Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday February 26, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

A truly beautiful day in Midland.  The birds (and snowbirds) are returning from places south. The snowmobilers are pursuing every last bit of snow that they can find. Almost time to trade the snowblower for the rake.

The development of the Midland Vision continues with a workshop on Monday February 27th at at NSSRC.  Staff will report on all of the material collected from earlier sessions and use a roundtable format to further refine the vision.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I will be attending an Economic Development conference in Toronto. A lot of my time in the Town is now focused on developing our businesses and jobs in three key areas – healthcare; smart-manufacture; and tourism. I will write more on this topic and what it means to Midland in the days ahead.

Also on Wednesday February 29th at the Best Western starting at is the Business - Government Services expo. A mini-trade show featuring services provided by government to our area businesses.

Thursday March 1st at at Town Hall is our first 2013 budget meeting.  It may seem that we just finished our budget discussions (and we did) and now is the time to set the objectives for next year. The meeting will look at areas for potential savings and increased revenues. If you have any ideas, please send them in.

Friday March 2nd we get to eat. Garfield Dunlop MPP is hosting his annual Lasagna Dinner at Wye Marsh. Sittings are at , and .  This is always a popular event so you may want to call Garfield’s office or the Wye Marsh to book your preferred seating time.

One last item - please start marking your calendar for the Ontario Winter Games events in Midland in two weeks time.
                       - Air rifle and pistol shooting – March 9th and 10th
                       - Badminton – March 9th through 11th
                       - Men’s Hockey - March 8th through11th

Gord McKay


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday February 19, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

Nothing like a short trip to Toronto to remind you that we live in the most beautiful place in Ontario. Now let’s get our local economy running better.

Monday is Family Day. With a sunny forecast this is a golden opportunity for some spring tobogganing with the kids on Campbell’s Hill.

Tuesday February 21st is the Food and Agricultural Visioning Day at Lakehead University, Orillia campus. The program starts at and provides you with an opportunity to speak about the importance of local food production.

Later that day, two meetings at Midland Town Hall. At we meet in closed session to discuss appointments to the MPUC and the Committee of Adjustments. Then at is the February Council meeting (yes, it’s a week early). The evening could be short or long, depending upon how the last item below plays out. The agenda includes:
            - two deputations on the proposed recycling facility and one on the Charter of Rights
            - a motion to rename a street in honor of Sarah Burke
            - a motion to put solar panels on the NSSRC and earn the Town $40,000 per year
            - a by-law to accept the deed to our harbour from the federal government
            - continuation of the discussion on how we should fund tourism and the Chamber in 2012

On Wednesday February 22nd, I will be taping a promotion at NSSRC to welcome the athletes attending the Ontario Winter Games in Midland. Then at that day I will be on the Roger’s, Politically Speaking. Your chance to get your questions answered.

On Thursday February 23rd the mayors of the four North Simcoe municipalities will be meeting to discuss joint plans for economic development. (I have received a number of comments from other jurisdictions expressing surprise that we are actually working together.)

And then the weekend. This Saturday February 25th:
- 10:00 am the Simcoe and District Maple Syrup Producers holds its First Tapping at the Jack McFadden Sugar Bush, 15766 Hwy 12, Port McNicoll
            - 7:00 pm the ever popular Yseman’s Lip Sync contest at the NSSRC
            - 8:00 pm Seranata Choir holds a fundraiser at the Midland Legion

Looking to the future, a Municipal Cultural Planning workshop is scheduled for Wednesday March 21st from to at the NSSRC.  The fee for this all-day event is $30, including lunch. You may register at:

Gord McKay

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday February 12, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

A bit of snow to remind us that winter isn’t quite over. If this trend continues we will have to rethink all of our tourism brochures for Simcoe County.

Monday February 13th at , get ready for a long General Committee meeting at Town Hall. Included in the agenda are:
-          discussion of a statement to be read at the start of Town meetings to help attendees and improve decorum
-          introduction of the 2013 budget process – first meeting Feb 22nd (no rest for the weary)
-          request for the County to review all fire services with the view to improving service efficiency
-          an apparent maneuver by the province to not provide promised relief to Midland on its court costs
-          request by the Ontario Winter Games to waive the fees for events in Midland
-          discussion of what the Town needs by way of tourism services in 2012 and who can provide them

On Wednesday February 15th at I will be attending the Police Service Board meeting in the police station to provide some guidance about Council’s future budget direction.

