Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday October 25, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The end of October looms and with it Halloween. I understand that some Town staff will be dressing up on the Friday. Might be something scarier than taxes at Town Hall.

Monday October 26th features the monthly Council meeting starting at 7:00 pm. A short agenda including:

  • A Public Meeting (you may speak) on changes to fees charged by the Town for services including those at NSSRC and the Harbour
  • Proposal for a winter Farmers Market at the Museum
  • Response from our lawyer to Council questions on control of second suites
  • Update on the Butter Tart committee and its new Manager (hint: Barb Rowlandson)
  • Motion to freeze Council remuneration

    Tuesday the 27th starts with County Council at 9:00 am.  At 12:00 noon you may wish to join the Peaceworks lunch for Syrian refugees taking place at Explorers restaurant. Tickets are $20, available at the restaurant or contact Lois at (705) 526-5238.  Right after lunch, at 1:30 pm, you can take in the Askennionia Seniors Fall Fashion Show at the NSSRC.

    Also on Tuesday at 2:30 pm, the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meets at the Town to advance a number of projects bringing more affordable housing to our area. Then at 6:00 pm you are invited to attend the 2nd round budget meeting at Town Hall. Key developments to date are:
  • Draft Police budget shows a year over year decrease of 4.1%
  • Total Town operating costs show a decrease of 1.6% year over year
  • As a result our tax levy decrease is in the order of 1%.

    Immediately following the budget meeting is another important meeting about the Town’s operating structure and cost of operations. Some three years ago KPMG observed that we are a low growth-high tax municipality – a very unenviable place to be.  Last spring Council set the strategic objective to move Midland from the highest taxed jurisdiction in Simcoe County to a more moderate level (the 75th percentile).  This objective has far more import than just choosing a suitable number. As our Town becomes more tax competitive we become more attractive to new residents and strengthen our case for creating new businesses over the next decade.

    The first part of the meeting, starting at approximately 7:00 pm, will be closed as Council looks at the staffing situation. After that the meeting continues in public to discuss possible operational changes. Coming out of the meeting should be a set of directions to staff to consider for rethinking how we deliver Town services. The discussion will be challenging. Council must strike a proper balance between maintaining our quality services and ensuring we have the proper municipal structure to secure our future prosperity.

    On Wednesday the 28th at 9:00 am is a special food entrepreneur’s event at Georgian College in Midland.  The event will celebrate enterprising individuals who are creating new businesses based upon our local food industry.

    At 6:00 pm is the annual MPUC Board meeting.  While not directly related to the Board meeting, many of you are aware that Council is considering a potential sale/merger of our MPUC.  The timeliness for this rethink was reinforced this past month with both Orillia and Innisfil announcing that they had entered into new hydro distribution arrangements. Council, with public input, is preparing a Request for Proposal that will seek a partner to help ensure our local distributor’s long term sustainability. The key decision that Council and the Board of the MPUC have made to date is that the status quo is no longer an option.

    Thursday October 29th starts at County at 9:00 am to discuss the County budget.  Then from 3:00 to 6:00 pm you are invited to an Open House at Town Hall on the subject of “second suites”.  This is your opportunity to find out how this type of development may assist with Midland’s need for affordable housing and comment on what planning restrictions are required.

    On Friday the 30th, the community will gather to memorialize fallen OPP officer Tom Coffin with a bridge dedication.  The ceremony takes place at 10:30 am at the Penetanguishene Legion, 2 Poyntz St. in Penetanguishene.

At 5:30 pm you may wish to join the Wye Marsh for their annual fundraising dinner at the marsh or at 7:00 pm get aboard the “Ghost Tour” on the SS Keewatin.



  • Halloween!  Watch out for the trick-or-treaters
  • 8:00 pm at the NSSRC, Twisted Pines hosts its’ Hallowe’en Monster Dance Party.  Cash prizes for best costumes, a Boo-fet featuring delicacies from local restaurants, a Silent Auction, Lucky Draws and a big dance floor. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Contact Paul at 705-527-7778


  • Silver Goose Bike Tour through Little Lake Park. The event will take most of the day with the awards ceremony at 3:15 pm


On the road construction front, Prospect Boulevard to Beamish Rd. is now open. I also understand that the MTO and the developer of the Highway 12 intersection at Jones Road are now both satisfied. Look for that intersection to open this week.

