Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday April 29, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

Another beautiful weekend in Midland. In talking with local merchants, it seems we are already attracting many spring visitors to our community. Looks like a great summer shaping up.

Monday April 30th sees a closed meeting at 4:30 pm at the Town to discuss a personnel matter.

Tuesday the first of May it gets downright busy in the afternoon and evening:
-       At 5:00 pm at the Boathouse restaurant, its Community Living Huronia’s Promo Bonanza, where all sorts of fundraising ideas will be launched
-       At 6:30 pm at the Brooklea is the YMCA discussion “Does Canada Work for All Families”. Please RSVP
-       7:00 pm has our local marina operators meeting at the NSSRC

Wednesday May 2nd starts out early in the morning as I participate in the McDonalds McHappy Day event.  Come by for a friendly breakfast and to help raise funds for Ronald McDonald’s Children Charities. 

Then at 12:00 noon, I have been invited by Midland Rotary to speak to them about our Town’s vision and challenges. Immediately following that at 2:00 pm our second Healthcare Summit will convene.  These summits are considering the business and employment strategies that will guide our area’s future. At 7:00 pm that evening is a lengthy PDC meeting at the Town.  Items include:
-       Discussion of deeming bylaws affecting two properties
-       Consideration of four Site Plan proposals (The Site Plan is usually the last step before you get your building permit) Site Plans include:
o    Hugel Lofts condo development on Hugel Ave.
o    Tim Hortons and a new office building on Bay
o    Pro Oil station at 483 King St
o    A new office building on the Canadian Tire property on Hwy 93
-       Discussion of our planning options for the Unimin site

Thursday May 3rd at 7:30 am, Canadian Tire celebrates the re-launch of its newly renovated store. At 7:00 that evening you are invited to the NSSRC to work with the Town to develop a new “special event” for Midland. This is your chance to bring new ideas and life to our community.

Friday May 4th, everyone is up early for the Mayors Day, in support of Family Physician Recruitment. The featured speaker is OPP Commissioner Doug Lewis. There are breakfast (7:00 am) and lunch (noon) sittings.  Please contact Sue Robillard at 533-2757 for tickets.

And continuing the food theme into the evening, at 5:30 pm is the Heritage Dinner at the NSSRC. Alan Taylor will fascinate us with his perspective on the War if 1812. For tickets contact the Huronia Museum.

Saturday May 5th is Treasure Day. This is your chance to put good reusable items out to the curb for someone else to pick-up and use. Please put items out at 8:00 am and take those remaining back inside by 4:00 pm. This is not a heavy waste pick-up day.

Sunday May 6th:
-       Steps for Life, supporting those injured in the workplace, is holding its walk at Peter Petersen Park at 10:30
-       CLH will host its annual Golf tournament at Brooklea at 11:30 am

 And in closing, your County has decided to go creative with its Blue Grew campaign:

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday April 22, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

Lots going on in Midland. New businesses coming to Town – a community clean-up at the hospital - Smart Manufacturing Summit with our neighboring municipalities - a new visitor centre on the waterfront.  So much for gardening this year.

Monday April 23rd starts off at 7:30 am in Penetanguishene with the second of our economic summits, this one on Smart Manufacturing.  While it may seem to be just talk, these are the rallying events that will move our area’s economy forward.   Then at 6:30 that evening is a closed meeting at the Town to discuss matters of litigation and committee appointments.  At 7:00 pm that evening is the Council meeting. The agenda includes:
-       Recognition of our wining Novice and Bantam hockey teams
-       A deputation on our local Huronia airport
-       A decision on fire deployment and its related budget implications

On Tuesday April 24th at 9:00 am in Midhurst is County Council.  Many items on the agenda. In particular we will talk about waste, the proposed collection contract and new diversion programs.

Wednesday will see the Renew Midland team meeting. Many of the issues around insurance and licensing are being resolved. A downtown launch this fall still looks promising.

On Thursday April 26th the four area mayors will meet in Tiny to discuss the economy. Two items that Midland wants to have clarified are their interest in cooperating with joint tourism and developing a private sector agency to lead economic development.

Friday is going to be a tough day at Town Hall as we celebrate our Town Treasurer, Sue Gignac’s career and retirement. Sue has been instrumental in keeping the Town on a reliable financial footing and has helped many Councils understand the numbers. The event starts at 1:00 pm at the Town Hall. Please come and wish Sue well.

