Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday October 28, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

A dark and rainy Hallow’een looms, ushered in on the heels of a modern day “Frankenstorm”. Hollywood couldn’t set the stage any better. Get ready for rough weather followed closely by ghouls and goblins.

This past week saw its own bit of rough weather as Council wrestled with its first budget draft and adjustments to our service levels such as leaf pick-up. While it may be upsetting to some, these public discussions are a necessary part of steering us towards a healthy and sustainable future. Council remains committed to listening to its citizens and doing what it takes to protect the quality of life for you and your children.


On Tuesday October 30th, the attention shifts to County Council where we receive the 2013 budget. This year’s budget (first draft) is for $415 million dollars, an expenditure increase of $15 million or 3.7% over 2012. The proposed spend increase is to be financed by a tax increase of 2% and a debt of $8.1 million. Last year the County portion, including waste, of your Midland tax bill was 19%.

On Thursday November 1st, Midland Council gets back to its own budget deliberations with two meetings. At 6:00 pm we will meet in closed session to receive the final report by KPMG on staffing issues.  Then at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall we will again be meeting in public with KPMG to review impacts of their report on our 2013 budget.

Friday November 2nd is your chance to learn more about the new Georgian Village being built in Penetanguishene. This “Seniors in Transition” event will take place at Georgian Manor, 7 Harriet St. starting at 2:00 pm.

Happy Hallow’eening

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s exciting Year of Having Fun - 2012.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday October 20, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

The leaves are falling and a few pumpkins are adding a splash of color. The long term forecast is for a bit more warmth than usual. Still, I wouldn’t put off those garden chores too long.

Monday October 22nd – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is conducting a workshop on reducing the harm caused by alcohol consumption. The half-day workshop starts at 9:00 am at the NSSRC and costs $30.00. Then at 7:00 m that evening is the Midland Council meeting.   The agenda includes:
-          Three deputations:  Physician Recruitment; Shelter Now ; and our Midland Farmers Market
-          A second draft of the Council Code of Conduct
-          Changes to Council appointments on Town Committees
-          Three more contracts being let to improve the Bayport sub-division

Wednesday October 24th starts off with a breakfast (8:00 am) at the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre as they welcome a First Nation youth delegation to Midland.  Later that afternoon, Midland and Pentanguishene will meet to discuss interest in a transit link between the two communities. And later that afternoon I will be in Barrie as the YMCA recognizes our very own Reinhart Weber.

At 7:00 pm that evening at the NSSRC is a special public meeting on the changes we will see to our waste services in 2013. The County, which has responsibility for all waste services, will tell us about recent changes to the Blue Box, the new heavy waste system and leaf pick-up. The second part of the meeting will allow citizens to ask questions and voice concerns about pending changes.  I expect most Councilors to be there.

Also at 7:00 pm the evening at the Town Hall, Town staff will inform area businesses about our new economic development website and how they can get themselves listed on the site.  All are welcome.

On Friday October 26th you are invited to Bruce Stanton’s Fish Fry.  It starts at 5:00 pm at the Brian Orser arena in Penetanguishene.

On Saturday October 27th at 6:00 pm the Midland Lions Club celebrates its 75th Charter Anniversary with a special dinner at NSSRC. Tickets may still be available ($45.00).  At the same time the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre will be hosting a dinner to welcome First Nation representatives from across Ontario to our community.


In closing, your Huronia mayors and Councils have started to spend more time convincing senior levels of government that we have a real problem with the receding water levels in Georgian Bay. We will need to work with other communities around the shoreline to develop a common approach to deal with the very real impacts upon our residents, businesses and environment.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s exciting Year of Having Fun - 2012.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday October 14, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

The week ahead looks more fit for growing rice than doing yard work. But with the lake level being down a bit, we will certainly welcome the rain. Lots going on in our Town

On Monday October15th at 7:00 pm in the Council Chambers is a special public meeting of Council. The agenda includes:
-       Training on the Closed Meeting process from the Ombudsman’s Office
-       A review of our long term arrangement with the Huronia Museum
-       Huronia Museum audit fees
-       Application for funding for our asset management program

Tuesday October the 16th is just busy:
-       The NSCFDC Small Business Week will host a business breakfast at Brooklea starting at 7:00 am.  The speaker will be Mr. Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair TD Bank Group. Mr. McKenna will give us his insight into political and economic matters as they affect small business.
-       At 9:00 am, the Council of the County of Simcoe will hold an important meeting on its own governance structure. The discussion may lead to changes in how we elect our Councilors for this half-billion dollar corporation
-       At 4:30 pm, a special conference on business innovation will be held at the Holiday Inn in Barrie
-        And at 7:30 pm at the MCC is a first in a special presentation series, featuring Arkadi Kuhlmann founding CEO of ING Bank.

On Wednesday October 17th you have to get up early for the Christian Community Breakfast. Doors open at 6:30 am at the NSSRC.  Later that day, at 12:30 pm, the Library will hold a ceremony to recognize its volunteers. At 6:00 pm that evening we get into the meat of the Town’s budget process. This first public meeting will look at our operating budget for 2013 and how we intend to meet our restraint targets.

