Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday January 25, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Lots of good things happening in our Town. Last Thursday our area launched its new tourism brand – Heart of Georgian Bay. Also the new Georgian Bay signature song, curtesy of Noni, is simply inspiring. (I will see if I can get an approved link for you to hear it for next week).

Many of you are now enjoying our first downtown outdoor skating rink. Well it gets better.  We now have a second outdoor rink at Little Lake Park.  Midland - yes, we can.

And with Winterfest shaping up for this weekend, we still need your help to name our official winter mascot. If you have a favorite name for a cuddly five foot penguin, who is a bit on the quiet side, please send that to Nicole at before February 1.


On Monday January 26th Council gets back to work with some serious meetings. A closed session of Council begins at 5:00 pm to address a number of matters including personal issues, labour relations, legal and committee appointments.  At 7:00 pm at Town Hall is the regular January Council meeting. An interesting agenda including:
-       Four deputations:
o    Update on our 2015 Butter Tart festival
o    The SSEA report on our sustainability plan
o    A request by our hospital for funding
o    Announcement of our new healthcare facility being built close to our downtown waterfront. While this project is exciting in and of itself, it also represents the foundation for the new “healthcare hub” taking shape in Midland.
-       Launch of the new Downtown Safety Committee
-       By-law to require smokers to stay 10 meters from sports fields and playgrounds
-       Proposed heritage designation for St. Margaret’s

Tuesday the 27th will start at the County at 9:00 am. The main item on the agenda is the approval of the County’s 2015 budget. At 3:00 pm that afternoon, I host the North Simcoe Housing Working Group at Town Hall. This volunteer group, while supporting the County’s housing strategy, is looking to launch its own local housing project. If our area’s housing challenges are of interest to you, please attend.

The County will come to visit us on Wednesday the 28th at 10:00 am as they host a Cycle Simcoe Open House at the NSSRC. We will have a chance to understand the County’s plan for encouraging cycling across the County and allow us to give them some feedback. You are welcome to attend.

Thursday January 29th will give you a number of options. The Town’s Downtown Master Plan project kicks back into gear with a number of focused meetings throughout the day. The main public meeting takes place at 6:30 pm at the NSSRC. This is an excellent opportunity for all citizens to get involved in helping us design our downtown for the next 30 years.

And if planning is not your strong suit, you may wish to join Council as it continues to finalize its 2015 budget.  That’s at 5:00 pm in the Council chambers.

Friday January 30th is just plain busy. The first meeting is our Waterfront Steering committee meeting at 11:00 am in Town Hall.  

At 1:00 pm there is a public meeting at the Oakwood Community Center in Tay to continue the public discussion of our area’s healthcare. This meeting follow’s up on the earlier public sessions in Midland in 2014. Its purpose is to organize meaningful two-way engagement by the public in defining what we need for our healthcare. While we are still in the very early days, there have already been a number of successes:
-       Written commitment to the long-term sustainability of GBGH
-       Active participation by the four mayors, our LHIN and GBGH
-       The start of a “healthcare charter” for all area citizens

At 2:00 pm the Downtown Master Plan Steering committee meets in the Council chambers. Then at 4:00 pm it’s time to get active as the annual BIA road hockey game takes place on King Street downtown. Bring your stick and sweater and join the fun.

And with that we step right into Midland’s Winterfest Weekend. Lots of things to do all weekend, (see attached). I draw your attention to a special Winterfest event at our museum.  Called “Dinner in your Hands” they will be providing a very traditional repast of moose stew or three sisters’ soup and bannock. Check it out at our museum from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.


-       Winterfest continues at Little Lake Park
-       Farmers market at NSSRC at 9:00 am

-       Farmers market at Mountainview mall at noon
-       Winterfest continues.  Drop by the Spelling Bee at NSSRC starting at 10 am


Two closing items. The Midland Y’s Men’s Club is helping youth in North Simcoe get active with a $5,000 donation to the YMCA.  This donation will provide local youth with a free Friday “Youth Nights” at the Midland YMCA for one year.  Youth Nights at the YMCA provide a fun place for young people to hang out, in a safe environment, and enjoy swimming and sports.  If you know of a young person who may be interested, let him/her know.

Many of you have been navigating the new four-way stop at King and Yonge. This should have been repaired last week except for the difficulty in replacing the traffic light controller that was damaged in the accident. Public Works expects the lights to be back in action this week.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday January 18, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our downtown outdoor skating rink is in full swing. Bring your family down and let’s start enjoying our Canadian winter.

A couple of developments on the business front from this past week:

The four mayors together with our new economic organization, EDCNS, are organizing a response to the announced loss of our Pillsbury plant. We met with federal Minister Goodyear this past week; General Mills head office has been contacted and will work with us; and to date 5 members of the public come forward with ideas to replace the lost jobs. The mayors and EDCNS meet on Tuesday to plan our next steps. More to come.