At 7:00 pm that evening our museum honors the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen with a Queen’s Tea at the museum. Please register in advance with Nahanni at 526-2844

A busy weekend:
-       Midland Home Show is at the NSSRC Saturday and Sunday
-       The Town recognizes the Workers Day of Mourning at the Workers Monument on Bayshore Dr. at 11 am on Saturday
-       Our library’s author’s series starts on Saturday at 2:00 pm.  First up is – Richard Feltoe’s, Redcoated Ploughboys.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> LOOKING AHEAD  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

1)     Land Based Gaming Public Consultation
      The main public meeting takes place on Thursday, May 24th 7:00 pm at the NSSRC.
      For more information about gaming and our process, visit:

2)     Meeting on the Health of the Canadian Family
      An information session sponsored by the Huronia Community Foundation and the YMCA.
      On Tuesday, May 1st at 6:30 pm at the Brooklea,  Paul Kershaw will discuss
      his research on the health of young families. RSVP to

3)     Town of Midland – Looking for Special Events
       A meeting will take place on Thursday, May 3rd at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC to discuss your
       ideas for the development of a new major special event our community can call our own.

4)     Town of Midland – New Visitor Information Centre
       On Monday May 12th from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm you are invited to participate in
       the launch of the new Midland Visitor information Centre at the Town Dock. We will
       also announce our official Tourism Midland logo, phone numbers, email, website,
       Facebook and Twitter initiatives.

5)     Town of Midland – Tourism PASSPORT
       Another new tourism initiative is the “Tourism PASSPORT” to encourage our
       many visiting boaters to explore our Town. It’s free for any business/tourist
       attraction to participate.  Simply tell us how you will encourage visiting boaters to visit
       your business. For information call Bryan Peter at 526-4770; ext. 3207,

Gord McKay

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday April 14, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring - a season of renewal. Midland’s spring is bringing with it a new economic climate. The good news is that we have a game-plan and virtually everyone we have asked is willing to go that extra step to help build a better Midland. Lots of examples below!

On Monday the 16th I expect that the Town will announce its public consultation process that may lead to expanded gaming in our community. It’s a topic with both pluses and minuses, and sometimes emotion. A lot of information will be made available before the public meeting so people will have a good chance to reflect before we decide on what we want for Midland.

Tuesday morning will see me at the Huron Park School breakfast club. Many of us don’t appreciate the number of children showing up for class each day without having had any breakfast.

At 6:30 pm on Tuesday April 17th is a short special meeting of Council (open to the public). This meeting will discuss a modification of to our Letter of Credit process, to allow the Town greater flexibility in working with developers. Then right after that, your Council goes into a closed meeting to learn more about managing meetings.  All part of making your Council better.

On Wednesday April 18th at 5:30 pm Community Living Huronia (CLH) holds a reception to honor its many volunteers. (Did you know that CLH was one of our area’s major employers with some 240 employees?)   

Thursday April 19th at 10:00 am has our Seniors Council meeting at the NSSRC.  This tremendously vibrant group is working with the Town to make sure that the interests of seniors are included in all our decisions. At 7:00 pm that evening at the Town, Council will hold its second pre-budget meeting.  Topics to be discussed include:
-       Leasing Town property for commercial use
-       Increased user fees for non-residents
-       New programs that may generate new revenue for the municipality

And on Sunday April 22nd look for:
-       MS Walk at the NSSRC. Check in at 8:00 am with the start set for 9:30 am
-       At 9:00 am CLH will be at our Town Dock helping clean up the area. Come on down and meet some great fellow citizens as they get Midland ready for spring.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  Special Mention  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Katimavik youth will be working with the Salvation Army over the next two months to survey our housing stock and help answer the question of what our needs are for affordable housing.

Gord McKay

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday April 7, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

Things are moving in Midland. This past Wednesday our Director of Planning stated that they were having trouble keeping up with all the inquiries for development in our Town.  And just as important - time to plant the onions and spinach.

The Town offices are closed on Monday April 9th.  Nonetheless, construction will restart on Hugel Avenue, weather permitting.  Hugel will soon be closed to through traffic. Watch the Town website for construction updates.  

Tuesday April 10 at 7:00 pm sees the General Committee meeting.  A long agenda including:
-       Discussion on the draft Code of Conduct for Council
-       The Town declares an operating surplus of some $243,000. This is offset by a capital deficit of close to $250,000
-       The “all in” Midland tax rate increase for residential properties in 2012 will be 0.7%
-       A request for direction on the multi-purpose trail proposed for the Birchwood subdivision area
-       A report from our Fire Chief indicating he cannot meet the budget target set by Council for 2012

On Thursday April 12th at 9:00 am in Midhurst I will attend my regular Performance Management meeting.  Items of interest for Midland are:
-       County will report a 2011 surplus of $8.8 million
-       Penetanguishene will present a motion asking for policing to be delivered on a Countywide basis
-       The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (our public health agency) will request a budget increase of 3%

And at 4:00 pm that day the ArtsVest launch event will occur at the NSSRC.  This event celebrates Midland being designated to receive ArtsVest funding that will help both artists and business in our community work more closely together.