And finally, this week I received my reminder for the November 28th Santa Claus parade.  Time moves on.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday October 18, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The frost is on the pumpkin. The federal election is upon us (at last). A Toronto team is in the post-season. It may not be end-of-days but something is happening out there!

Monday October 19th. It’s Election Day. If you can’t stand to stay home and watch the results you may want to take in Midland Jams at the MCC at 7:00 pm. This is a free and easy session for musicians to perform on stage in front of an audience and collaborate on improving their art.

On Tuesday the 20th the County will hold a special housing meeting to hear from landlords as to what they need to make rental housing more available. This information will be used by the County and the Town of Midland to develop our own long term affordable housing strategy.

Wednesday October 21st sees the Downtown Safety Committee meeting at 10:00 am at Town Hall. The Committee is in the final stages of defining a new collaborative approach for ensuring we have a healthy downtown for all.

At 6:15 pm, Simcoe County and Georgian College are sponsoring the first of a series of workshops targeted to new immigrants who aspire to start or expand their own business. The workshops will:

  1. - Tell you about free community resources and supports for businesses
  2. - Let you meet with other new-to-Canada business owners and hear their stories
    The first workshop is October 21st from 6:15 – 8:45 pm.  Additional sessions are November 4th and 8th from 6:45 – 8:45 pm.  All sessions will take place at Georgian College - Midland Campus, Room 111. If you are interested email or call (705) 725-4589.

Economic development activities continue of Thursday the 22nd with the Barrie Construction Association meeting. With our local business construction running about 3 times what it was last year, contractors are becoming increasingly interested in Midland.  At 5:30 pm the Georgian Bay Syrian Refugee meeting takes place at the Library. This citizens group is making excellent progress in preparing for our new refugee family of four.

On Friday the 23rd at 9:00 am I will be raising a flag to recognize our local food growing entrepreneurs.  Look for more activities focused on those who produce and prepare our local foods next week.



  • 10:00 am Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers “Entrepreneurial Showcase” at their 3175 Ogden’s Beach Road location
  • 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm it’s Oktoberfest, Andre Sanche style at the Midland Curling Club.  Drop by Ciboulette for tickets


In closing, retired Constable Hobson has forwarded a link to a PSA featuring Kim Mitchell and a “mystery officer” from our own constabulary.

And lastly, please make your nominations for the Culture Midland Awards Program.  These awards recognize the importance of culture to inspire our community and celebrate local cultural talent. Deadline for nominations is Saturday, October 31st, 2015. Please visit .

Gord McKay

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


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday October 10, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thanksgiving weekend and it’s a beauty.

I know that some people get upset when I say good things about our Town but there are a lot of positive signs out there. Our building permits are almost 3 times as high as they were this time last year – a lot of new development. Our new Downtown Heath Center has cleared Council – a major improvement to the healthcare of our residents. I know of three major companies in Town that are actively hiring, mainly skilled labour – young folks you need to do well in school. And our Syrian refugee family of three has increased in size.  I have just learned that they also have a 20 year old daughter.

Thanksgiving weekend – get out and enjoy.


Tuesday October 13th sees a lot of meetings. At 9:00 am it is County Council. The meeting features a presentation on the specifics of the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Strategy, including Midland’s target of 90 more affordable units. At 6:30 pm is a closed meeting to deal with a letter concerning a personal matter.  At 7:00 pm it’s the October General Committee at Town Hall. A challenging agenda including:

  • Recommendation on the Town’s tiered response for emergency services
  • Changes to fees for Town facilities at NSSRC and the harbor
  • Direction on creating a park for Sunnyside
  • Discussion on the future of Tiffin Pond
  • Review of the considerations for leasing Town properties
  • A “municipal dashboard” discussion. This item will challenge Council to set hard fiscal and service quality targets over the next three years
  • A report on starting a Youth Committee

    At 7:30 pm at the MCC you have the opportunity to meet a remarkable person.  No less than the Samuel de Champlain. A Day in the Life will interview this famous explorer about his exploits circa 1635.  You will hear of the hardships he and his men faced, the wars between neighbouring bands of First Nations and his visits to Huronia. 