The County has completed most of its deliberations on the 2015 budget. While it still has to be passed it looks like a 1% County levy increase this year. Midland’s new Council similarly had its first budget meeting. We currently stand at about a 1.4% increase, but decisions are still outstanding on the police budget.


Monday January 19th will start on an interesting note. St. Theresa’s Grade 12 philosophy class has asked me to participate in their debate.  I suspect we will get into the core issue of civil governance – the rights of the individual versus those of the group. As long as they stay away from Senate reform I should be OK.

That evening the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour is holding a fundraiser at Boston Pizza from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Ten percent of food purchases will be donated by BP to support the 2015 tour by our young people as they attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of WWII in Europe. Also on Monday is the start of the Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts, at the Penetanguishene Curling Club. This event will feature our area’s own Sherry Middaugh.  The matches run from the 19th to the 25th. Go online for tickets -

On Tuesday the 20th at 2:00 pm at Town Hall is the regular meeting of our Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee.  The meeting will continue the development of our “healthcare charter” as well as discuss preparations for the January 30th 1:00 pm public healthcare meeting in Tay.  Then at 7:00 pm that evening, Healthcare Innovators meets – making good progress on healthcare business ideas for our area.

If healthcare is not your passion, you may wish to see the screening of Tosca at 7:00 pm at the MCC. Brookside is pleased to present this Puccini opera about a world of political instability and menace. (Sounds familiar)

Wednesday will see your Council in an all-day strategy session. Starting at 8:30 am at Town Hall, Council will consider the vision for Midland and then start selecting its Council priorities for the next four years. You are most welcome to attend.

On Thursday January 22nd you are invited to the public launch of our area’s new brand “The Heart of Georgian Bay”.  The event will display our new brand and logo plus tell you how our four municipalities plan to promote our area’s tourism. This branding is exactly what we need. That’s at 10:00 am at the MCC.

At 3:00 pm the four mayors are sponsoring an equally serious discussion about the societal relationship between men and women. Every December the 6th the mayors participate in a moving ceremony sponsored by Rosewood, to commemorate the 14 female victims from Ecole Polytechnique.  Each year we also hear about additional deaths - women murdered often by their male partner. This meeting will begin the discussion in our own community about the nature of the local problem and what we can do about it. The meeting takes place at the Midland Council chamber at 3:00 pm


-       Legion Branch 80 hosts its Robbie Burns supper at 5:00 pm at the Legion
-       Skating on our new downtown rink

-       Wrap up of Tournament of Hearts in Penetanguishene  
-       Tiffin Homeowners have their member’s bonspiel.
(If you have neighborhood event that you would like me to mention in News from the Town, please let me know)

Two items to mark on your calendar for this summer.

1)     The 2015 Central Region 55+ Summer Games will take place in Midland on Wednesday, August 26th.  Events include 5 Pin Bowling, Shuffleboard, Swimming, Tennis, 5 Km Run and Pickle Ball. If you can help out by volunteering a few hours, please contact Garry Morehouse at

2)     This summer Midland harbour will welcome two cruise lines.

Pearl Mist (200 passengers)
August 3 – 7:00 am to 5 pm
August 24 – 7:00 am to August 25th morning
September 7 – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm

St. Laurent – Hymark   (210 passengers)
August 15 – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
August 23 – 5:00 am to 6:30 pm

Please come down and help me welcome these many visitors to our Town.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday January 11, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s a tough way to start a new year with the announcement that the Pillsbury plant is closing. The plant has been with us since 1952. I have been told that the plant will continue to run until summer 2016 when it will close with the loss of about 100 jobs.

There is no way to sugar coat it. The loss of 100 jobs will affect our community. Families will be hurt – less money in the local economy – some people may have to leave our area. And this closing has nothing to do with the high quality of the work being done at the plant. General Mills has told us that they are realigning their global supply chain and that the work being done in Midland is moving somewhere else.

The only saving grace is that Midland is a strong resilient community. I have already had contact with the province to help staff retrain and find new employment. I will meet with Minister Goodyear this week to discuss what can be done about the General Mills closing and other local situations, such as CCL in Penetanguishene. Your Council will be working closely with our newly formed Economic Development Corporation to make sure that the General Mills property quickly becomes the home of new jobs for our community.  Giving up is not in our vocabulary.


On Monday January 12th your Council gets down to business.  At 5:30 pm we gather in the Council chamber for our official Council picture. At 6:00 pm it’s a closed meeting to discuss a personal matter and land acquisition. At 7:00 pm we are back in public with the January General Committee meeting. The agenda is not too challenging with:
-       An application for a second farmers market this summer
-       Announcement of our annual downtown road hockey game set for January 30th from  4:00 to 6:00 pm
-       Proposed agreement with GB Snowriders for in-town trails
Tuesday the 13th starts with the County Committee of the Whole in Midhurst at 9:00 am. The main item on the agenda is recommendation of the 2015 County budget. Following that I am scheduled for a meeting with Minister Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for Economic Development for Southern Ontario.

