old who I know well, put a donation box in his father’s store to raise Christmas funds for the Midland Children’s Toy Drive. On Remembrance Day someone stole the box. Matthew’s response “maybe they were desperate”. If you can help Matthew and the Toy Drive, toys can be dropped off at the Elegant Gourmet.


The Town continues its budget discussion on Monday November the 15th at 5:30 pm at the NSSRC. (You May Not Speak) This should be the last budget discussion under the old Council. Monday also sees the start of the Out of the Cold season at Knox church.

On Tuesday November the 16th Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture is sponsoring the “Alternate Energy and the Family Farm Symposium”. The event starts at 6:30 pm at the Simcoe County Museum.

On Thursday November the 18th from 4-6:00 pm you are invited to attend the Midland Area Reading Council opening of its new book store in the Midland library.

Friday is special as we get into the Christmas spirit by lighting our Community Christmas Tree. The procession starts at 6:00 pm at the corner of King and Yonge, then down to the tree lighting at the Town Dock.

And on Saturday get set to kick-up your heels at Rosewood’s Sparkle ‘n Spurs fundraising dinner. A lot of fun and an excellent cause.

A few closing notes:
- Please continue to vote at for our much needed hospital beds. If you have voted correctly you will be rewarded with a “Wow” or “Awesome” message.
- The YMCA will hold its Gifts to Give event again this year on November 29th. Please look through your cupboards for quality unwanted gift items. They can be taken in advance to the YMCA office at 334 King Street.
- If you want a perky view of how we can do a better job of getting rid of our waste electronics take a look at
Gord McKay

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday November 7, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

A crisp bright week as we pause to remember our veterans.

The Town meets at 6:30 pm on Monday November 8th in the NSSRC for an in camera meeting. Then at 7:00 pm is the General Committee meeting (Written Input Only). A relatively short meeting including:
- information about new rules allowing landlords to put “suite meters” for electricity into individual rental units. More information at
- work is about to begin on our Town dock. The DFO is doing repairs before they turn dock ownership over to the Town
- work on our skateboard park is to start next week
- Georgian Bay Snow Riders wants to organize a Polar Plunge and Puddle Jump in Little Lake as part of this February’s Winterfest – volunteers?

Thursday November 11th is Remembrance Day. We in Midland have so many to thank on this special occasion. Ceremonies will start before 11:00 am at the Cenotaph. You want to be there just after 10:00 am.

Friday November 12th sees the start of a special “INTO THE COLD” initiative. Katimavik youth will be camping (sleeping outside), in the parking lot of Knox Church, Midland from 6:30 pm Friday until 9:30 am on Saturday November 13th. M&M Meat Shops will be holding a BBQ; music will be provided; money raised will go to Midland Out of the Cold.

On Saturday November 13th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Georgian College Midland Campus invites you to an Open House. Learn about academic programs, admissions, housing and residence life, bursaries and general finance, athletic facilities and take a campus tour.

Two closing items.

Our hospital is trying to help our community by purchasing much needed hospital beds through a charitable giving program sponsored by Pepsi. Simply put, between now and December 31st, the community that “clicks the most” wins $100,000 for a worthy cause. This is your chance to buy new beds and not pay a cent. Please log on to and then vote every day. It takes me about 1 minute each day – we cannot win without your help.

Last week I asked you if you wanted to keep News from the Town as it was or change it to include more content. Many people responded (thank you) and asked for NFTT to be continued as it was. And so it shall be. I will look for other ways to get more background material out to those who want it.

Gord McKay

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday October 31, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Monday’s election set Midland upon a new course. While appreciative of the good work of Jim Downer, the people recognized that to resolve some of our key issues, such as taxes and jobs, we are going to have to change the way that we do things.

In keeping with that theme, I am changing the way that I will communicate with you. News from the Town has been useful in letting you know about upcoming events for the Town and Council, but it provides little on the background or policy implications. So which is better? - to suspend News from the Town and switch to a website; or leave news from the Town as it is and put more policy related comment out through other means. Let me know what should be done with News from the Town over the next four years.


The International Festival of Authors comes to Midland on November 1st and 2nd starting at 7:30 pm at the Midland Library. Tickets are a modest $10, available at the door.

Usually November 3rd would see the regular Planning Advisory Committee meeting. The meeting has been cancelled for November.

On Thursday November 4th your will have to get up at 7:00 am to enjoy the Employer Breakfast (no charge) at the Brooklea Golf and County Club. Your chance to hear about matters related to employment in our area. Please RSVP to the NSCFDC at 526-1371 ext.110.

Friday November 5th at the Village Square Mall in Penetanguishene sees the start of the MARC used book sale. Always a lot of fun. Friday hours are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, while Saturday hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

And Saturday November 6th is reserved for some good music. Six different groups will celebrate the brilliant legacy of Jack Beauchamp from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Midland Legion. Tickets are $10.00

Gord McKay

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday October 24, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Election eve and all Midland pauses to reflect on who can best lead our Town over the coming four years. Some big decisions ahead so please cast your ballot. It’s important for our future.

Voting takes place at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, starting at 10:00 am and finishing at 8:00 pm. You will need a piece of ID with your picture and street address. If you need a ride to the polls, let me know.

Post election, a relatively quiet week. The “old” Council will meet on Thursday October 28th at 5:30 pm at the NSSRC to continue the budget discussion. Should be an interesting meeting.

And if you want something a bit lighter, Thursday also sees the launch of the Huronia Players 2010/11 season. The first play, Weekend Comedy, is sure to make you laugh. Tickets are available at the NSSRC – call 526-9395.
On Friday October 29th the Villa Retirement Lodge is celebrating its 25th year in business with a New Look! Please join the residents for their Grand Reveal from 2-4pm, Yonge Street at Sixth.

Gord McKay

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday October 17, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The days are cooler but the sunshine and flaming autumn leaves we enjoyed on Saturday would brighten any heart.

Monday October 18th at 7:00 pm sees the last Council meeting before the election. (Deputation Only). Agenda items include;
- a vote on a one year snowmobile trail agreement
- an update on staffing level changes for 2011
- a final vote on the heritage designation for the Drummond Wall
- decision on two debentures: $2.5 million mainly for the library and $2.1 million for pump station #4

On Wednesday October 20th you have to get up early for the Christian Community Breakfast, starting at 6:30 am at the NSSRC. Then from 1 - 4:30 pm the Karma Food market is hosting an eco-food event at 74 Main Street in Penetanguishene.

