Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday October 27, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Time for trick or treat – and no that is not a reference to the Senate. I have to admit it is becoming more challenging to be a “politician” of any stripe in these mistrustful times.  That said….

Monday October 28th the Town of Midland will receive an official visit from Mr. Julang Pujianto Indonesian Consul General.  Mr. Pujianto is conducting a familiarization tour of the province and wanted to become better acquainted with Midland. Seems we are gradually getting onto the map.

At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to cover two personnel and two litigation items. Then at 7:00 pm is the Council meeting. Could be a lengthy agenda with:
-       Presentation of a long service medal to our by-law officer Jim Reicheld
-       Three deputations:
o    Water levels in Georgian Bay – Stop the Drop
o    The 2014 Butter Tart festival
o    Affordable housing strategy from our Seniors Council
-       Ratification by Council of the policy direction given Parks and Recreation to “regularize” our user fees. The most contentious element is non-residents fees and striking the proper balance between encouraging use of Midland facilities by our neighbors while recognizing the ongoing tax support of the people of Midland. Your thoughts on this are appreciated.
-       Search for a community member to represent Midland at the public School Board Accommodation Review. The Review is looking to consolidate shrinking local high-schools (MSS and PSS) but unfortunately pits us against one another. Population growth would solve a lot of problems. Hopefully a solution that works for both communities can be identified.

On Tuesday October 29th I am back at the County for budget discussions. That evening at 7:00 pm at the MCC is the International Festival of Authors event. It features four authors, all nominees to the Rogers Writers Trust awards. Tickets are available at the MCC or the Midland Library. A must attend for all “bookies”.

Wednesday October 30th starts at 10:00 am in Barrie with an announcement of a cooperative business innovation arrangement between Lakehead University and Georgian College. The relevance for Midland is that we are currently active with both of these institutions about innovative job creation in Midland, including the development of an area business incubator. Simply put our jobs of tomorrow start with initiatives like this today.

Then at 2:00 pm Scotiabank (King Street) invites you to attend their 50th anniversary celebration - 50 years of helping area residents with their banking needs.

On Thursday the 31st at 12:30 pm the Library will host an appreciation reception for their volunteers. Please come and thank those who give of their time to make our Library work. At 6:00 pm the Georgian College Board of Governors will meet at the Midland campus - an opportunity to strengthen the Town’s relationship with this important institution. Then home for Halloween.

Friday Nov 1st at 11:00 am you are welcome to attend the regular Waterfront Steering Committee meeting at Town Hall.


A weekend of downtown shopping as the BIA hosts the Girls Holiday Weekend. A three day extravaganza of food, shows and yes shopping. Apparently men need not apply – go figure. Further information at


Three items in closing:

This week is the second of five County bagged leaf and garden waste pick-ups. Please make use of this new service.

Advance notice of the 2013 YMCA Gifts to Give event. This charity provides gifts to those who want to celebrate Christmas by presenting a gift to loved ones but don’t have the means to do so. The exchange event itself takes place on Monday December 2nd, 2013 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre. Donations of nonperishable food items will be collected at that time for the Salvation Army Food Bank. If you wish to donate unused or nearly new gift items (no furniture or clothing please) please bring them to:

  1. YMCA Employment Services – Midland, 334 King Street
November 18th to 22nd, November 25th to 29th, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Saturday November 23rd   and 30th, 10:00 am to 1:30 pm

  1. North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre, 527 Len Self Boulevard
December 2nd, 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Last week’s hospital fundraiser was treated to an innovative rap anthem by one of our local artists Damon Morin, It’s a song about our hospital and community that I know you will enjoy.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday October 20, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Mother Nature has followed Thanksgiving up with cooler weather - a reminder to start thinking about where you put the snow shovel last spring. 

The fall is also our budget period and Midland has just concluded its second round of typically a three round budget preparation process. At the end of our Thursday budget meeting the projected cost increase (not tax increase) was about 2%. Major negotiations are still underway with the Police and Fire groups that could significantly affect that number. A lot of work is still ahead as we try to keep your tax increase to about the rate of inflation (1.5%).