Two items in closing.

1)      The County’s Blue Grew recycling bin campaign will start April 9th.  Residents will begin to receive their new 83-litre recycling boxes starting Monday.  New items now accepted include rigid plastic household containers and lids marked 1 through 7, the plastic clamshell packaging and the lids from take-out coffee cups.

2)     Midland’s planning department is running flat out this spring. Confirmed projects you will see in 2012 are:

                         Project                       Location                                Status
                      New Tim Hortons               474 Bay St.                         Coming to PDC
                      Midland Cultural Centre     333 Elizabeth                       Opening June 9
                      New office building            174 Pillsbury Dr.                   Spring construction
                      BIN management               Hwy 12                                Site plan to be submitted
                      LRG subdivision                321 Penetanguishene Rd.     Construction underway
                      Shoppers Drug Mart          Cty Rd. 93                            Opening early summer
                      Midland Traditions             105 Pillsbury                        Spring construction

Gord McKay

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Midland - Going Forward

Six months ago Midland Council drew up a list of what it wanted to accomplish during its mandate.  The list crystalized Council’s priorities and set the wheels in motion to start working on them.  A lot has already been accomplished but most citizens remain unaware of developments. Trying to stitch together media reports with meeting minutes and changes to by-laws and then interpret what is happening is a daunting task. In this article I will take Council’s top priority, economic development, and tell you how we are progressing. 

Economic development was selected because Midland’s future critically depends upon having good jobs and services for our citizens.  Little analysis is needed to appreciate that Midland has been severely affected by structural changes in the economy.  Our manufacturing sector has been particularly hard hit, an impact which has rippled through local families and businesses.  Every one of us knows someone who has lost a job, had their hours reduced or been forced to move because there was no suitable work in our area.  Good jobs and our quality of life are intimately linked.

Early in 2011 we started economic discussions with our neighbouring municipalities in North Simcoe. From those discussions came an early success – the North Simcoe Economic Action Initiative Strategy.  In terse language it lays out the business sectors we will be focussing on and how we will organize to develop our area’s economy.  Of particular interest to Midland, it identifies the three sectors where I expect to see the bulk of our jobs originating - healthcare, tourism and smart manufacturing.  This area-wide approach has also attracted the attention of the provincial government. A group of provincial ministries want to find out how four municipalities were able to work together and define a common economic strategy.

Acting on the Strategy, Midland recently played host to a unique Healthcare Summit. This brought together local leaders in our healthcare economy to talk about where the jobs will be and how we make our area a healthcare leader.  Further meetings are already being planned.  Our good neighbours in Penetanguishene will be rolling out the Smart-Manufacturing  Summit  shortly.  Area tourism is also in play with marina operators from across our area meeting for the first time in many years to discuss how they can promote local tourism.  And as a highpoint to all this activity, Midland will be hosting the first Prosperity Summit this September 26th, a gathering that will bring together business leaders intent on building our local economy.

In addition to the important area initiatives, Midland also has its own economic interests. Last month, Midland Council voted to change the delivery of our own tourism services.  While the most noticeable effect will be new locations for visitor information centres, more importantly it will define what Midland wants to achieve from its investment in tourism and who will be our partners.  This tourism rethink also leads to challenging questions, such as whether a boutique casino should be part of our tourism landscape.

Midland has other economic irons in the fire. A group of citizens is implementing a program called “Renew Midland”, designed to bring life to shuttered store fronts on our main street. A second group is discussing the broader aspects of economic development in Midland – how should it be organized; what are the roles for the private and public sector? A third discussion is starting about creating a business incubator for the trades in our area. All these initiatives are happening because citizens and business are engaged in building our economy.

It’s still early days and there are many challenges ahead. The shifting global economy is still a concern.  There will likely be further selective down-sizings of local companies.  Midland Council will also have to commit financially to economic development.  The current $5,000 budget allocation is simply inadequate.

Early signs of economic health are there. My own informal survey of the major employers in Midland shows about half intend to be hiring in 2012. The buzz on the main street and in the real estate market is also more positive. I am even starting to get calls from the media in Barrie about events in Midland.

That’s a brief look at where we are headed with economic development.  It’s going to be a long road.  There will be both successes and disappointments.  But with all citizens working together for a better community we will be successful.  Is it time for you to get involved?

Gord McKay