On Thursday October 21st we celebrate Small Business Week with a breakfast at the Best Western. The event is hosted by the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation. The breakfast costs $20. Registration opens at 7:00 am. The speaker will address the topic “Will the Economic Recovery be Sustained?”

Saturday and its time for a taste of Carribean food and music. The GBGH is hosting its annual gala dinner at the Best Western starting at 7:30 pm. You will need a ticket, so call Shelly at 526-1300, ext. 3139.

The municipal election takes place Monday October 25th. Voting hours are between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm at the NSSRC. Please remember that you will need proper ID such as a drivers licence or a photo Ontario Health Card,

Gord McKay

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday October 9, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us. The weather is glorious. I will keep this short.

Town staff is now working out of the new Town Hall. Construction work is still all around but we are open for business.

This Sunday October 10th SHARE will plant two apple trees as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party Day. The ceremony takes place at 2:00pm at the Penetanguishene Community Garden on 144 Fox Street.

On Tuesday October 12th at 12 noon you are invited to share a free chili lunch with the people who provide Out of the Cold. The lunch will be provided in the shelter at Knox Presbyterian Church.

Then at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC the Town will host its General Committee meeting. (Written Input Only). A very short agenda including:
- a petition by the Little Lake Village Condominium Corp. to consider reducing their taxes
- Georgian Bay Snow Riders requesting trail access in Midland

Friday the 15th is the annual Wye Marsh dinner and fundraiser. For tickets please contact the Wye Marsh. Festivities start with a silent auction followed by dinner at 7:00 pm.

2010 is the 400th anniversary of Etien Brule’s arrival in Huronia. A special commemorative event will take place at the Huronia Museum in the Huron/Wendat Native village longhouse shortly after 1:00 pm on Sunday October 17th.

And finally Sue Bannon and the good people at the Midland Area Reading Council need your help. Sue is trying to get funding from the AVIVA Community Fund and needs you to show support by signing onto the contest website. Please help by registering at After your confirmation email arrives, follow the links to finalize your registration. Please do this soon – time is short.

Gord McKay

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday October 3, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

I took in my last tomato from the garden yesterday. The trees are a blaze of colour. The heavy blankets are back on the bed. Fall is upon us.

The Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness is hosting an “all candidates” meeting with a difference - its all about affordable housing. The meeting takes place on Tuesday October 5th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. It will take place at St. Paul’s United Church on King Street.

On Wednesday October 6th at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC the Town’s regular business returns with a Public Hearing. The hearing will allow you to speak to the proposed conversion of Holy Cross church on Yonge St. into a funeral home. Then right after that meeting is the PAC meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair). A short meeting including:
- review of the Baggio property re-zoning on Manly St
- the Town’s response to the Provincial Policy Statement

Thursday takes us right back to politics. The Chamber of Commerce “all candidates” meeting will take place at the NSSRC starting at 5:30 pm. Some questions from the floor will be permitted. This is your chance to hear about your future municipal leaders.

On Friday October the 8th, Garfield Dunlop is hosting a Senior’s Information Day. It is being held at the Highland Inn starting at 9:00 am. A good chance to hear about the services for seniors in our community,

And in closing, if you want to see my position on affordable housing, visit my blog at

Gord McKay

Friday, October 1, 2010

Midland Needs Affordable Housing

Everyone needs adequate housing – there is little debate about that. And Midland, like many other towns in Ontario, does not have sufficient affordable housing for its residents.

In 2007, the North Simcoe County Alliance To End Homlessness* did an extensive survey of housing supply in Midland. They also interviewed many of the social agencies in Town to determine what sort of demand existed for housing. Their conclusion? That Midland needed at least 200 more low-cost housing units just to meet the existing need.

Since the time of the study, three years ago, our economy has declined. As jobs have been lost, adequate housing has become even less affordable. One measure of this widening gap can be seen in our local reliance on Ontario Works, a government support for those with low or no income.

............................ Average Number of Ontario Works Cases (Jan to Aug)

2008...................................716 / mo
2009...................................903 / mo
2010..................................1043 / mo

Over the last two years the OW case load in Midland has grown by some 45%. The demand for low cost housing is not far behind.

The need for affordable housing does not just impact those with low incomes. Many of our seniors of modest means want a smaller, manageable home where they can maintain their independence. However, most of the new developments in Midland are well outside their price range.

As your mayor I will work with Council, the housing agencies and the citizens of Midland to:
- Plan a healthy balance of affordable housing for Midland
- Work with developers and the County to ensure Midland is building the homes needed by all its residents


* The Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness is a non-governmental agency comprised of 70 area Communities who are committed to eliminating homelessness. For more information go to:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday September 26, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

How quickly we turn to fall, even though summer has made a few valiant last attempts to return to Midland.

Your Council starts its fall meetings with an in camera meeting at 6:30 pm on Monday September 27th. Then at 7:00 pm in the NSSRC is the regular Council Meeting (Deputation Only). This is the last Council meeting before the election. Likely a long but non-contentious evening including:
- a presentation on the upcoming (2015) Champlain celebrations
- a further request by the Midland Safe Communities program for funding
- acceptance of the Town’s Accessibility Plan update

On Tuesday September 28th starting at 11:00 am, Community Link will be representing a discussion of the services available for seniors in our community. The presentation takes place in the Askennonia room at NSSRC. A lunch is provided.

Thursday September 30th at 5:30 pm will see our second 2011 budget discussion. This meeting at the NSSRC will focus on the operating budget. The operations budget typically represents 85% of your Town’s expenditures.

And finally a political note. On Wednesday September 29th at 8:00 pm the Rogers Local Politically Speaking show will feature a discussion between the incumbent mayor and your editor. Should make for some interesting viewing.

Gord McKay

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday September 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Midland is a busy place this week, even though it is pretty quiet at Town Hall. Must be the election.

On Wednesday September the 22nd at 10:00 am, Georgian College celebrates the opening of its Aboriginal Programs Campus at our Georgian College - Midland facility.

Later on Wednesday, at 7:00 pm the Midland Area Reading Council holds its AGM at the Public Library. Always a welcoming time with good food!

On Thursday the 23rd at 11:30 am it’s time for the Huronia Communities Foundation AGM at the NSSRC. Your chance to hear about the individuals and organizations in our midst that are helping out those in need.

On Friday its time to get out for a candlelight walk. Community Living Huronia is sponsoring a Parade of Lights starting at 7:00 pm starting at the corner of King and Elizabeth. You are asked to RSVP at 527-4070 ext 225

Then on Saturday you have two events of choose from. The Midland Legion is holding their Summer Ending Pig Roast starting at 5:00 pm at the Legion. Tickets are $12 at the Legion.

