Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday September 27, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our love affair with the warm summer-like weather continues but you don’t have to go too far to see the leaves changing color. Get out there and enjoy it while it lasts.

There were a couple of important healthcare meetings this past week.  On Tuesday the citizens of North Simcoe met for their quarterly update with the NSMLHIN and our hospital. We learned that there will likely be changes for CCAC (who provide a lot of the provincially funded home care); the possibility of changes for primary care delivery (our frontline doctors and nurses):  and the fact the NSMLHIN is about to name a new agency to coordinate the delivery of seniors’ healthcare. The meeting also introduced to our new Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee who will be our strong voice to ensure proper healthcare for the residents of North Simcoe.

Then last Thursday the GBGH Board invited the public in to comment on what should become of the surplus PGH site. Two main ideas were promoted by the some 15 speakers:

  • Keep our GBGH viable
  • Help the LHIN turn the PGH site into a new healthcare hub
    After the public meeting, the hospital Board decided to delay their vote on the future of the Penetanguishene site for up to eight months. The decision was based on a request from the NSMLHIN that the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care needs the time to review a proposal to repurpose the site into a health hub.


Monday September 28th and more meetings. At 1:30 pm at County, the Affordable Housing Advisory committee will be meeting with the BILD builders association to explore how the private sector can be induced to build more affordable housing units. Unless we have the private sector meaningfully participate in the construction of affordable housing, we will never get past the multi-year wait lists we have in Simcoe County.

At 6:30 pm, Council holds a closed session to consider committee appointments. At 7:00 pm is the regular Council meeting. A full agenda including:

  • Three deputations:
    • Overview of the 2016 Senior Summer Games to be hosted by Midland
    • Concerns by Tiffin residents about their neighbourhood
    • Presentation by Bill Smith concerning the zoning of his property on Hwy 12
  • A Public Meeting (you may speak) concerning four matters:
    • The proposed land sale at 808 Birchwood Dr.
    • Change of fees by-law to deal with repeat offenders
    • Change of fees by-law to reduce the cost to merchants for use of the downtown sidewalks
    • Amendment to the sign by-law to permit the Sargeant gas bar sign on County Road 93
  • Introduction of our first ever municipal operations “dashboard”.  This is an ongoing tracking report that shows how the Town is progressing against key operational targets such as 1) cost control, 2) customer satisfaction and 3) staffing levels.
  • A vote on the Chigamik/Waypoint Downtown Health Centre proposed for part of Edgehill Park
  • Agreement on the process to assess the control of “second suites” in Midland
  • Discussion on what we will do with tiered response by our Fire service

    Tuesday 29th starts early with a 7:30 am breakfast meeting with BNI (Business Network International) at Na Na’s.   Our BNI chapter is made up of some 30 local companies that meet monthly to help each other market more successfully. A great organization.

    Keeping with the theme of business development, I meet later in the morning with the Chair of our Economic Development Corporation (EDCNS) to align the work we are doing as a municipality with that of EDCNS. Then that afternoon I meet with a local healthcare entrepreneur to discuss job growth in our area.

    On Wednesday September 30th you are invited to attend the first draft operating budget meeting at 6:00 pm at Town Hall. While we are just at the start of the public budget process, the first draft should show us an operating increase, year over year, of about 0%. That will allow us to keep tax rates down when we deal with that matter later in the year.   Looking ahead, mark October 7th at 6:00 pm on your calendar as the date for “public input” budget meeting - your chance to comment on the Town’s budget.

    Thursday is the first of October. Gets you thinking about Hallow’een. So it’s appropriate for Discovery Harbour to be launching its new Pumbkinferno event. More details at

    On Friday I have a meeting with our newly minted MPP Patrick Brown to discuss how he can help us with the issues that matter most to Midland. Patrick has already expressed an interest in doing some fundraising for GBGH.



  • It’s Treasure Day. Your chance to put out good items you don’t need that may be of use to a neighbor. Put items out to the curb after 8:00 am and have those not picked up back in by 5:00 pm.
  • 9:00 am Valu-Mart is hosting a Downtown Sidewalk Sale Spectacular. All proceeds will go to Wye Marsh
  • 6:00 pm is the Tiawenk fundraiser for Martyrs’ Shrine at Brooklea
  • 7:30 pm is the Be Our Guest concert by Serenata at St. Pauls. A free will offering with proceeds to the Guesthouse


  • Treasure Day continues

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday September 20, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Just back from the Terry Fox run.  A beautiful day and close to 1,000 people taking part. A big thank you to the organizers, volunteers, Midland Police and the OPP.  For those of you who have never seen Michelle Mink lead warm-up exercises, you have no idea what high energy is.