Thursday February 16th at in Midhurst is the Performance Management Committee Meeting of County Council. Two interesting items:
-          an update on the Georgian Village development in Penetanguishene
-          receipt of a motion from Penetanguishene about the need to investigate the rising cost of OPP policing. This discussion, while focused on the OPP, will also affect our own police service.

On Friday February 17th, I will be meeting with a group of business leaders to discuss the economic model used to guide London Ontario. This information will be used to help develop Midland’s jobs strategy. And if you want to have fun this week-end, make sure you visit Penetanguishene’s Winterrama. For details:


One closing item. This week Canadian municipalities received their 2011 population updates. My perspective on what these mean to Midland can be found at:

Gord McKay

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Population Growth and Midland

Statistics Canada published its population data this week.  It shows Midland with a five year population increase to 2011 of some 1.5% - an increase of 242 people over the last 5 years.  This slow rate of growth is consistent with our recent history. In fact the 2011 figure represents only 225 more citizens today than were enumerated in 1996.  So we have had very slow population growth - but what does it mean to Midland?
The majority of Midland’s tax revenue comes from individual resident taxpayers. The increase in the number of residents in our community reflects the increase in the number of taxpayers, and hence our collective ability to pay tax.  Over the past 5 years the amount of tax paid by all sources has increased by 30%.  Recognizing that inflation is at play (and hence the value of a dollar is reduced) the 2011 tax amount should be adjusted by the inflation rate - 2% a year or 10%.  So taking out inflation and growth, roughly the same population is paying 18% more in 2011 over 2006, for a real tax rate increase of some 3.5% per year. This is one factor guiding Council’s intention to get our municipal costs under control.
The census numbers also speak to the health of Midland’s economy and the jobs available for our residents.  One of the main reasons that people move into or out of a community is to find work.  That is why Ontario’s rate of population growth is decreasing while Alberta’s is increasing. Population growth reflects the growth of the economy and jobs. Midland’s rate of growth is well behind that of Simcoe County’s five year rate of 5.7%.  While Midland has no number that tracks our local economy it’s evident that our economy is growing much more slowly than many other parts of the County.  Having a healthy competitive economy and jobs are critical to the health of our community. This is why Council identified economic development as its top priority.
The census numbers are not the whole story. But they are a useful commentary on why we must adjust our municipal and economic policies to ensure Midland’s future.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday February 5, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

As busy a weekend as you could possibly want. Everything from the adrenalin-filled excitement of puddle-jumping at Little Lake to the intense competition of the MARC Spelling Bee.  A big thank-you to our Community Services Department for a great WinterFest.  Now get ready for our next big Town event - the Ontario Winter Games, March 8th to 11th.


First of all, a look back at an important meeting this past week – the Healthcare Summit.  In 2011 the four North Simcoe mayors agreed to cooperate in developing our area’s economy. One of the major targets for creating new quality jobs was healthcare. On Wednesday last, nine healthcare service leaders met to strategize where our healthcare economy should be headed and how we get there.  Some of the key ideas:
-          healthcare will be increasingly delivered by small specialist organizations/practitioners and less by large public institutions
-          we need an overarching strategy that speaks to all facets of our local healthcare economy
-          higher education is critical for success
More information on this initiative in the days ahead.

The week ahead is relatively quiet (recovering from WinterFest I suspect.)  Some of the public sub-committees that will be meeting this week are the Business Improvement Area Board on Tuesday, the Committee of Adjustment and the Library Board on Thursday. If you want more information on these sub-committees, please contact Karen at the Town at 526-4275.

And if you are looking for some tropic fun on Friday February 10th , you may wish to join the Midland Area Reading Council at the Penetanguishene Legion at for a great dinner, tropical music and other distractions to remind you that winter is not forever.

Gord McKay