Saturday also sees the return of Titus and Friends - American Gospel and Christian Contemporary Music. They will be entertaining us all starting at 7:30 pm at Knox Church, 539 Hugel. Titus was in Midland in February and was enthusiastically received by a large audience.

Gord McKay

Friday, September 17, 2010

Midland Needs New Jobs

The recent downturn in the economy has hit Midland particularly hard. Many of our citizens have been laid off, given reduced hours or been forced to commute outside of Midland to find employment. And less work means less money for our residents, our shop-keepers and our Town.

Our economic problems are not new. While exact numbers are hard to find, Midland’s and Pentanguishene’s largest industrial employers have lost some 900 positions since 2007 (This includes the closure of HPP and Bruin.)

The jobs that remain have been increasingly low-paying, leaving us well below wage levels found in other parts of Ontario.

......................................................Midland ....................Ontario

Median full-time earnings ...........$38,418 ...................$44,748

Statistics Canada 2006

Good jobs are essential to Midland and our future. In today’s world we must compete for those jobs with every other community in Ontario, and beyond. Attracting new jobs starts with a plan. Midland currently has no such plan. That must change.

Fortunately Midland has the raw material to get its economy back on track. These advantages include our remaining manufacturers, Georgian College - Midland and its “trades” mandate, and the concentration of health related institutions in our area.

As your mayor I will work with Council, the businesses and the citizens of Midland to:
- create a practical economic plan that will re-build our economy
- establish a working team to bring jobs back to Midland
- engage federal and provincial governments in helping us meet our goals

Media Release - Background

Midland (and area) industrial employers have been in decline for some time.

Year ...................Industrial Occupations* ............Total Labour Force

2001 ....................1,110 ...........................................7,355

2006 ...................1,030 ...........................................8,035

* Statistics Canada - Category J: Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities

In recent years, Midland and area large manufacturers have lost many jobs.

Employment at Major Manufacturers in Midland and Penetanguishene
(Includes full time, part time and seasonal positions)

........................2007 ...........2008 .............2009 ............2010

Elcan ...............717 ..............830 ................930 ..............930

Techform .......600 ............400 ................300 ..............300

TRW ...............480 ............250 .................205 ..............205

CCL .................350 ............240 .................225 ..............180

Baytech ..........300 ............300 ................300 ..............300

Kindred ..........250 ............211 ..................210 ..............185

Schott (Daysco) 203 ........193 .................200 ..............170

Weber ............175 .............170 .................136 ..............136

Bruin ..............130 - - -

HPP ...............100 - - -

Total ..............3,305 ..........2,594 .............2,506 .........2,406

Source: Business Times Top 100 Report

For those that do have jobs, earnings are well behind the rest of the Province.

...........................................................Midland ...........Ontario

Median earnings (from a job) ........$24,431 .........$29,335

Median full-time earnings ...............$38,418 .........$44,748

Median household income .............$45,256 .........$60,455

Statistics Canada – 2006

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday September 12, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The glorious days of early fall have started. I will be able to improve my weather commentary in the days ahead as election door-knocking gets you outside a fair bit.

Your Council meets this Monday September 13th at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC for the monthly General Committee meeting (Written Input Only). A fairly short and innocuous agenda including:
- a donation of land at 154 Yonge St. to the Town for a park
- a recommendation for the purchase of a $430,000 fire truck
- a report showing the continuing high rate of parking infractions in downtown Midland

On Tuesday September 14th you have your choice.
- at 4:00 pm at NSSRC is a meeting to discuss the skateboard park renovations (all welcome)
- at 7:00 pm at the Public Library is the Heritage Committee (all welcome)

Thursday at 5:30 pm at the Town’s Dominion Ave. offices sees the first of our budget meetings. The discussion will focus on capital requirements. This meeting is important as it establishes the base for our spending intentions in 2011.

And lastly on Saturday, starting at 10 am be sure to attend the Midland Area Reading Council book sale at the Little Lake Park pavilion.

Gord McKay

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday September 5, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Who turned off the heat? One day its summer and the next day we get a frigid reminder that fall is coming. Time for schools, industry and your Town to get back to regular business.

I hope that you all have had a great summer and are ready for an interesting fall. As you know this is an election year. Please be aware that your editor is running for Mayor of Midland. I will do my best to keep News from the Town non-partisan throughout the campaign. But I intend to devote one edition to the Town’s challenges and future.

The upcoming week is quiet:
- Public Works Committee meets on Wednesday September the 8th at 2:00 pm at the Town offices (no agenda)
- Committee of Adjustment meets on Thursday September the 9th at 6:30 pm. Please call the Town for location (526-4275)
The following week will see the start of the Town’s 2011 budget process.

On the election front
- Election Day is Monday October 25th
- All nominations need to registered with the Town Clerk before 2:00 pm on Friday September 10th
- Advance polls are at the NSCSRC on:
o October 13 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
o October 14 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
o October 16 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

Gord McKay

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Media Release: Better Control of Taxes

Midlanders receive a lot of services from our Town – everything from fire protection, to policing, to sports programs and indirectly, waste pick-up. These services help make Midland a great place to live.

Midlanders pay a lot of money for these services. Midland has one of the highest residential tax rates in the province. This fact has become a major impediment for residents and businesses wanting to locate to Midland. For example, a family can save $400 a year in taxes by buying their $200,000 home in Collingwood or Barrie instead of Midland. High tax rates are deterring people from coming to Midland.

Equally concerning is that many people are having a tough time finding the money to stay in their homes. Many of Midland’s seniors are on fixed incomes. These incomes are indexed to the inflation rate. Over the last 5 years the taxes paid on the average home in Midland have increased by over 16%, almost double the rate of inflation for the same period. Increased taxes are hitting the elderly hard.

Midland needs good services – that is a given. We also need better ways to control the cost of our services and reduce the tax impact upon residents. As your Mayor I will work with Council to make sure that:
- tax increases are kept to the rate of inflation, or below
- all Town spending is reviewed to ensure cost efficiencies


Media Release – Background Information

Midland’s residential tax rate is among the highest in the province. It has been among the highest for many years.

