Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday September 29, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

The topic this week is economic development – or – bringing jobs and new people to our community. While I may be accused of being on the optimistic side of life, there are a lot of good things happening in our area.

This past week I attended the opening of our new Little Caesars franchise on Hwy. 93. Later in the week it was the opening of ShopCity a business start-up that holds out tremendous prospects for our local economy. Check out their video at .

On a more structural front our Town’s building permits are up some 20% so far over last year. We participated in our second Prosperity Summit last week – a forum that brings business leaders and the four municipalities together to discuss growing our economy. And speaking of our four municipalities, this month will see all four of us vote to commit County funds to our common economic development effort.  This commitment will total $400,000 over the next two years. So far three are in – Tiny votes on Monday.

And as far as jobs coming our way, I am discussing potential business expansions/relocations with three major organizations. Look for an announcement this week by one company bringing more jobs to Midland in 2014.

Yes there are empty store fronts on King Street but there is a more positive step to our local economy. More is needed. Everyone has a role to play – bringing your ideas to public meetings; helping a visitor; starting your own business; …and many other ways.  This should be your “year of getting involved”.


Monday September 30th will start with the opening of the new Georgian Village in Penetanguishene. This $76 million investment in modern elderly living is a true showcase of what we can do.  At 7:00 pm that evening our housing service providers will meet to develop an area position on what we need for affordable housing over the next ten years. This meeting was called in response to the draft County strategy that raised many concerns with the area mayors and housing providers. The results of this meeting will be presented to the County when they come to Town on Tuesday.

If you have any spare time you will want to tune into the CBC Murdoch Mysteries on Monday.  The entire episode was filmed on the Keewatin and features many local actors. Look for an active discussion on that at Tim Hortons the next day.

On Tuesday Oct 1st at 1:00 pm you may wish to meet with County representatives to provide comment on their 10 year affordable housing and homelessness strategy. The meeting is at the Library. The strategy is at

Wednesday October 2nd features two Town meetings. At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting to discuss personal matters. At 7:00 pm at the Town is the Planning and Development Committee meeting. First up will be a public input meeting to discuss the proposed small apartment building project for 422 King St. (the old Sadie Moranis property). The developer wants to conserve the existing heritage building but to do so proposes to build a 14 unit apartment building in the large back-yard.  A number of residents have already commented that this would be inappropriate for the area. If you want to have input on the matter, this is your chance.

Later on the meeting will discuss site plan changes for the reclaimed electroplating business site at 351 Yonge St. and changes to our sign by-law to allow charities more flexibility in putting up signs for community events.

Thursday is for early risers as the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corp. hosts its Small Business Week event at their new location (next to First for Safety on Fourth St.) at 7:30 am.  If you plan on attending please give them a call.

On Friday October 4th at 11:00 am the Waterfront Steering Committee will meet in the Council chambers. The meeting is open to the public.


On Saturday at 7:30 pm you are invited to St. Pauls for a fundraising event for the Guesthouse (Out of the Cold). This event features our Sernata Choir.

Gord McKay

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


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday September 21, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

I miss the Free Press. When we had two papers in Town they did a good job of covering Council and the local issues. Now that we are down to one I find that many citizens are not able to stay on top of what is happening in our community. So to try to help out I will provide a bit more commentary in your News from the Town. Let me know what you think.

Monday September 23rd will leave a good taste in your mouth as Little Caesars opens its new location in Midland at 11:00 am.  Keeping with the pizza theme, Wheels 4 Wheels (our volunteer accessible transportation service) is fundraising at Boston Pizza.  Between 5 pm & 9 pm, 10% of every meal ordered (excluding taxes and alcohol) will be donated to Wheels 4 Wheels.

