Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday May 31, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we head into the summer season things seem to be getting busier in Midland. Lots of visitors, many homes being sold and our building permits are up substantially this year. Thanks to the efforts of many, Midland is starting to take flight.

Monday is the first day of June.  At 3:30 pm you are invited to the Wendat location, at Dominion and Second, to celebrate the start of construction for their seniors residence in Penetanguishene.

Tuesday June 2nd and another launch announcement for our area.  At 10:30 am Chigamik and Catholic Family Services invite you to hear about their new walk-in counselling service. The event will take place at the Chigamik location at 845 Kings Street.

Wednesday turns out to be the busiest day of the week.  At 10:00 am is the regular Downtown Safety committee meeting at Town Hall. The committee is in the middle of defining the safety model for our community to ensure a better downtown for all. Then at 1:00 pm it’s the Downtown Master Plan Steering committee.  The meeting will discuss the final draft report from our consultants before it goes to Council. You are welcome to attend.

6:00 pm will see the Rendevous Champlain launch at the Penetanguishene museum, 13 Burke St. in Penetanguishene. This event is the first of many Champlain events in our area, leading up to the Rendevous on the August long week-end. And lastly, at 7:00 pm the June Planning and Development Committee meeting takes place at Town Hall. Items include:
-       Public meeting to discuss zoning changes for the Hanson lands (you may speak)
-       Update on the Downtown Master Plan
-       Update on the Waterfront Plan as it relates to noise abatement with ADM

On Thursday June 4th, at 11:00 am Martyrs’ Shrine celebrates the first mass to be held in what was to become Ontario with a mass at their location. You are also invited to attend the Waypoint AGM to be held at 1:30 PM at the Waypoint Atrium building.

Friday June 5th includes the Waterfront Steering committee at 10:00 am.  Then at noon, the Physician Recruitment committee hosts a BBQ on the Waypoint grounds for this year’s group of visiting medical students. And to close the day, at 6:30 that evening I attend the Chancellors Dinner at Lakehead University in Orillia.


10:30 am Martyrs’ Shrine hosts their AGM and Thank You Awards ceremony at the Shrine
1:30 pm the Midland Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadets conduct their year-end parade at the NSSRC

9:00 am Midland harbor sees our annual kids fishing derby and bike rodeo. A lot of fun for the family
At noon, drop by the Salvation Army on Second St. to say good-bye to Geoff and Linda Groves who are moving on

Two upcoming items for your calendar.  The Pan Am torch will be in Midland on June the 10th – ceremonies are at 12 noon at the NSSRC. And get ready for the 3rd annual Best Butter Tart festival on June 13th. It promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday May 24, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

It seems that summer is finally here to stay. Lots of visitors coming to town for everything from biking to ukulele playing. Our Midland Bay Landing project took another step forward this past week with draft initial plans being presented to the Waterfront Steering Committee. Its looking good.  A public consultation for the developing plans should occur by mid-July.

Monday May 25th is a day of civic engagement. The Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee meets to select the citizens who will help lead our local healthcare discussion in the coming years. (One concerning note – lots of applications from Tiny, Tay and Penetanguishene – none from Midland?). The GBGH nominations Committee will also be meeting to select our hospital Board members. Also our Physician Recruitment committee is looking for a few community members to help attract new docs.  Let me know if you are interested in helping out.

At 5:00 pm Council meets in closed session to discuss Fire labour negotiations and our MPUC. Then at 7:00 pm is the May Council meeting. The agenda includes:
-       Three deputations
o    County of Simcoe request to the Town to develop a joint affordable housing plan
o    Update and request from Physician Recruitment committee
o    Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe update
-       A public meeting (you may speak) of changes to the Town’s Procedural By-law (rules that guide Council on how to conduct its work. In this case whether Council members should be allowed to attend meetings electronically)
-       Amendments to the Farmers Market by-law
-       Start of the process to sell Town land along Golf Link Rd.
-       Request from Police for an annual increase to their budget of 6.7%. (Some of this is linked to the recent loss of the “police check” business and related revenues
-       Despite the above, a recommendation to approve the Town’s final 2015 budget with a Town increase of just 0.7% - well below inflation. In fact the total property tax rate change for Midland will show a decline of 0.1%.