Residential Tax Rate (includes Town, County, Waste, School)

Year .........Midland ......Penetanguishene .......Collingwood .........Barrie

2002 .........1.782 ..............1.771 ..........................1.732 ...................1.515

2003 ..........1.742 ..............1.728 .........................1.519 ...................1.436

2004 ..........1.565 ..............1.539 .........................1.361 ..................1.334

2005 ..........1.641 ..............1.629 .........................1.428 ..................1.425

2006 ..........1.518 ..............1.495 .........................1.301 ..................1.325


2008 ..........1.64

2009 ..........1.60

2010 ..........1.565 ..............1.533 ..........................1.38 ....................1.344

A high tax rate puts Midland at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting new people and business to our community. Taxes can be the deciding factor:

...................2010Residential Tax Rate .........Taxes on $200,000 Home

Barrie .................1.344 ...........................................$2,688
Collingwood .......1.380 ...........................................$2,760
Midland .............1.565 ............................................$3,130

And within North Simcoe, the tax disadvantage is even sharper.

...................2010 Residential Tax Rate Taxes on $300,000 Home*

Tiny .....................1.100 (with garbage and water) $3,300
Midland ...............1.565 ..............................................$4,695

( * In Tiny the median home price is about $300,000.)

This tax disadvantage, in part, deters people from moving to Midland. Statistics Canada shows that Midland’s population growth for the period 1996 to 2006 actually declined by 17 people.

Year ...........Midland ..............Ontario

1996 .............16,347 ..............10,753,000

2001 .............16,214 ..............11,410,000

2006 .............16,330 ..............12,160,000

10 yr % increase 0% ..................13%

(Statistics Canada has accounted for boundary changes and has adjusted the 2006 numbers at the Town’s request.)

Using MPAC assessment numbers, the Town identifies the average house price in Midland each year. The Town then calculates the annual tax increase for the average priced house.

Year .............Tax Increase for Average House

2006 ................................2.9%

2007 ................................4.4%

2008 ................................3.5%

2009 ................................2.2%

2010 ................................2.3%

Five year total increase 16.2%

The Bank of Canada five-year change to CPI to July 2010 is 9.0%.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday July 3, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Its summertime…and the living is easy.

The Town winds down a bit over the summer so News from the Town will be taking a bit of a break. If any major developments occur, though I will do my best to keep you informed.

On Monday July 5th the Town will hold a closed meeting at 6:00 pm at the NSSRC. That same evening the YMCA invites the community to celebrate young entrepreneurs in our community with a reception starting at 7:30 at the Employment Resource Centre on King St. at Elizabeth.

On Wednesday July 7th at 7:00 pm a Public Meeting will hear your views on the arrangement the Town made with the site developer to preserve the Drummond Wall. Then at approximately 7:10 pm is the PAC meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair). A couple of interesting items;
- Mr. Baggio, owner of the old Manly St. School property at 384 Hugel, is seeking a zoning amendment to build 14 condominium units
- Our Planning Department will tell us about their plan to reassess the Town’s Employment Lands, especially those that are zoned Industrial.

On Thursday the 8th of July, is the opening of the Midland Area Reading Council’s new book store at 756 Yonge St. at 4;00 pm.

And on Saturday July 10th, two items for your calendar:
- The Midland Library Garden Tour takes place in a garden near you
- A citizens action group, AWARE, is meeting to discuss the upcoming election at 10:00 am at the Legion in Penetanguishene

This fall, you will be asked to go to elect a new Council for Midland. Take the time this summer to visit your neighbours and talk about what is working well and what needs to change. Then on October 25th, please get out and vote.

Gord McKay

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday June 26, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

What a week for the Town. From the devastation and upset wrought by the tornado, to the remarkable response from fire, police, ambulance and other services from across southern Ontario to a sigh of relief when we learned that there were no fatalities or serious injuries. While the memory of the event will linger, Midland is recovering quickly. I hope you are all safe.

Your Town gets back to work on Monday June 28th with a closed meeting at 6:30 pm and then the regular Council meeting at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC (Deputation Only). A lengthy meeting including:
- Presentation of the Senior of the Year Award to Vern Sweeting (posthumously)
- Four deputations including
o affordable housing by Sharon Lapham
o an update on GBGH by Paul Heinrich
- A “Public Meeting” on new fees for the NSSRC programs
- Resolutions to have a second “Treasure Day” on October 2nd and a Town-wide garage sale weekend on July 17 and 18 (no permits required)
- With the demolition of Regent School well underway, the Town will receive a section of land at the end of Hannah St. for parkland
- A tender to pave the final section of the Tiffin Trail

While it is not on our agenda, the County presented its 2010 Strategic Plan to County Council this past week. It shows a very significant growth in debt financing from some $67 million in 2010 to over $200 million by 2015. The County will also see its credit rating drop as its debt level becomes 70% of its operating revenues. We Midlanders own our share of the County debt. I will see if I can get some further information brought to the Council table.

Get ready for Canada Day on Thursday July 1st. All sorts of activities at Little Lake Park starting at 11am. Check out the poster at. And yes, the fireworks are in Midland this year.

Gord McKay

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday June 19, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring is about wrapped up. Schools are ready to shut their doors. Tourists are again thinking of Georgian Bay. Get ready,

A quiet week in the Town.
- Library construction is now completed. Well worth a visit. The official ribbon cutting will take place in July.
- The two trial dog parks should be open this week. The one at Little lake is by the volley-ball courts, the other is at Tiffin Park. Your chance to take man’s best friend for a run.
- The skateboard park at Little Lake is slated to be refurbished this summer.

A few items for your calendar:
- The County has rescheduled its Waste Strategy meeting to Tuesday the 22nd at 1:30 pm at Midhurst
- Merchants, artists and those who just love a good time are setting out on mid-summer night’s cruise. June 22nd at 7:30. A fun evening of cruising and music on the Georgian Queen. Tickets still available.
- The Senior Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented at the NSSRC on Wednesday June 23rd at 1:00 pm

And lastly, the Town has followed up the Sundowner Road well issue with an extensive testing of area wells. Initial indications are that our water supply. both public and private. is in good shape. A report will be released by the Town shortly.

Gord McKay

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday June 6, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Summer is just around the corner and the Town is looking as green and pretty as ever.

Tuesday June the 8th at 7:00 pm is the scheduled Heritage Committee meeting at the Midland Public Library. The meeting may be moved so if you are planning to attend, please call the Town office.

On Thursday June the 10th is a very important meeting for individuals who plan to run in the upcoming election. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be at the NSSRC at 7:00 pm to describe the rules for nomination, campaign finances and candidate responsibilities. Your chance for an early look at who’s interested. All are welcome.