On Monday the 21st the Town starts organizing for our 2016 Butter Tart festival. Over the last three years the Butter Tart has grown from a good idea to a scale that requires a year-long organizational effort. The kick off meeting is at 5:30 pm in the Council Chamber

At 6:00 pm the NS Community Futures Development Corporation is sponsoring a very special event, “Women in Business”.  It will feature a number of inspiring entrepreneurial speakers telling you real stories of women in business. The event is at the NSSRC. Preregistration is required –

On Tuesday September 22nd, I am in Midhurst for the 9:00 am County Council meeting. Then at 2:00 pm the Citizens Healthcare meeting takes place at NSSRC. This meeting continues the dialog between the residents of North Simcoe and our healthcare community. Jill Tettmann, CEO of the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and Karen McGrath, CEO of GBGH will be there to update you on what is happening in our community. If you want to have your say about your healthcare, this is your chance.  And at 7:00 pm please join Gateway Centre for Learning for their Annual General Meeting at the MCC.

Wednesday the 23rd will see the Downtown Safety committee resume its work. They meet at 10:00 am at the Town Hall.  You are most welcome to attend.

Who says being in politics is not a hair-raising experience. At 9:30 am on Thursday I will be at the “Hair We Are” salon on Elizabeth Street for a haircut, part of a day of haircutting in support of Gilda’s Club. This is your opportunity for a trim while lending a hand to a very worthwhile cause.

At 11:30 am the Huronia Community Foundation invites to you to a presentation by author and TEDTALKS speaker Susan Reynolds.  Susan’s inspiring talk will address why we volunteer and how it helps communities. The event is at the MCC and includes a light lunch.

At 4:30 pm the GBGH Board will hold a special meeting to hear from the public about the future of the hospital’s Penetanguishene site and the proposed heath hub. If you wish to speak please contact Jackie McLauchlin at

On Friday the 25th it’s the start of the weekend Coldwater Fall Fair. Their annual parade kicks off festivities at 1:00 pm. Lots of fun for the family



  • Wish Bob Armstrong a happy 100th birthday
  • 12 noon will see an adult tricycle race in the NSSRC parking lot. Funds will go to the  new splash pad in Little Lake Park

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday September 13, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

I hope this grey Sunday is not indicative of the cold weather that awaits. Sunscreen in the morning - sweaters in the afternoon. Hard to keep up.

Monday September the 14th will see Council back to its regular schedule with a special closed meeting starting at 5:30 pm. The topics include labour relations, and potential litigation on two matters. At 7:00 pm is the General Committee meeting including:

  • Revising the Towns’ Indemnification By-law – how the municipality will cover the legal expenses of Councilors and employees caught up in legal disputes
  • Reducing the fee to allow merchants to extend sidewalk cafes and displays onto the downtown King Street sidewalk
  • Review of the Town’s many (35 plus) committees. Possibly moving the Council meeting to Thursday.
  • Start of the discussion of where snowmobiles will be permitted in the Town

    On Tuesday the 15th, the Housing Working Group reconvenes at Town Hall at 2:00 pm to advance ideas for new affordable housing projects in our area. In addition to looking at secondary suites and rental units at the PGH site, the group is considering “WWOOFing’, a communal style of housing for rural/farming areas.

    Thursday is the busy day. It starts at 8:30 am at the Kempenfelt Centre in Barrie where County Council will convene to discuss governance – how we need to be organized to effectively run this half billion dollar a year corporation. From noon to 5:00 pm you are welcome to attend the grand opening of Body Line Collision at 245 Whitfield Cres. And at 6:00 pm the Town starts the public budget process with a meeting on our 2016 capital budget. That takes place at Town Hall.

    The Syrian refugee crisis has been brought into sharp focus over the past few weeks. Elizabeth O’Connor and Richard Wakerlin have been leading a Midland initiative to bring a Syrian refugee family to our Town. If you would like to help out or simply want to hear more, they will be holding their next meeting at the Midland Library at 7:00 pm.

    On Friday the18th one of our local manufacturing success stories, NEBS, will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its parent company Deluxe. So if you should see a large party at Little Lake Park, give them a friendly wave.


