Sunday, April 3, 2011

Steering the Ship

Over the past few months your Council has set in motion a number of initiatives that will significantly affect the future of our Town. These initiatives often start with an unassuming staff report:
-         Urban Growth Node – Will determine what town services we will share with Penetanguishene and what they will look like
-         Joint Police Force – Will create a new police force to serve both Midland and Penetanguishene
-         Taxi Industry – Will rethink our taxi industry to offer a quality service at a low cost
-         Heavy Waste – Will propose a convenient way for residents to transport their heavy waste
Each of these initiatives requires that Council properly balance the policy options, the service implications and the costs so that we can keep our quality of life on a sustainable track.

Council has before it another major policy matter – the “Employment Area Policy Review”. While the title itself is enough to make many readers change the channel, this review sets the stage for our economic future. It will, once completed, start to lock in major industrial areas in our Town, thereby limiting those lands to industrial uses. The challenge facing Council is that this decision is being made based largely upon a policy review. Key questions such as how much industrial land is needed or what are Midland’s prospects for new industry coming here will not be addressed until later.

It’s true that Midland has lost many industrial jobs over the last decade and with them the companies and talented people have gone elsewhere.  We do need an employment area review to start changing the planning balance back in Midland’s favour. A successful review will produce a document that satisfies both the provincial policy requirements while giving Midland the flexibility it needs to attract quality jobs in a rapidly changing world.

Our future prosperity – our jobs; our hospitals; our street repairs; our homes – will depend upon how well we decide.

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