    Wednesday the 14th starts at 7:00 am with the Christian Community Breakfast at the NSSRC.  Then at 6:30 pm you may wish to attend the Community Living Huronia AGM at the MCC.  At 7:00 pm the Planning and Development Committee meets at the Town. The discussion will include:
  • Planning approval for the new Operations Depot on MacDonald Road
  • Review of the Terms of Reference for the Home Occupation by-law
  • Discussion of the pedestrian trail near Cook Drive

    Thursday the 15th is a special day for Mary Graham who celebrates 90 years with a reception at the Legion at 3:00 pm.

    On Friday October 16th I am back at the County for the regular Affordable Housing Advisory committee. At 7:00 pm the Ontario Archeological Society starts its three day conference at the Best Western.  This conference will focus on the link between archeology and First Nations.  More information at


  • 7:30 pm its the GBGH 10th Anniversary Gala at MCC

  • 8:00 pm features Robert Milne at MCC. He will be entertaining you with the rich history of southern American music including pieces made famous by Louie Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Stavin’ Chain, King Oliver, Tony Jackson and Buddy Bolden.


    A number of closing items.

  1. October 19th is Election Day. Remember to get out and vote

  2. Retired Constable Dave Hobson is still on patrol and asks you to take a look at an ATV safety video -

  3. The GBGH patio project needs your help. If you can offer a few “clicks” they may be able to undertake this important renovation at our hospital

  4. On November 24th, 2015, the Culture Midland Committee will be hosting the first annual Culture Midland Awards.  The purpose of the Culture Awards Program is to communicate the importance of culture, to inspire the cultural community and to recognize and celebrate the cultural talent in our community. This is your chance to nominate someone who has made an impact upon culture in our area. Please visit to find the nomination form and more information about Culture Midland. Deadline for nominations is Saturday, October 31st, 2015.

  5. If you are interested in helping our Syrian refugee family please visit the support site at

    Gord McKay

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


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday October 4, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Its fall and looking forward to Blue Jays baseball and some Hallow’een fun. While tickets for the Jays are in short supply, I visited Discovery Harbour’s new Pumpkinferno display. Amazing – impressive area displays and some frightening haunted houses. Great family fun at:

This past week saw the decision by Council to proceed with the Downtown Health Centre located in part of Edgehill Park.  A tough decision for Council but one that is necessary for improving the healthcare for thousands of Midland residents.  With the decision made, I know that Chigamik and Waypoint will be reaching out to area residents to see what can be done to make the Centre a place that is well accepted by neighbours and clients alike.


Monday is a quiet day at the Town.

On Tuesday October 6th at 5:30 pm a very special Council meeting takes place at Town Hall. Council will establish its objectives for considering any sale or merger of our hydro distribution utility, MPUC.

Over the last few years provincial policy changes in the energy sector and advancements in technology have put small distribution utilities at increasing risk.  Midland Council has decided to respond to that risk by determining if there is a better business arrangement for our MPUC that satisfies our long-term objectives.  The meeting will consider those objectives – for example: improved cash flow; job protection; stability of hydro rates – and decide which must be met in any new arrangement. These objectives will become part of our “Request for Proposal” process, as we seek out an appropriate electricity company partner.

On Wednesday October 7th at 6:00 pm you are invited to provide input (you may speak) to the Town’s 2016 budget. To date we have had two first round budget meetings. Links to the reports from those meetings are:

Capital Budget

Operating Budget

Thursday the 8th will see a meeting of our Georgian Bay Refugee Support committee at the Library at 7:00 pm.  The group now has been assigned a three member Syrian refugee family who are expected to arrive in Midland within 3-6 months. If you want to get actively involved, please attend the meeting.  If you can help out financially, the group is now fundraising at

Weekend (Its Thanksgiving)

A weekend for gathering family and friends together to share a meal. But if you wish to get out of the house, there is lots going on at our Midland Cultural Centre.


Our Library is launching the first Midland Public Library Survey to better determine what you think of our library service and how they can improve in future. You are invited to complete the survey at

Our hospital is making every effort to provide the facilities needed to keep our community heathy. Hospital staff has made arrangements with the Aviva Community Fund to compete for a grant to refurbish the existing patio on Level 1 at the hospital. Our chances of winning depend on the number of votes they can generate for the project. To see our proposal go to and scroll down to #ACF32642.  Please vote from Oct 6th at noon until Oct 23rd, one vote per day. All help greatly appreciated.

Gord McKay

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