And Friday June 11th at 6:30 pm its Party on the Dock. This Rotary sponsored event has become a Midland “must attend”. Tickets available at HGR and Tripp’s Paint, as well as at the gate. Your chance to welcome in the summer season in style.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday May 30, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

I was at the Farmer’s Market this morning and they were selling local radishes the size of eggs. With the summery weather we are having, everything is growing.

This week is Hunger Awareness week. Peter Thomas (Salvation Army) is inviting everyone to come out and see the reality faced by those in our community who live in poverty.
Visit the St. Vincent de Paul food bank - Tuesday June 1st at St. Margaret’s Church, 589 Hugel St.: 10 am -- 4 pm
Line-up for the “Hunger Awareness Buffet” on Wednesday June 2nd, 6:30 pm at Ste Marie. Your $35 cash only donation goes to help the Good Food Box.
Participate in the “Poverty Game” where you learn how to live in poverty. Thursday June 3rd at the Salvation Army Food Bank, Dominion Ave. Choice of times are 1 - 2:30 pm or 3 - 4:30pm

Planning Advisory Committee (Speak at Discretion of Chair) meets on Wednesday June 2nd at 7:00 pm in the Bill Thompson Room of the NSSRC (Many Town meetings have moved to the NSSRC because of construction). A straight forward agenda including:
Amendments to the Midland Bay Estates Site Plan due to the designation of the Drummond Wall
The Town is getting more involved in the potential OMB hearing to determine the fate of the County’s Official Plan – (The Plan should help decide our future population and employment targets)
The County will offer organics and recyclables collection to all schools in the County in September 2010. (Another step towards Zero Waste)

This year’s edition of Doors Open Huronia starts on Friday June 4th with a reception at the Huronia Museum starting at 7:00 pm. Then on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm please tour our historic homes. Tours of our historic downtown will start at the “Swan” sculptor on the waterfront.

On Saturday June 5th at 11 am there will be a special Trail Opening ceremony on the waterfront trail behind the Captain’s Cove development (see map attached).

And lastly, the Town is continuing its testing program to better understand the scope of pollutants found in the Sundowner Road well. The Town will be testing private wells within half a kilometer of the Sundowner site. Results should be available before mid-June.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday May 23, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

What a beautiful Victoria Day weekend. Sunday morning started with a visit to our new Midland Farmers Market. Fabulous. If you want the fun of wandering around outdoor stalls and having a choice of everything from organic lamb to a moisturizer made with honey, it’s the place to be. Every Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Bay Street west of King.

County Council starts its work at 9:00 am on Tuesday May 25th with a vote to revoke the Certificate of Approval for the Site 41 landfill. This vote may put an end to the Site 41 landfill once and for all

The Town begins its work at 7:00 pm on Tuesday May 25th with a Council meeting at the Town (Deputation Only). A fairly short agenda including:
- A deputation from Peter Ridout addressing affordable housing in Midland
- A flurry of petitions:
o Over 200 people signed to stop new curbs from limiting access to the Arch restaurant property
o Over 15 people petitioned to stop the sidewalk work on Manly St.
o Some 160 people expressed concern about new taxi meters proposed in a draft Town by-law
It is good to see so many citizens engaged in issues affecting our Town.
- Further discussion on whether to invite the Ministry of the Environment to address Council on leachate coming from the North Simcoe Transfer Station property
- And lastly, the contentious Procedural By-law will be tabled for a vote. This by-law in part seeks to restrict how long and how often your Councillors can speak to an issue.

And on the social calendar:
- Erin Chappelle and the Huronia Foundation for the Arts are hosting a Meet the Artists drop-in on Thursday May 27th at 7:00 at the Karma Market, Main Street Penetanguishene
- Walker Electric proudly celebrates its 75th anniversary Open House at their shop at 169 Bay St. between 1:00 and 5:00 pm on Friday May 28th.
- The Kids Fishing Derby takes place at the Town Dock on Saturday May 29th starting at 9:00 am.
- Later that day, the Huronia Communities Foundation hosts its Philanthropic Awards dinner at 7:00 pm at NSSRC.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday May 16, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Summer has returned and with it two of my favorite pastimes - mowing the lawn and digging dandelions. Well it beats shoveling snow.

A quiet week for the Town. If you drop by the Town offices you will see that they are making great progress on building the addition. Next month they will break into the existing Council chamber, so your Council will have to relocate to the NSSRC. Not sure whether we will still be on TV, so your summer may be quieter than usual.

Other groups are keeping the Town busy though:
On Monday the North Simcoe Communities Futures organization continues its work on Business Expansion and Retention with a meeting about local job skills and training
On Tuesday afternoon the Physician Recruitment organization thanks its volunteers with a reception at Ste. Marie
On Wednesday afternoon our Georgian College campus hosts an innovative event called “Thought Leadership”. Some 40 local business leaders will meet to discuss how Georgian can help invigorate the local economy.
On Thursday May 20th Community Living Huronia kicks off its Dreams to Reality campaign with a special exhibition at the Quest Gallery. Starting at 5:00 pm., it’s well worth visiting.

Many of you are have asked about the water test results at the Town’s Sundowner Road/Balm Beach Rd. location. Your best source of information is to call the Town at 526-4275. Water testing is continuing on private wells in the area. Those results are expected this week .I will let you know as soon as the Town releases any more information.

Gord McKay

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday May 9, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

So who invited winter back? I drove up highway 27 yesterday in near whiteout conditions. Pity the poor tulips.

Monday May 10th starts at 6:00 pm at the Town with a closed meeting. Then at 7:00 pm is your General Committee (Written Input Only) Should be a relatively short meeting including:
- Announcement of the spring water main flushing program. Homeowners will be notified by notice if your neighborhood is affected.
- An authorizing by-law to proceed with development of the LRG lands, (also know as the VLA lands) .
- Answers to questions raised about leachate monitoring at the Golf Link Road transfer station.
- Consideration of the sale of Town land that is currently being used for parking behind Scully’s restaurant.
And then your Council goes into a Special Council Meeting at approximately 9:30 pm to deal with temporary road closures (Deputation Only).

Tuesday May 11th at 7:00 pm sees the Heritage Committee meeting at the Town. We will receive verbal updates on the Drummond Wall designation and the Roxy theatre demolition.

On Wednesday May 12th at 7:30, there will be a candlelight tribute for our veterans at the Cenotaph. Please arrive early.

And lastly on the calendar; Saturday May 15th at 11am is the ground breaking for the new Bayport residential development at Bayport.