Wednesday January 14th gives you a choice for your evening. At 7:00 pm at the Town Hall is the Planning and Development Committee.  The agenda includes;
-       The 2015 Development overview.  This is an excellent summary presentation of all the development activity underway in Midland as well as what is on the horizon.  Look for updates on Bayport, Marina Park and the Hanson development.
-       Devonsleigh Homes has filed a request for a lot control extension
-       The announcement of the start of our Official Plan process, including a request for a public meeting.
-       Proposed arrangement with Penetanguishene for a shared Chief Building Officer service
-       The closing report on the OMB decision regarding the Guesthouse shelter

If you are not into planning you may wish to attend A Day in the Life featuring Kevin James LaBrie, the lead singer of the internationally acclaimed progressive metal rock band, Dream TheaterFor more than two decades, he and his bands have produced more than two dozen albums and participated in 30 tours worldwide.  Dream Theater has performed concerts throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and North America.  The band has been nominated for three Grammy awards and band members have won numerous awards individually and collectively. That’s at 7:00 pm at the MCC.  Tickets are $19 ($10 for students) and are available at the MCC Box Office or online at

On Thursday January 15th at 6:00 pm Midland’s new Council discusses the 2015 budget. A proposed 2015 budget was prepared by the previous Council. The new Council will now have a chance to decide on any changes that they wish to make.  Midland should wrap up its budget process with Council approval in February.

Friday January 16th will see the regular Waterfront Project Steering committee meeting at 11:00 am at Town Hall.  That evening at 7:00 pm Quest Art School + Gallery will open two exhibitions at the MCC. Paintings by Wasaga Beach artist Sue Miller with sculptures created by Halyna Mordonec-Regenbogen, a resident of Tiny Township, will be upstairs.  Concurrently, the Atrium Gallery will present From Shore to Sky, a community exhibition featuring artwork depicting elements of shore- and skylines. 


Last week I told you about our area’s new tourism branding – The Heart of Georgian Bay.  This week our tourism group has launched a new Tourism trade association. This “destination marketing organization” (DMO) will be industry-led and municipally-supported, The DMO is named “North Simcoe Tourism” and is under the care of our new economic development group,  the Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe.  North Simcoe Tourism will work with all the tourism partners in the area to build our brand, attract visitors and ensure that we grow a healthy balanced tourist industry.

And lastly, your County Christmas tree pick-up will take place the weeks of January 12th and 26th.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday January 3, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

I hope that you safely and happily closed out 2014 - the year of major decisions for our community.  The Town decided to purchase the Unimin property – a project that will shape the future of our Town. Council decided to redevelop our downtown – essential to building a revitalized livable Midland for everyone. But the most important decision was made by you in electing a new Council with a new mandate.

Now, at the start of the New Year it’s appropriate to take a few moments to ponder what developments and adventures lay before us.  Let me encourage you by proclaiming this to be “Midland’s Year of Bold Action”.  With key decisions made it is time for action.  The challenge is not just to our civic leaders but to each and every one of us.  Midland will become the best place to live through the combined actions of all of us. Each of us has a role to play in making Midland the best place to live.  This is your year to make that a reality

I challenge you to choose your own “bold action” and make that happen in 2015. I am not just referring to civic projects or helping out with a charity. Your bold action may be investing in yourself – upgrading your education or starting a new business – something you have always wanted to do but just needed a bit of a push.  And if you need some help or encouragement, give me a call.  (P.S. I am looking for someone to get serious about a micro-brewery in downtown Midland). Make 2015 your year of bold action.

If you are looking for an example of “bold action” take a look at what a group of our local municipalities and business folks have developed for area tourism.  As of January 1st we are all part of….

A kick-off celebration introducing the region’s new tourism identity is planned for Thursday January 22nd, 2015, at 10 a.m. at the Midland Cultural Centre.  All are invited to attend and learn more about plans for the ‘Heart of Georgian Bay’ in 2015.  For more information visit, join in the conversation on our Facebook page


Monday January 5th, and Town Hall is back to regular business. The holidays are unfortunately already a fading memory.

On Tuesday I am down at County at 9:00 am to continue the County’s budget deliberations.  Midland’s meetings on our own municipal budget start again on January 15th at 6:00 pm.

Wednesday the 7th will see Council in a special meeting to learn about the complexities of our municipal planning rules and regulations. I am sure I can speak for all of Council in saying that we will strive to keep rules and regulations as simple as possible in the coming years.

Later that evening I will participate in a special group that is organizing a Seniors Health Team in our community. This new service organization should significantly improve geriatric services and lifestyle supports for all area seniors.

On Thursday January 8th, Town staff will meet with area business leaders to plan our marketing for the new cruise ship business that Midland is attracting.  We are likely to get visits from two different cruise lines this summer. To quote Red Green – “Yes, we can change”.

Gord McKay

Be part of Midland’s Year of Bold Action - 2015