One other financial matter this past week was the direction given by Council to consider the sale of the Midland Power Utility Corporation. This discussion was kicked off three weeks ago when the Town received an unsolicited offer from Hydro One. While I cannot divulge the details of the offer, it was significant. The MPUC is a wholly owned asset of the Town. The MPUC is heavily regulated so the Town has limited say on hydro rates and level of service. The Town does receive a “dividend stream” of $400,000 per year that is used to reduce the tax rate. The evaluation and sale process will likely take until next summer to complete.

On Monday October 21st Hospice Huronia will be celebrating its 20th anniversary at 2:00 pm at the Penetanguishene Branch of the GBGH.  Then at 5:00 pm you may wish to drop by the MCC to participate in an innovative artistic endeavor called HUB. The HUB will bring our creative and artistic citizens together to build new cultural initiatives and just have some fun.   Later that day (5:30 pm) I have the honour of opening the Palmer Chiropractic Centre in Midland - another sign of the growing importance of healthcare in our local economy.

Tuesday will see two important meetings. The regular County Council takes place at 9:00 am in Midlhurst. At the meeting Midland will be called to account for providing a limited leaf vacuuming service for its residents. The County has responsibility for leaf pick-up and this year mandated that all 16 municipalities use its “leaf bag” service. In order to help a number of our citizens transition to the new service, Midland Council voted to provide a limited leaf vacuuming service at our own expense, in addition to the County service. The Deputy Mayor and I (Midland’s two County Council representatives) will continue to make the case for our Midland residents.

Then at 5:00 pm that evening, Chigamik will host its AGM at their offices at 845 King Street. Always an interesting update. You are welcome to attend.

Wednesday October 23rd starts early at 6:30 am with the annual Christian Breakfast at the NSSRC. A good time to meet your neighbors, enjoy breakfast and be inspired by messages of hope and good fellowship.

On Thursday October 24th its back to the County at 9:00 am for their budget discussion.  Then at 2:00 pm the Huronia Economic Alliance gets together at the Tay Town Hall at 2:00 pm.  The discussion should be interesting as the four municipalities have now all passed motions agreeing to pool their share of $400,000 in County funds to pursue economic development.  This is truly a milestone of cooperation in our area. My thanks to our good neighbours.

Right after the HEA meeting we move into our Heads of Council meeting (apparently we cannot get enough of each other).  The Heads of Council is a quarterly informal discussion of common issues such as water levels and relations with the County.

And at 7:30 pm at the MCC Brookside Music hosts a tribute to legendary singer and songwriter Hank Williams. Jason Petty brings his unique and insightful perspective on one of country music’s most influential icons, offering a glimpse into the legend’s glorious and often dark personal life and musical career. Don’t miss this New York Obie Award winning production.

Friday starts early in the morning (again) with the Small Business Week breakfast at the Best Western at 7:00 am.  Sponsored by NSCFDC this gathering honours our many small business entrepreneurs who provide us with products and services while creating most of the local jobs.

At 1:00 pm that afternoon Bayfield House Retirement Lodge, Beck Blvd. in Penetanguishene, will celebrate its 5th anniversary. Music will be provided by the Desotos – all are welcome.


Saturday at 9:00 am – the Horticultural Society holds its annual meeting at the NSSRC.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday October 13, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

 The Thanksgiving break and time to be with your family. I will keep this short.

On Tuesday October 15th we recover from the turkey with a series of meetings at the Town. At 4:00 pm the Police Service Board will hold an in-camera meeting concerning a personnel matter. Then at 6:00 pm its Council’s turn for a closed meeting to discuss personal, litigation and land acquisition/sale matters.

At 7:00 pm the public General Committee meeting featuring a long list of interesting topics including:
-          Information about management (non-union) “terms of employment” showing an overall cost reduction for 2014
-          Consideration of reducing the many committees that Councilors  participate in – currently about 25
-           An update on how we are proceeding with the 38 operational recommendations from the KPMG study (Now honestly, I bet you thought you would never hear of the KPMG report recommendations again)
-          A notice from the OPP that they cannot continue with their costing for Midland until September 2014. The OPP are going through an internal cost allocation review that while not reducing the overall cost of OPP services, will redistribute them differently to the customer municipalities. Some will see increases and others cost reductions.  Our discussion will likely recommence a month before the election so this matter will go to the new Council.
-          Bryan Peter will seek Council direction for a number of important policy matters:
o    Should we have non-resident user fees?
o    Should Parks consider contracting out services? (eg grass-cutting)
o    Should fees for the many rec services be rationalized?
And one matter that did not appear on the agenda. The 6:00 pm closed meeting will discuss some aspects of the potential disposition of the MPUC. The continuation of that discussion will move to open session, hopefully later that same night.