  • We Are The Villagers is holding a fundraiser and recognition ceremony for the 100th anniversary of our old library building on Hugel. WATV is a very worthy children’s charity that started here in Midland. Tickets available from Julianna at  

  • 10 am the Terry Fox Run starts at Mountainview Mall

Gord McKay

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


Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday September 7, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

And I am back….

I hope you had a great summer – a chance for good times with family, friends and just taking time to enjoy this wonderful place we all love as Midland.

To say it was a quiet summer would be misleading. Some of the things that you may have participated in or missed over the last two months:

-       The Martels have wrapped up their touring career with a set of final concerts
-       The Metis Nation of Ontario’s 400 delegates had a great time visiting Midland including a paddle in the Bay
-       Cruise ships Pearl Mist and St, Laurent have made 5 visits to our Town
-       The Ontario 55-plus summer games showcased the best Midland has to offer to over 200 visitors
-       First place – Midland’s newly minted “Best Maple Butter Tart beer” came first at the Muskoka craft brewers contest.  The winner will be coming soon to an LCBO outlet near you
-       The Hwy 12 - Jones Road intersection is almost open (still)
-       Mountainview Mall is under new ownership and expecting redevelopment in 2016
-       The Hanson development on Highway 12 has over1,000 pre-registrations
-       The recent provincial by-election sees the leader of the loyal opposition as our own MPP
-       Staff is deep into the 2016 budget process.  Look for the first public meetings later this month
-       Midland now allows (with permit) small backyard fires
-       Marina Park (building next to Bayport) has been sold. The Town is in discussions with the new owners to get this project completed
-       Downtown Health Centre (part of Edgehill Park)  will go to Council for a final decision on Sept 28
-       Environmental work continues on the Midland Bay Landing site. Still awaiting the draft design.


The all-star series, a Day in the Life, continues at the MCC this Tuesday at 7:30 pm, September 8th.   Fred Hacker will be speaking with Adam Dixon, a celebrated para-athlete who hails from our area.   As a youngster, Adam loved hockey.  Then, when he was 10, he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. leading to the removal of his right tibia.  While Adam's dream of playing “stand up hockey” was shattered, he began playing sledge hockey at the age of 11 and, by the time he was 17, he was invited to try out for Canada's national team. He starred on the bronze winning Canadian Paralympic sledge hockey team in Sochi in 2014.  Fred invites you to learn more about a truly inspiring young man.

On Wednesday September 9th at 6:30 pm at Town Hall you are invited to a Special Meeting of Council addressing two important topics. The first will be about our Library, where Council will hear about the Library Board’s intentions for new services they are considering for Midland.

The second topic of the night is a panel discussion on how different Local Distribution Companies (LDC – like our MPUC) are handling changes in the energy sector.  This panel has come about due to Council’s interest in looking at different business arrangements for our own LDC. The panel will feature speakers from municipalities/utilities that have experienced recent sale/mergers, including:

Mr. Chris Litschko, President of Lakeland (a similar sized LDC)
Ms. Lynn Strachan, Board Member Powerstream ( provides power to Penetanguishene)
Mr. Steve Zorbas, former CFO Town of Richmond Hill - PowerStream
Mayor Tony Van Bynen, Newmarket - Newmarket Tay Hydro (provides power to Tay)

The panel will discuss first-hand experiences about the pros and cons of sale/merger and what Midland power users could expect if Council chose to pursue one of those options. The discussion should also help us understand:
-       The risks in the energy sector for small LDCs given the government’s push for consolidation (MPUC with some 6,500 customers is a very small LDC)
-       The challenges and risks to a small LDC in keeping up with changes in technology including off-grid power generation
-       The Ontario Energy Board’s role in setting our hydro rates and realizing that some 80% of your hydro bill is a provincial pass through over which the LDC has no control
-       What to look for in choosing a partner for pursuing your LDC’s business objectives

Thursday the 10th starts at 8:00 am with a breakfast at Lakehead University, hosted to recognize the County of Simcoe’s support for Lakehead. At 7:00 pm that evening at Penetanguishene Town Hall is a meeting to hear more about the joint transit system that will be shortly linking Midland and Penetanguishene.


-       15th annual Pow Wow at Ste Marie starting at noon


-       Pow Wow continues at Ste Marie starting at noon


Many of you will have fond memories of recently retired OPP Constable Dave Hobson. Far from being “retired” Davey is still sending me safety notices.  Please see the attached and stay safe.

Gord McKay

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