On Tuesday May 26th at 2:00 pm you are invited to Town Hall to attend the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meeting, where we are planning new affordable housing initiatives in our area. At 6:00 pm our downtown BIA hosts their AGM at the ShopMildand location, at the corner of King and Hugel.

Wednesday the 27th, its more meetings with the Downtown Safety committee meeting at 10:00 am at Town Hall. 

Thursday May 28th is just plain busy. I will be at the County all day, taking part in their strategic planning session. For those in Midland, Independent Living Services is holding two information sessions to bring awareness of the importance of accessibility.  The 10:00 am session is geared to seniors and highlights things that can be done to one’s residence to improve accessibility.  The 6:00 pm session targets business owners and brings awareness of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and how improving accessibility can actually increase your client base. Both sessions are free and at the NSSRC.

Also two retirement celebrations for you. Debra Meunz is retiring from her long work at the NSCFDC. The celebration is at her offices at 105 Fourth Street at 1:00 pm.  At 5:30 pm in the Orsi Room at Lakehead University, Orillia, you can wish Mary Silk of Garfield’s office well in her retirement.

Then to close out the day at 7:30 pm at the MCC, Huronia Museum and Brookside Music Association present a special concert celebrating the new Native Gallery at the Museum.  The concert will be performed by the acclaimed Trio D'Argento.  It will feature the multi-media work-Manidoog - by Odawa First Nations composer Barbara Croall.  Manidoog is a set of ten pieces reflecting traditional stories of the Anishinaabeg peoples.  Tickets available at 

Friday May 29th – two events. At 6:00 pm Bruce Stanton invites you to a fish fry and fundraiser for Gateway Centre for Learning. Then at 7:00 pm Wye Marsh hosts its volunteer appreciation event at the Wye Marsh location.



-       10:30 am the Midland Sailing Club regatta.  Look for lots of sailing boats on the Bay in the afternoon
-       6:00 pm Tim Hortons Camp Day charity launches at the Boathouse.  Tickets for support and dinner at Tim Hortons on Hwy 12
-       7:30 pm Vox Huronia presents Getting Giddy with Gilbert and Sullivan at St. Paul’s United Church


-       1:00 pm Midland Lions guide dog walk at the Town Dock

In closing, I have attached the “Who Can I Call” sheet, to help you better locate who you need to speak to about different Town services. If worse comes to worst there is always the mayor.

Gord McKay

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday May 16, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s the first long week-end of the season. From here it just keeps on getting better. A sign of what’s ahead was the media launch for our 2015 Butter Tart festival this past week. The 2015 target is 70,000 Butter Tarts to be sold on June 13. Diets start now.

Monday is Victoria Day. The Town is all closed up. You should be out enjoying yourself.

On Tuesday May 19th you are welcome to attend the Audit Committee meeting at 2:00 pm in the Council Chambers.  At 4:00 pm Huronia Players is conducting a spring cleaning and need a few good volunteers to help clean their theater at the MCC. If you have an hour to spare please drop by. Then at 7:00 pm, Healthcare Innovators meets at ShopCity to continue its work in creating new healthcare business opportunities for our area.

Wednesday May 20th is Random Acts of Kindness Day - Your chance to reach out and help a neighbor or a stranger with a selfless act of kindness, and make Midland a better place for all.  Rotary’s random act is to host a free lunch at the Town Dock from noon to 1:30 pm. The Town is planning something at the Town Hall. You will have to come by to find out – it is “random”.

Thursday May 21st brings a special guest Gord Hume to Town to speak to us about urban design in small communities. Gord is a well-known advisor on creating space for people, often writing for the Toronto Star.  His presentation, Places and Spaces, is at Midland Public Library at 12:00 noon.  There is a light lunch and donations for the library will be accepted. Please contact if you wish to attend.