A number of items that you have wondered about:
- The taxi industry has been meeting to prepare its position in response to the deferred taxi by-law. No public meeting has been yet announced. Council should next deal with this matter in June.
- Similarly the pawnbrokers in Town will have a response their deferred by-law coming to Council in June
- Gloucester Street (east end) will remain dug up a while longer as a gas main has to be relocated
- The papers have carried recent information about the Sundowner well situation. A new Town well was being drilled at Sundowner Rd. at Balm Beach Road (Not connected to Town mains). About two weeks ago a water sample showed noticeable levels of the chemicals TCE and PCB. A retest was completed this past week showing some TCE and no PCBs,. The Town is now working with nearby well owners to ensure that their wells are safe. If you have questions on this matter please contact the Town at 526-4275.

And finally, look for something “electoral” on Monday.

Gord McKay

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday May 1, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The rains have arrived. I can’t recall having seen the grass turn yellow in April before. Makes you realize how much we depend upon Mother Nature.

A relatively quiet week in the Town. The County holds its second round of public consultations on our waste strategy. They take place in Thornton on May 3rd, at the Simcoe County Museum on May 4th and at the Coldwater Community Centre on May 5th. Presentations start at 4:30 pm with public discussion starting at 6:00 pm. Your chance to shape our waste future.

On Wednesday May 5th your Council meets in a relatively rare closed planning meeting at 6:30 pm. Then at 7:00 is the regular PAC meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair). Items of particular interest are:
- A proposal to modify 340 First St to allow a dental services office
- Changes to our by-law requiring all developers to donate parkland to the Town as a condition of development
- Notification of possibly selling Town lands to Scully’s restaurant

Also on May 5th, many Councillors will be at our local McDonalds to help raise money for Community Living Huronia and Ronald McDonald House. Please drop by.

On Friday May 7th Quest Art School and Gallery is having its kick-off event for the annual juried art show. You are welcome to come and see some great art.

And on the building front:
- Final work is occurring on your library. Doors should be fully open in June.
- Across the street, architectural plans are being finalized for the Midland Cultural Centre. Demolition work should start shortly.

Gord McKay

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday April 24, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Lots of people are now out walking, biking and enjoying spring. We definitely live in one of the most beautiful parts of the universe.

The week starts on Sunday April 25th at 9:00 am. The Midland Area Reading Council is holding its semi-annual book sale at the King Street Honda.

Monday the 26th will be a busy day for Council. A closed meeting starts at 6:00 pm. Then at 7:00 pm is Council (Deputation Only). The long agenda includes:
- A deputation and by-law on the proposed Farmers Market. Still a few issues to be worked out.
- We then go into a Public Meeting (You May Speak). The Public Meeting will review two by-laws:
o By-law controls for Hawkers. Peddlers, Farmer’s Markets etc.
o Procedural by-law where we will decide on how your Council should conduct its business
Back to the regular meeting…..:
- Review of the Heritage Committee’s recommendation on the demolition of the Roxy theatre to make way for the new Cultural Centre
- Discussion of the agreement between the Town and the developer respecting the Drummond Wall
- A by-law will be tabled to permit secondary suites and their control registry. Still a few issues on “entry to property” and definition of “occupier” to be worked out
- We will be told who is on the proposed Board for Directors for the new Cultural Centre.
- A by-law proposing that the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene share building officials
- We will learn about two major building contracts for 2010:
o New soccer fields - $733,000
o Town Hall Expansion - $3,800,000

Later in the week;
- Midland Area Reading Council will host its appreciation Dinner on Thursday April 29th
- The County Waste Committee meets in Midhurst to accept the waste strategy options at 9:00 am on Friday April 30th

And in closing, a reception is being held at Town Hall on Friday the 30th between 3:00 and 5:00 pm to honor Doug Baker on the occasion of his retirement. Please come and wish him well.

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday April 18. 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very quiet week coming up. I have to blame mother nature who keeps spoiling us with this lovely weather.

No major meetings at the Town this week. You may notice, however, construction folks at the Town offices. We begin work on the building expansion project this week. Parking at the Town offices will be disrupted in the months ahead.

April the 22nd is Earth Day. North Simcoe Hospital Association is celebrating the event with noon-time activities at Georgian Bay General Hospital on Monday the 19th and at Penetanguishene General Hospital on Wednesday the 21st.

Community notes:
- The Lions Club Civic Night Dinner, is on Wednesday 14th at 6:30 pm at the NSSRC
- Our museum is holding its annual Heritage Dinner this Friday at 6:30 pm
- Garfield Dunlop is hosting his annual Fish Fry at the Brian Orser Arena, Penetanguishene on Saturday April 24th starting at 6:00 pm

Get out and enjoy Midland.

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday April 11, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring is coming to Midland. The ice is off the bay. Crocii and daffodils are in abundance. And our new Cultural Centre will soon begin taking shape. Can it get any better?

Your Town General Committee gets down to work this Monday April 12th at 7:00 pm (Written Input). A number of interesting items:
- A report showing that parking tickets in the downtown have increased by over 100% in the period January to March 2010, over last year
- The third attempt at bringing our procedural by-law forward. Contentious items include changing the day-of-the-week for Council meetings and limiting Councillor’s ability to discuss items
- A proposal for a Midland Farmer’s Market to take place every Sunday morning from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving. The market is to be located on Bay Street in the parking lot behind the Chamber of Commerce building.
- 2009 saw the Town with a budgetary surplus of $1,090,237. (That translates to a 2009 tax increase of over 6%) Most of this surplus is headed for future reserves.

On Tuesday April 13th at 7:00 pm the Heritage Committee is meeting at the Town. (Speak at Discretion of Chair). The meeting will be looking at the heritage features of the Roxy Theatre and if they should be preserved.

Other gatherings this week:
- On Wednesday the 14th at 6:00 pm the Out of the Cold volunteers celebrate another successful season with a Pot Luck at Knox
- On Thursday the 15th at 7:00 is the rescheduled Poverty Committee meeting. No special agenda items.
- On Saturday the 17th at 2:00 pm is a gathering of artists and art lovers at the Peace by Peace event centre in Tay

And lastly, I know many of you are following the two recent proposed by-laws affecting taxis and pawn/buy-sell businesses. Both by-laws are in suspension pending the meeting of two ad-hoc review committees. I will keep you informed of when these committees are meeting as best I can.

Gord McKay

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday April 3, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Summer has started outside, so I will keep this short.

The Town is closed Monday for the Easter holiday. Enjoy.

Tuesday April the 6th is the day to find out more about your own solar energy project. SHARE is hosting an information meeting at 7:00 pm at the Native Friendship Centre on Yonge Street in Midland. Your chance to cash in on the hot summer ahead.