On Wednesday the Police Service Board is back at Town Hall at 4:00 pm with its regular meeting, including a closed portion.

Thursday October 17th is one of those days where everything seems to happening in the evening. At 6:00 pm at the Town Hall is the second round of our budget review. Staff should be coming forward with proposals to meet overall targets of 0% and 2% for cost growth. Council will then discuss the final target for the 2014 budget.

Also at 6:00 pm, The Karma Food market is hosting a Food Share event at the Le Cle offices on Main Street in Penetanguishene. And back in Midland, a Day in the Life series features our own renowned Canadian artist John Hartman at 7:30 pm at the MCC.

On Friday October 18th you are invited to the regular Waterfront Planning meeting at 11:00 am at the Town Hall.  And at 8:00 pm that evening in Barrie, the County Service Recognition awards will be made to exemplary County staff.


Saturday October 19th:
-          You are invited to the opening of the Banana Basket at noon at 465 Dominion
-          The annual Hospital Gala takes place at the MCC.  It’s already sold out so good news for our hospital.


The first of five County leaf collections takes place this week.  Have your bags and containers out to the curb by 7:00 am on Monday.

And finally, the Huronia Economic Alliance needs your views on living, working, recreation and investment in our area. Their survey should only take a few minutes to complete. Please link to the survey on the HEA’s website at,

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday October 6, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

The seasons are changing and so too our fall leaf pick-up. The new pick-up service has led to a lot of discussion at Council so I will do my best to help you sort through the new arrangement.

The County of Simcoe has the responsibility for picking up your leaves at curbside this fall. They require that you put your leaves into the large compostable leaf bags or other open containers that can be lifted by their service truck operator.  They will pick up bags/containers of leaves in Midland every second week starting the week of October 13th and ending the week of December the 8th.  Please refer to your County of Simcoe waste calendar (you were sent a copy in the spring) or call the County at 705-735-6901.

Recognizing that this is a transition year, Midland is offering help to those who are challenged by the new County service. Midland will provide an extra service including reimbursement for leaf bag purchases, having service agencies help you bag your leaves as well as a limited vacuuming. Please see the Town website at  


Monday October 7th is a busy one for evening meetings.
-       At 7:00 pm at the Midland Legion is an organizational meeting for the proposed Frank Graham Tour of Holland being planned for 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.
-       Also at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC is the Midland Waterfront public meeting. Your chance to comment on the current Waterfront Plan.  The meeting will also lay out the next steps in the development process. Come out and tell us about your waterfront
-       At 7:30 pm the Healthcare Innovators group will meet to further develop new healthcare businesses in in our area

Tuesday will be a busy day a County as the new County Council and Committee of the Whole meetings take place.

Thursday Oct 10th will feature a Police and Crime Prevention meeting at NSSRC at 7:00 pm.  The meeting brings together agencies and organizations who are involved in community safety and policing to explore ways to make Midland a safer place for all.


Just one note - we will cut the ribbon at the renewed ESSO station on Hwy 93 at 1:30 pm


A closing comment on the public meeting held last week respecting a proposed development on the property at 422 King. Many of you probably recognize this address as belonging to a stately century home on King Street immediately adjacent to the Cenotaph.  Many citizens spoke, all in opposition to the development.  The concerns brought forward were real and heartfelt – from increased traffic; to increased density; to change of the neighborhood’s appearance. The situation though is complicated by the fact that the century home is now starting to fall into disrepair. An open question to Council is what is the best path to preserve this signature neighborhood while satisfying the concerns of the residents. Look for further discussion at the Planning and Development Committee.   

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Getting Involved - 2013.