Friday is a quieter day with the regular Waterfront Steering Committee meeting at 11:00 am at the Town.


-       8:00 am the Scouts hold their Soapbox Derby on Hugel Ave.
-       From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm it’s the annual Model Train Show at NSSRC
-       8:00 pm the Canada Ukes Ukulele festival takes place at MCC

-       From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Model Train Show at NSSRC

Today our Little Lake Park is much cleaner thanks to a citizen’s clean-up pulled together by Jeff Cote and Councillor Cody Oschefski. Check out the action at

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday May 10, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The boats are back in the water and the bees are starting their summer rounds. The good ‘ol summertime cannot be far away. Lots to do so I will keep this short.

As a further sign of the new season, Monday May 11th will see the opening of the visitor information centre at the Town dock. Then the meetings start.  At 5:00 pm Council will hold a closed meeting to cover a number of topics including personal matters and the purchase/sale of property. At 7:00 pm at the Town Hall is the general Committee meeting. A short agenda including:
-       Discussion of the Miss Midland lease at the Town dock
-       Development of a policy to determine a fair value for the lease of Town facilities to not-for-profit organizations
-       Request by Habitat for Humanity for a donation of Town land

On Wednesday May 13th is our annual Candlelight Tribute for the fallen at the Midland Cenotaph.  A heartfelt ceremony to remember our veterans.  Please do attend. The ceremony starts at 7:00 pm.

That same evening at 7:30 pm at the MCC is another edition of A Day in the Life featuring Dr. David Goldbloom. Dr. Goldbloom is a psychiatrist who serves as the Senior Medical Advisor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. He has served as Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is a strong advocate for mental health.

Thursday May 14th will also be busy. At 12 noon you are invited by the Peaceworks group to a lunch at the Explorers Restaurant to hear about the projects they are supporting. At 1:00 pm at the Boathouse restaurant is the media launch for the 2015 Midland Butter Tart festival. You are invited out to partake in the sweet festivities. And at 2:00 pm the Downtown Master Plan Steering Committee meets in the Council Chambers to finalize our plans for our new Midland downtown. You are welcome to attend.

And with that we begin the first summer-like long weekend.  May 18th is Victoria Day – enjoy.

One final reminder, the Citizen’s Healthcare Steering Committee is looking for a few talented Board members. This volunteer group will play a critical role in linking the public in North Simcoe with our healthcare leaders in the shaping of our local healthcare systems over the coming years. Please forward your resume to Mr. Claude Marchildon at before May 15, 2015.  The Terms of Reference for the Committee are posted on

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday May 3, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Summer is here with a vengeance – It’s about time. If you have been downtown lately you have probably noticed the buzz - lots of early visitors; lots of homes are being sold; and lots of discussion about new business and new people coming to Town.  Augurs well for our lovely community.

Monday May 4th will see your Council out on the road – literally. They will be touring many of the Town facilities to get acquainted with all parts of Town operation. I on the other hand will be in Midhurst with the County’s’ Audit Committee meeting –-- oh well. If you are downtown at 2:00 pm at Neehozday Park (next to the library) the staff of the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre will be conducting a ceremony recognizing the conclusion of the trial for the murder of Andrew Mixemong.

Relatively quite on Tuesday.  I will be in Bradford West Gwillimbury for the launch of the meetings to develop Affordable Housing Plans in each Simcoe community.  Midland will be visited on the 25th.

Wednesday May 6th.  Up bright and early for McHappy Day. This annual charitable event raises funds for Ronald McDonald House and other local charities. Come by for a coffee. At 4:30 pm, a reception will be held at Ste. Marie to welcome in the newly appointed Board for our new Destination Marketing Organization (DMO).  Tourism in our area is about to really get into gear.