On Wednesday April the 7th at 7:00 pm is the monthly PAC meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair). A short but interesting agenda. Two examples:
1) A discussion on “secondary suites” in single detached homes. The meeting will discuss a suites registry and the need to have the suites re-registered every 3 years. The meeting will review the power of entry onto premises for the “suites Registrar”. The meeting will also learn about the ongoing status of existing suites – are they legal? (An accepted estimate is that 10% of our single family homes have existing secondary suites)

2) Staff is bringing forward a recommendation for an Employment Area Policy Review. Apparently concerns arising from a number of recent applications that have sought to change zoning in employment areas has led to the need for an update. This request is being made even though the Town stopped Official Plan updates until after we have heard from the County and province about our employment allocations.

In closing, what could be better than the Huronia Foundation for the Arts dinner and celebration taking place at the Best Western this Saturday April the 10th at 6:00 pm. Tickets are available at $49 each – and I have a few left.

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday March 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

The snow on our streets has been replaced by the winter’s sand. It keeps our Public Works crews busy.

A quieter week as the Town gets ready for Easter. For some reason, everything is on Wednesday March 31st.

At 10:00 am the Georgian Valley project is holding a stakeholder’s meeting at Horseshoe Resort.

From 4:00 to 8:00 pm the NSCFDC is hosting the Business Women of the Year Awards. They take place at Brooklea. Tickets are required.

Then its your Town Council’s turn. At 7:00 pm they meet in a closed meeting. Then at 7:30 pm is a Special Council Meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair) to consider a by-law “to authorize the entering into of an agreement regarding a Cultural Centre”. Should be interesting.

And to finish it off, Wednesday also sees the conclusion of the Out of the Cold Program for another year. It has been a good year. Both the meals provided and overnight stays are up significantly over last season. Many people are having a tough time.

Enjoy your Easter.

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday March 21, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

We have been spoiled by Mother Nature. I just have to remember that it is still too early to put my tomatoes out into the garden.

The work starts on Monday March 22nd when Council meets at the Town at 7:00 pm (Deputation Only, but read on). The meeting will include:
- A deputation from Doral about the Town servicing the Doral Marina in Tay
- A petition against requiring meters in Midland taxi cabs
- A proposal to convert Town street lights and commercial properties to energy efficient lighting
- An agreement between the Town and the developer about protecting the historic Drummond Wall
The Council meeting will also feature something novel - a Public Meeting. The Public Meeting will allow residents to comment on:
- The proposed Taxi Cab By-Law
- The proposed Pawn Shop By-Law
Once the public discussion is over, Council will put these two By-laws to a vote.

On Tuesday March 22nd - something lighter. The Huronia Foundation for the Arts is hosting a Meet and Greet with Your Feet at 7:00 pm at the Askennonia Center at the NSSRC. If you want to Tango, it’s a must attend.

On Friday March 26th at 2:00 pm the Nottawasaga Futures organization will introduce their Green Economy Transition Centre initiative. The meeting is at The Club in Bond Head, 4805 7th Line.

And on Sunday the 28th starting at 9:00 am the Elmvale Water organization is hosting a Town Hall meeting on our water, its use and abuse. This all day event at the Elmvale Community Centre will tell you how water is being protected in Simcoe County.

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday March 14, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

March break and the Town is all quiet.

If you are the lover of the arts, Quest (264 King Street) launches its new exhibit featuring Christina Luck and Richard Laurin on Sunday the 14th. The opening reception is Sunday at 1-4 pm.

No major Town meetings. Many Town sub-committees meet including;
- Emergency Management – Tuesday
- Energy – Tuesday
- Huronia Museum – Tuesday
- Trails – Tuesday
- Technical review Committee – Wednesday
- Police Services – Wednesday
- BIA – Wednesday
- Seniors Council – Thursday

Ice huts off the lake this weekend. Spring is here.

Gord McKay

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday March 7, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

A-Channel interviewed Midland Woods Marine today and they said put away the snowmobiles, time to think boating. Has winter really left the area?

Council is hard at work this week. We start at 6:00 pm on Monday the 8th with a Special Meeting of Council (You May Not Speak) It will discuss three items including the use of the Wilson Road allowance as an attenuation zone for leachate from a nearby landfill.

At 7:00 pm on Monday is the regular Committee meeting (Written Input Only). A very long agenda with some pretty contentious items. The agenda will include:
- A proposed taxi by-law
o taxi cabs cannot be more than 5 years old
o meters will be mandatory
- An updated downtown parking by-law
o rates will go up to 75c an hour
o pay and display at the Town Dock lot
- A vote on the heavy garbage voucher system for the Town
- An update to our Town procedural by-law. Normally as dry as dust but this one contains some interesting items including:
o Councillors can talk for at most ten minutes on a matter
o Councillors can only speak once on the same question
o Council meetings must stop at 11 pm.
- Party on the Dock is proposed to return on June 11

Georgian Valley Project’s second public meeting is on Tuesday March 9th at 7:00 pm at the Horseshoe Resort, Highlands Golf Course Clubhouse.

On Thursday the 11th at 7:00 pm is the Town Poverty Committee – agenda content to be determined.

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday February 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

And here we thought we would quietly enter into spring – sunshine – birds singing - I am not even sure where I left the snowblower!

A relatively quiet week.

Wednesday March 3rd is the busy day with Public Meetings starting at 7:00 at the Town (You May Speak). These meetings will cover a variety of topics including:
- The DeSantis rezoning for a hotel on Hwy 12
- Application for storage sheds at 408 Galloway Boulevard
- Application for rezoning at 204 Gianetto Dr.
- Review of the secondary suites by-law
- Review of planning housekeeping amendments that cover many matters (such as can you park on your lawn – check the Town website for more on this)

Following the public meetings is the regular Planning Advisory Committee meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair). PAC should be short as its only item is to review how we measure the performance of our planning department.

Also that night is the first public meeting on the Georgian Valley Project. This is the billion dollar development by Skyline for Port McNicoll and Horseshoe Valley. The first meting is at 7:00 pm at the Port McNicoll Community Centre. The second meeting occurs March 9th at 7:00 pm at the Horseshoe Resort, Highlands Gold Course Clubhouse.

Back to shoveling.

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday February 21, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Is there a prettier place anywhere than Midland on a bright sunny (albeit frosty) day?

A quiet week as some of your Councillors and staff are away at the Good Roads conference.