The at 6:00 pm Council will have a closed meeting to discuss a number of matters related to personal, labor relations and land acquisition. At 7:00 pm at the Town Hall is the regular Council meeting including:
-       Three deputations
-       A discussion and direction on the Huronia Museum. The Huronia Museum is a private institution that the Town has long supported. Over the last decade attendance has been declining and various plans have been proposed to improve the situation. Of late the concern about the roof leaking has led to some heated comments about who is paying for what and what type of funding should the Town give the museum over the longer term. The meeting will likely focus on fixing the roof.
-       Leaf pick-up direction. With the new County service in place this fall, Council will clarify the additional help the Town will offer citizens who have large volumes of leaves. A contentious issue for Council.  Look for this to echo through the coming election.
-       Recommendation to provide the Huronia Economic Alliance with the $100,000 grant from County over two years. This is a major step in having the four North Simcoe communities work together on economic development.
-       The Police Service report is not to be missed. We will hear about a major downtick in criminal activity in Midland over the last two years.

Tuesday September 24th will start with County Committee of the Whole at 9:00 am and then County Council. A new format.  Could be an all-day event.  

At 7:00 pm that evening the Town will launch the Midland Cultural Plan.  You are invited to the Library at 7:00 pm to provide input on how culture is important for our community and what should be done to build our culture.  Yes, the County was at the library two weeks ago on a similar topic.  These two exercises are supporting each other.

Wednesday September 25th starts in Collingwood at 9:00 am with a conference on tourism and the impact of declining water levels. At 3:30 pm, back in Midland at the Town Hall is the Police Service budget discussion, much of it will be in-camera.  Then at 6:00 pm is the Midland public budget meeting at the Town Hall. This is your opportunity to speak to Council and staff about where you feel the 2014 budget should be headed. All good suggestions welcomed.

At 6:30 pm that evening Community Living Huronia is hosting its membership event and AGM at the Brooklea. At 7:30 that evening, John French will be celebrating the donation of a grand piano to the MCC. The beautiful Heintzman piano was donated by Ann Koppel and family following the wishes of her late husband Peter Koppel. This free event is at the MCC.

Thursday September 26th at 11:00 am you are again invited to the MCC for a Catalpa open house.  Catalpa is a service organization that provides support for individuals with disabilities. Check them out at

Peaceworks is hosting a lunch featuring a presentation on Human Trafficking by Francisco Rico-Martinez, Co-Director FCJ Refugee Centre.  The lunch is at noon at the Explorers restaurant. Get your tickets early at Explorers.

ShopCity will launch its new training Centre at 4:00 pm at their new King and Hugel location. You are cordially invited to attend to hear about this exciting business enterprise and how it will bring a new dynamic and new jobs to our area.

Friday the 27th is the full day Prosperity Summit held this year at Kings Wharf in Penetanguishene. The Prosperity Summit is designed to bring business leaders together to discuss our area’s economy and be updated on the many things that are happening. While it seldom makes the media I have been involved with a number of companies who are seriously considering moving to our area. The HEA is actively pursuing a business incubator to grow our own businesses. While I and others are impatient to see our economy improve, we have made good progress on bringing new jobs in our area.


You will want to be at the Teddy Bears picnic, in aid of the Cancer Support Cente.  11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Perkinsfield Park in Tiny.


And in closing, leaf season is upon us. The County will be collecting the leaf bags in Midland on the weeks of Oct 13, Oct 27, Nov 10, Nov 24 and Dec 8.

Gord McKay

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


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday September 14, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Close to frost last night. Hockey starting this week. It won’t be long before we are looking for the mitts and boots. Never a dull moment in Midland.