At 7:00 pm it’s the May Planning and Development Committee meeting at Town Hall.  Lots of good development news including:
-       Zoning amendment regarding the Hanson lands along Hwy 12
-       Home occupation by-law review
-       Midland Bay Landing official plan amendment regarding the noise study

On Friday May 8th at 11:00 am you are welcome to attend the Waterfront Steering Committee at the Town. Then at noon is a very special event for our entire area. Men and women from North Simcoe will gather at the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre (175 Yonge St.) to begin the journey of ending men’s violence towards women.  This powerful testament will include the men present signing the pledge to take action to end that violence. All are welcome.

That 6:00 pm evening it’s the ever popular Huronia Museum Heritage dinner at the NSSRC. Call the museum for tickets.


-       9:00 am come down to Little Lake Park for a cleanup of our park trails
-       7:30 pm the Toronto Mass Choir visits St Pauls.  This cutting edge choir just has to be heard. TMC’s music incorporates contemporary gospel, traditional gospel and Caribbean music influences. A quality Brookside event.


Things will go quickly now with the warm weather. Please mark on your calendar:
1)     Thursday May 21st at noon Gord Hume will be at the Midland Public Library. He will present on “Places and Spaces” – donations to Library. Please RSVP – to
2)     The Pan Am torch will be in town on June 10th.  I will let you know of its route later
3)     The Martels will be making their farewell performance at the NSSRC on Saturday July 11th. Proceeds from this final dance are going to assist the Bunn's Kids program. All tickets are $25 at Johnstone's Music Land and the Harbourmaster, Midland Town Dock
 And three more items in closing:
1)     There is a lot if information and misinformation out there about the police dispatch. I have provided some answers on my blog at
2)     The link shows the Mayor of Guelph speaking to Rotary about Community wellbeing. These comments resonate with where we are headed in Midland.
3)     And lastly we are looking for a few good citizens to direct the Citizen’s Healthcare initiative over the next few years. Information was provided in my April 19 blog. If you are interested in applying, please forward your resume to Mr. Claude Marchildon at before May 15, 2015.  The Terms of Reference for the Committee are posted on

Gord McKay

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

Information on Police Dispatch

I have received a few inquiries about Midland’s move to an outsourced police dispatch service.  There seem to be a lot of rumours, especially about perceived changes to safety. The following facts may be of assistance.

1)      The decision for outsourcing dispatch was made by the Midland Police Service Board (MPSB). Given the high costs of policing, the last Council asked the MPSB to propose some measures that would trim costs. The Chief proposed and the MPSB concurred that dispatch be outsourced - a savings of $250,000 per year. The Town cannot tell the police how to operate.

2)      The Town of Midland’s direction to the MPSB is through its budget allocation.   Midland Council has been focused on managing our budget over the last five years.  In fact financial stewardship is the main reason many of the Councillors were elected in 2014. The previous Council received a report from KPMG highlighting the high cost of our policing.  Midland’s policing costs represent about 25% of our municipal budget or about $298 per person (2013 figures). Compare this to our immediate neighbour Penetanguishene at 14% of budget and $190 per person.

3)      Council asked the MPSB and the Chief if there would be any safety concerns. They told us there were no significant safety concerns. Because safety is so important, the dispatch matter will now go to a provincial group called the OCPC to confirm there are no serious safety concerns.

4)      The level of criminality in Midland has been decreasing for the last ten years. While there will always be incidents, Midland is generally a safe community. Downtown safety methods are also changing, especially in the way we interact with our most vulnerable citizens. The Town created a Downtown Safety Committee, open to the public, that is working with police to develop better ways to ensure safety. Everyone is in agreement that effective safety is far more than just policing.

5)      The concern exists about dispatch being done from Owen Sound – they are not able to perform the job because they do not know Midland. With modern dispatch tools and training this is simply not the case. A lot of our Midland calls are already “outsourced”.  911 calls made in Midland are routed to a call centre in North Bay. All ambulance calls in Midland are dispatched from a call centre in Barrie.  Of the sixteen municipalities that make up the County of Simcoe, only 3 have their own local police dispatch. All the rest use remote dispatch, mainly OPP.  I speak regularly with my fellow mayors about policing issues – no one has ever mentioned any concern with improper dispatch.