Zero Waste Simcoe will be releasing a report this week on how expected changes to the province’s waste legislation could result in hundreds of jobs for Simcoe. Public sessions are:
- Tuesday February 23rd at 7:00 at the Simcoe County Museum
- Wednesday February 24th at 8:00 am at the Midland Town Hall
If we act decisively we may be able to bring these jobs to Midland.

On Thursday February 25th you have the opportunity to attend an information session about a new private school coming to the area, Georgian Shores Academy. The event starts at 7:00 pm at the Olympia Event Centre, 2 Robert St. W, in Penetanguishene. A $10 cover charge will pay for the food.

This Friday get ready to attend Garfield Dunlop’s annual “Lasagna Dinner” at the Wye Marsh. Seating times are 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm.

Last week I attended a meeting concerning the Georgian Valley development being built over the next ten years in Port McNicoll and Horseshoe Valley. The developer, Skyline, expects the project to cost $1.65 billion. The construction phase will provide some 9,000 construction jobs while operating the development will provide some 1,300 jobs. (By way of comparison, Statistics Canada states that in 2006 Midland’s total labour force was only 8,180) Look for public meeting in early March.

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday february 14, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Happy Valentines Day….and if you are reading this as opposed to spending time with your significant other….time to review your priorities.

Monday the Town is closed for Family Day – enjoy.

On Tuesday February 16th
· The Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce is holding its AGM and dinner starting at 5:30 pm at Brooklea.
· At 7:00 that evening you are invited to informally meet local artists at Explorer’s restaurant off of King St. Good food and good times at a price that is hard to beat.

Wednesday the 17th starts off at 8:30 am when the Town will hold a public meeting (Speak at Discretion of Chair) on our heavy waste voucher system. This early meeting should also discuss a “Treasure Day” coming to Midland.

Then later that same day your Council meets at 7:00 pm (Deputation Only). A short agenda. The most contentious item is a new by-law defining the power of Town officials to enter your land and premises.

On Thursday February 18th, Bruce Stanton invites you to an open house at 5:00 pm at his office at 504 Dominion Ave.

And lastly, Knox Presbyterian Church is holding a concert on Saturday February 20th at 7:00 pm featuring Titus Chapman, a dynamic and passionate musician from Louisville, Kentucky. Well worth attending.

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday February 7, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

A cold week ahead but a lot going on in the Town to keep you warm. By the way, I hope you were able to get out and enjoy Winterfest

Monday the 8th starts at 6:30 with a closed meeting. At 7:00 pm is the Committee meeting of the Town (Written Input). A long agenda with a few contentious items:
- Discussion of pedestrian crossing on Yonge Street by Mundy’s Bay school
- Proposal for off-leash areas in Little Lake and Tiffin Parks
- Discussion to permit paint ball operations by “zone” (as opposed to be site)
- A draft by-law that would allow increased entry onto “lands” (premises) by Town officials to enforce by-laws
- A review of our experience with the heavy garbage voucher system this past year
- Suggested changes to Town procedures including how we call Town meetings and how long Councillors can debate topics

On Wednesday February the 10th the County comes to the NSSRC to discuss garbage. (Information session at 4:30 pm; Public discussion at 7:00 pm) The County is currently trying to discern our waste future - Do we need more landfills? Should we export our waste? What do you do with heavy pick-up and sewage? The answers to these questions will significantly affect your future and that of your children. If you want to make a significant difference to our waste future, please take time to get involved. If you want more information, take a look at the County’s website or Zero Waste Simcoe at

Thursday sees the opening of Huronia Players’ new play Danock’s Dance. Well worth going.

And finally on Friday: at 8:00 am at the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation offices, the BR+E committee will discuss economic plans for our area

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday January 31, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

Winter’s back. And I have the shovel marks to prove it.

A fairly quiet week in the Town.

The Out of the Cold program is half-way through its season. We are typically feeding 20 people each evening – many have a home but do not have the means to put food on the table. The economic downturn continues to impact Midland.

On Wednesday February 3rd at 7:00 pm is the PAC meeting. (Speak at Discretion of Chair). The agenda includes:
- further discussion on “secondary suites” for single family dwellings
- a housekeeping proposal to our Town Plan. It covers many topics such as:
o where you can park on your residential property
o including decks in the definition of lot coverage
- an update on the County appeal to the OMB over the Official Plan process

This is Midland’s Winterfest weekend - a variety of events from Friday evening into Sunday. Check the Town website for details. Also on the social calendar for this Saturday February 6th are:
- Community Living Huronia gala starting at 5:30 pm at the Best Western
- Georgian Bay Musicians Assn. is holding a Winterfest Dance at 8:00 pm at the Windrifter.

And lastly, our Town has apparently joined a “Provincially Designated Growth Area Municipalities Committee”. This is a new organization made up of 3 Simcoe municipalities plus Barrie and Orillia. In a letter issued by its Chair, Mike MacEacheran, on January 20th one of the Committee’s tasks will be to “research and review alternative cooperative servicing opportunities to support the implementation of the necessary infrastructure required to accommodate the proposed growth nodes….” Interesting. When this comes to Midland Town Council for discussion I will be sure to let you know.

Gord McKay

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Janaury 24, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen

January 24th and they are calling for a high of 6 degrees and heavy rain…bring on the global warming debate.

A busy week. On Monday the 25th we start off with a closed meeting at 6:30 regarding a matter of litigation concerning the Town. Then at 7:00 it is Council (Deputation Only). A fairly long agenda including;
- a deputation on septage (sewage sludge) disposal
- a letter from the County suggesting a meeting on leachate monitoring at the North Simcoe Transfer Station (Later on there is a By-law to use the Midland boundary road allowance as a leachate attenuation zone.)
- a discussion on the use of Harbourview Dr. sidewalks by snowmobiles
- a comment on your Committee’s recommendation to expand the permitted uses for our industrial zoning category

Wednesday the 27th is a very special day. Our new Chief of Police Mike Osborne will be sworn in at Town Hall in a special ceremony scheduled for 6:00 pm. Then at 8:30 pm Council will be meeting in a special closed session to discuss a possible land acquisition.

Thursday the 28th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Garfield Dunlop MPP is holding his pre-budget consultation at the Brooklea. If you wish to present it is suggested that you call Garfield’s office ahead of time to register.

On Saturday, a number of your Councilors will be headed to Toronto for a short conference on job creation is the green economy. Hopefully a number of good ideas will be generated for our own economy.

And finally another bus company has offered to fill the transportation gap left by Greyhound’s decision to terminate service to the Town in April .More developments to follow.

Gord McKay