Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday January 4, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our New Year has so far treated us to numbing cold and a fair amount of snow. Old timers take delight in reminding us that this is how our winters used to be.  Many Canadian cities have seen the extreme weather quickly turn into an emergency situation. While Midland is in good shape, take a moment to check your family’s supplies so that you are ready to survive a power outage of three days. Now is the time to prepare.

2014 will be Midland’s Year of Making Decisions.  A quick look ahead shows some of the major decisions facing Council (and what is at stake):
-       In January, Council will likely set our 2014 budget and tax rate. Latest indications are that we will come in under 2%. (Tax growth at or below the rate of inflation gives our municipality and taxpayers a long-term sustainable approach to our finances)
-       In February the Town should receive the environmental report on the Unimin waterfront property. Assuming its positive, Midland will shortly thereafter assume full ownership of the property. Following that the Town will seek a favourable arrangement with a site developer. So far a number of major developers have expressed interest. (Negotiating the right development agreement is critical to realizing our waterfront vision, growing our tax base and building a major new vital neighbourhood in our Town)
-       Likely in March, Council will come to a decision on whether to allow more housing units to be built on the Moranis property at 422 King. (Council’s decision could lead in many directions - from continued deterioration of the heritage property to building needed rental accommodation in Midland)
-       Council will face a decision on the sale of the MPUC, likely in April.  While negotiating positions cannot be discussed publically, there will be further public meetings before a decision is made. (Council’s decision must consider the high quality of service currently provided and the many potential benefits to the community available through a new owner.)
-       Our area’s economic development initiative should go to the next level by forming the “Huronia Economic Development Corporation” (HEDC).  The HEDC will involve the private sector and the municipalities in directly helping local businesses grow and by attracting new jobs. (A proper decision is essential to setting up the HEDC governance and in hiring the new Economic Development Officer)
-       While the date is uncertain, the Town is moving towards an agreement with Imperial Oil to allow public use of the decommissioned lot at the corner of Bay and King. (If successful the Town will lose an eye-sore and gain a new public square.)
-       Fingers crossed, the new Midland website will be up sometime this spring.  (This site will better show the world what Midland is all about.  It should also allow us to use technology to better serve our citizens.)
-       The Town has committed to building its portion of an inter-urban bike trail along Fuller Ave. Hopefully we will be able to connect up with Penetanguishene in 2014. (Once completed this bike trail, will give all of us an alternative to the car for our trips between Midland and our neighbour.)
-       The Simcoe County District School Board is seriously considering closing one of the English public high-schools serving Midland and Penetanguishene. While not a Council decision, we have a strong interest in ensuring a high-school(s) in our community. (The school decision, if properly made, will strengthen the high-schools in both of our communities.)
-       And finally, much of the Council business of Midland will grind to a halt in the late summer as municipal elections will take place October 27th.   (The outcome of the election will set the direction for Midland for the next four years.) While many citizens are rightly upset with their elected representatives, the need to vote is as critical as ever. The decision is yours to make.


A fairly quiet week in the Town. Two meetings of particular interest:

·         On Wednesday January 8th, the Township of Tay will hold its regular Council meeting at 7:00 pm at its township offices. The meeting will consider the Skyline development and the closely tied Keewatin project. If you have an interest in this major development, you may wish to attend.

·         On Thursday January 9th at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC, the four municipalities are hosting a public consultation on area tourism.  This input will be used for the Huronia Area Tourism Strategy, an initiative to improve the marketing and delivery of tourism services for our entire area. Please attend.


Sunday January 12th  -  Garfield Dunlop hosts his New Year Levee at the Midland Legion from 1:00 to 4:00 pm


Making decisions is an essential part of our lives. Each decision moves us from contemplating our situation to doing something about it. The New Year provides us fresh impetus to make decisions: about starting a new job, buying a new home or starting a new family.  The election this year gives us a chance to decide about how to make Midland better for all of us. This is your decision – make it happen.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Making Decisions - 2014


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