It’s no secret that over the last five years businesses in our area have lost a number of high paying jobs. One sector that seems to be bucking that trend is healthcare. This Monday a group of our healthcare entrepreneurs will start a series of meetings to identify new business opportunities and grow new healthcare jobs in our community.  This is a critical part of rebuilding our economy.  We wish the Healthcare Innovators every success.
On Tuesday the 17th the municipality will be meeting with the Huronia Museum Board. The two critical items before us are working together to ensure the museum roof is fixed for this winter and setting the direction for a longer term relationship.  Details of meeting location are still pending.
The $450 million construction project at Waypoint is nearing completion.  This Wednesday September the 18th an initial tour will be held for local officials.  Hopefully public tours of this impressive facility will soon be available.  One meeting that you can attend – the Police Service Board will be meeting at Town Hall at 4:00 pm.
The exceptional series A Day in the Life continues with Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver, one of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. This may be the first time that a Justice of the Supreme Court has been in Midland. That’s Wednesday, September 18th at 7:30 pm at MCC.  Tickets are available at
Thursday September the 19th will likely see a series of meetings at Town Hall. The capital budget meeting will start at 6:00 pm.  A special meeting of Council may follow – check the Town website next week at
Friday will see the Waterfront Project Steering Committee meeting at 1:00 pm at the Town. Please remember you are invited to our public review meeting on the Waterfront Project coming up on September 26th at 6:00 pm at the NSSRC.


Saturday 21
  • 1:00 pm at Mountainview Mall is the Concerned Motorcyclists Toy Ride in support of our Salvation Army
  • 7:00 pm at the Midland Legion. Jeff Fillingham needs your help to raise money for a wheelchair accessible taxi in our community. Join Jeff for some good music and a worthwhile cause.

Sunday 22
  • Lakeview Cemetery will hold its cemetery re-dedication at 12 noon
  • From 1:00 to 4:00 pm the Coldwater Mill Museum will host an open house.  Some good food and an interesting look into our history.

Gord McKay

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


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday September 7. 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

Hard to believe but summer is pretty well wrapped up. A summer of many amazing events in our community:
-          Some 240 delegates attended the Ontario Heritage Conference in Midland
-          Our first annual and very successful Butter Tart festival
-          Canada Day was a walk in the park
-          Tugfest saw some 29 tugs from many parts of Ontario descend on our harbour
-          The majesty of the three tall ships dockside was breathtaking
Yes, there were some darker days such as the cancellation of Bikefest and the continuing pressure from a slow economy, but all in all a good summer in one of the best Towns in Ontario.

Looking forward to the fall, a few things to watch for:
-          Developments with the Midland Waterfront (the Unimin property).  We will try to keep all meetings open to the public – this is your waterfront
-          Economic development efforts will focus on bringing new healthcare sector jobs to our community.  You will likely see a new area Economic Development Officer
-          The Town will review OPP service costing.  A decision is most likely after the next election. Again we intend to have all meetings open to the public
-          Budget deliberations start this month and will feature a continued effort by Council to keep taxes down
-          And lastly, don’t forget this is the lead up to the 2014 municipal elections.  Should be interesting.

So on with the work.

On Monday September 9th   at 6:00 pm a closed meeting of Council will take place to address a number of personal and legal issues. The September General Committee starts at 7:00 pm. The agenda includes:
-          Discussion of our upcoming election process
-          A review of surplus municipal lands with possible disposition
-          Discussion of the OPP costing review process
-          Direction given on the need for a new engineering position
-          A variety of proposals from the Parks and Recreation department about how to increase revenues/fees
Depending upon the direction given for the engineering position, a Special Meeting of Council will be held immediately after the General Committee meeting to ratify the position.

Tuesday at 10:00 am will see a different type of County Council meeting. The County governance committee has directed that the County should now discuss its business as the Committee of the Whole.  This new form of governance will be put to the test on Tuesday.

Wednesday September 11th starts the 2014 budget season.  The first meeting will be held at the Town Hall starting at 6:00 pm and will cover the operating budget. The public is encouraged to input to the budget process either by contacting Council or staff.  In addition a special session on the budget will be held for public input on Wednesday September 25th at 6:00 pm

Thursday September 12th look for a lot of water specialists to be in Town as the Ontario Water Works Conference will meet at the NSSRC. 


On Sunday the 15th the Legion Drumhead ceremony will take place at 2:00 pm at the Lakeview Cemetery. While always a special event, this year’s ceremony will feature a delegation from the US who has come to remember a US civil war comrade buried in our cemetery.

Gord McKay

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