On Thursday October 18th at 6:00 pm is the Severn Sound Environmental Association Sustainability Summit. This public event takes place at Lakehead University in Orillia and will feature Tom Rand talking about our dependence on fossil fuels, plus a public forum on tree-cutting by-laws.

To round out the week, our Hospital Foundation hosts its “Une Soiree Extraordinaire” at the MCC starting at 7:30 pm on Saturday October 20th.


I have a special request to make of you. The Midland Out of the Cold (OOTC) will establish itself as a permanent emergency shelter when it opens this November 15th.  The new level of service will significantly improve the well-being and safety of our homeless and our community. Rebuilding the shelter for full year occupancy costs money – approximately $700,000.  The four Huronia mayors will be kicking off the fundraising by sleeping on the mats at the shelter on November 14th. If you would like to contribute to the OOTC program (and encourage your mayor) you may make a contribution pledge by e-mailing me at this address or sending a contribution directly to OOTC at 174-208 Charles St. Midland, ON, L4R 2X4. OOTC is a registered charity. Please help our homeless.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s exciting Year of Having Fun - 2012.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday October 7, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

We’re part way through a long week-end. The fall leaves are at their peak – the weather is a bit dodgy though.  I hope that you are gathered with family and friends, enjoying some well carved turkey and the joy of being together.

The past week saw the completion of our first series of Ward meetings. Attendance over the three nights ranged from a low of six to a high of forty. Most people seemed to enjoy the opportunity to talk directly with their Councilors in a more casual manner. If Council agrees, we may do this again next year.


Tuesday October 9th and your Council is back to work with a closed meeting at 6:00 pm.  The meeting will address a land exchange matter and two of litigation. Then at 7:00 pm is the regular General Committee at Town Hall, including:
-       Bryan Peter will tell us about the 2013 events line-up including the return of Tugfest, Tall Ships and a new Thunder Riders weekend. It just keeps getting better.
-       A report from the Seniors Council on their Strategy for Seniors
-       A report from our Treasurer on Council’s fiscal responsibility directive
-       Councilor committee appointments for 2013- 2014

On Thursday Oct 11th at 3:00 pm the new President of Georgian College Ms. Mary Lynn West Moynes, will be inaugurated at Georgian College in Barrie. Then at 7:00 pm that evening at NSSRC Mr. Bryan Peter invites you for an update of the events he has been working on. This meeting is a follow-up to the meeting held in the spring where members of the public proposed many new ideas for events in Midland.

Friday Oct 12th, starting at 9:30 am and running to 2:30 pm, its Garfield Dunlop’s Seniors Information Day. The event is at the NSSRC and will feature presentations, demonstrations and lots of helpful information for seniors.

Then on Saturday, October 13th, two special events:
-       Huronia Players celebrates its first 50 years with a party at the MCC starting at 2:00 pm
-       At 7:30 that evening, please come to a Rule Britannia concert at St Pauls in support of Out of the Cold. Tickets at the door.


Many of you have been following the release of the KPMG report in the local media. For another perspective you may wish to view my blog at:

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s exciting Year of Having Fun - 2012.


Opportunities - Choosing the Future

Fall 2012 will be a pivotal period in setting Midland’s course for the future.

For the past few years the people of Midland and Council have discussed the structural challenges that confront our community. While the specifics may be debated the underlying facts remain:
-              Our population is growing very slowly and aging  rapidly
-              Our incomes are low and unable to support the likely tax rates we face in the next five     years
-              Our economy is in flux , moving away from manufacturing towards an uncertain future
-              The state of the federal and provincial budgets makes it unlikely that we will receive     any new financial assistance from these levels of government

And while for many these are just statistics, Council knew that these challenges left unaddressed would significantly limit our choices for Midland’s future.

The time had come for action.  This past spring your Council asked KPMG to review all municipal operations and advise us on how we should “steer the ship”.  This month, Council received the final KPMG Report.  It contains 58 “opportunities” that could potentially affect almost every service provided by the municipality.  The Report makes some efficiency suggestions that are relatively easy to adopt – for example better cooperation with neighbouring municipalities.  But it also identifies areas where Midland is providing services well beyond what similar communities are providing and causes us to face the question “Should we provide and can we continue to afford providing these services?”  For example, the Report identifies that we are over-serviced in Parks and Recreation as well as Public Works.  We are also underserviced in areas such as Economic Development.  The challenge before Council is to select from these 58 opportunities in a way that moves us towards resolving our structural challenges while providing the services that the public truly needs.

The next few months could be a remarkable time of setting a clear direction for our future and making the necessary adjustments. It could also be a period where we descend into bickering and confrontation as every opportunity is debated in isolation and well intentioned citizens argue that their service expectations could not possibly change. If we go that route we will surely end up with “last year’s budget plus 3%”.

Our way forward is one guided by an understanding of our long term vision combined with the flexibility to adjust our service expectation while ensuring we retain those services that really contribute to our municipal quality of life.  There will be trade-offs. There will be changes. But if the citizens and Council engage in an honest and respectful discussion about what is in the best long-term interests of Midland, I am confident that we will choose the opportunities that lead to our future prosperity.