Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday November 29, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Christmas season is upon us. This past week saw the lighting the Town Christmas tree; the Santa Clause parade; and Serenata’s Sing We Noel concert. Remember parking is free in the downtown during December. 

Other noteworthy developments this past week - Penetanguishene and Midland Councils have both voted to start the transit link running between the two communities in January. The new entrance to the commercial property off of Highway 12 at Jones Road is now open, although traffic congestion suggests that more work is needed on the access to the Walmart plaza. And Midland has received its first shipment of our new hometown beverage Midland’s Maple Butter Tart Beer. A definite “must try”. Should be available at our local LCBO.


Monday November 30th sees the return of a unique Midland event – Gifts to Give.  Team Jordan, NEBs and the YMCA Employment Centre have been collecting quality donations that will be given to needy individuals and families who otherwise would not be able to afford Christmas gifts.  The gifts will be made available at the NSSRC from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. This year Waypoint will make the program accessible to all of North Simcoe by providing a transit service. The pick-up for Tiny Township will leave at 12:15 pm from the Swinging Seniors Centre near the beach and from Victoria Harbor Community Centre leaving at 12:40 pm.

Tuesday December 1st and another special event. A spontaneous group of 50 local “guys” will come together at Lot 102 at 6:00 pm for the inaugural Guys Who Care event. These gentlemen will each donate $200 and then select one charity to receive the combined $10,000. And all this will take less than an hour. A truly sharing community. Also that evening at 7:00 pm is the Huronia Players AGM at their location.

Wednesday the 2nd see two Town meetings. At 5:30 pm is a closed meeting to discuss human resource matters. At 7:00 pm is the December Planning and Development Committee.  The agenda includes:

  • A detailed discussion of “second suites” and what restrictions, if any, Council may place on them. (The province requires residential buildings be allowed to have a second suite included in the building unless there is a sound planning reason not to do so.)
  • A review of the many projects linked to our recently adopted Downtown Master Plan
  • A discussion of the Master Plan implementation associated with the Midland Bay landing property

    Thursday the 3rd starts early with an 8:00 am meeting for Councilors and interested parties to discuss our Municipal Energy Plan. That’s at the Library.

    On Friday December the 4th, the three day Bantam-Midget Silver Stick Tournament kicks-off at the NSSRC. That evening you are invited to attend the Lions Christmas party at 6:30 pm at the Legion. Tickets are $30:00 and include dinner.  Please call Ethel at 527-4115.



  • 10:00 am at Lakehead University – A planning meeting for the upcoming Zero Waste conference

  • 2:00 pm the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women ceremony in the Askennonia Room at the NSSRC.  This moving tribute is organized by the Rosewood Women’s Shelter to remind all of us of the continuing tragedy of men’s violence towards women.  Please do attend.


The famous “First Light” event at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons heads into its 16th year in 2015 with a second schedule of dates that will see the historic site aglow with over 5,000 candles. In addition to November dates, December 3rd, 4th and 5th have been added. Also new for 2015 is a spectacular fireworks display on Thursday December 3rd.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday November 22, 2105

Ladies and Gentlemen

Snow. I know I should not be using four letter words but somebody had to say it.

Monday November 23rd starts busy and stays that way all day. At 9:00 am you may wish to participate in a National Housing Day symposium at the Simcoe County Museum.  At 5:30 pm the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Simcoe host their AGM at the NSSRC. Also at 5:30 pm Council meets in closed session to consider Committee appointments and to receive legal advice.

At 7:00 pm it’s the November Council meeting. Items on the agenda are:

  • Two presentations including a special award to Jeff Fillingham. Jeff, who has mobility challenges, recognized the need for an accessible taxi in Midland.  He launched a campaign and with the help of Central Taxi successfully brought that service to our community
  • Three deputations:
    • EDCNS will give us a status on their economic development work
    • Quest Art School and Gallery will inform us about the visual arts
    • NSCFDC will tell us how they are helping small business
  • Public Meeting (you may speak) on the setting of fees for our Risk Management Official.  The RMO works with companies to develop plans for source water protection
  • Decision on the new Midland –Penetanguishene transit service.  The service should better link our two communities by early in the new year
  • Review of the Tiffin by the Bay development site work-plan
  • Recognition of the OMB appeal against the Downtown Health Hub at Edgehill Park

    Tuesday the 24th also starts at 9:00 am in Midhurst with the County Council meeting. (If you have ever wondered what we do down at County, you may wish to take a look at our November agenda for Council

    At noon Askennonia is hosting a special Honour Our Veterans lunch. If you wish to attend please contact Askennonia at 526-7609.  You need to register in advance.

    At 1:00 pm the focus shifts to MSS in Midland for the launch of the seasonal RIDE program. Safe and sober driving is always in season. At 2:00 pm you may wish to attend the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meeting. One of their key initiatives is developing a common guideline for “second suites” for all four North Simcoe municipalities.

    Come 7:00 pm you are invited to a special evening of glitter and ceremony – the first MCC Cultural Awards.  Awards will be made in four categories to those who have significantly benefitted our area’s cultural scene. The feature speaker for the evening is mayor Dan Mathieson of Stratford, Ontario who will tell us how culture has transformed his municipality. Admission is free.

    On Wednesday the 25th I head over to Collingwood for a meeting of the urban mayors of Simcoe County.  We will be discussing the challenges of urban centers in rural settings and how we can work better together. At 3:00 pm you may wish to drop into the new offices of Carlson-Wagonlit travel on King Street as they celebrate their grand re-opening. And at 5:00 pm the BIA starts the Christmas season with tree lighting festivities. The actual tree lighting takes place at 7:00 pm at Neehozday Park, next to the Library.

    Thursday November 26th sees the Downtown Safety Committee meeting at 10:00 am at Town Hall.  The Committee is getting close to finalizing a new approach for Midland to improve our downtown safety and assist those with challenges. One of the features of the new system will be what is known as a “situation table”. A situation table is called as needed to bring together a group of social agencies to work out a coordinated approach to dealing with a challenged individual. This approach places a lot more emphasis on prevention as opposed to reacting to incidents.

    Then at 5:00 pm Council meets to discuss the developing MPUC Request for Proposal. The meeting will start in closed and then later on move to a public meeting.

    Friday the 27th.  At 9:00 am the Affordable Housing Advisory committee meets at County. Friday is also the first day of the three day Novice/Atom/Pee Wee Silver Stick Hockey Tournament at the NSSRC. And lastly, at 7:00 pm, the iconic folk singer Valdy is at the MCC.


  • 11:00 am is the 2015 Civitan Santa Clause parade in downtown Midland
  • 7:30 pm at St Pauls is the Serenata Choir “Sing We Noel” concert. Tickets at the door

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday November 15, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

A little bit of snow this past week-end - a reminder of what’s ahead.  Also a memorable Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph.  It has to be the largest crowd that I can recall. A large contingent from Base Borden, our veterans, air and sea cadets, school children, a sprinkling of politicians and lots of townsfolk. The freedoms we enjoy do not come without cost.  A sincere thank-you to all veterans and to those who serve. We will never forget.

Monday November the 16th has two meetings for you. The Audit Committee meets at 2:00 pm at Town Hall. Perhaps of greater interest is the Official Plan Review meeting at the NSSRC at 7:00 pm. This meeting is part of the regular 5 year planning cycle where all citizens are asked to provide input on the future of their community -  what should it look like?; what services should be provided?; how it should grow?  Please come and provide your views on your Midland community.

On Wednesday the 18th is one of my favourite duties as the children from Huron Park School will tour Town Hall and the Police station. It is always a lot of fun answering their questions, including that perennial favorite – “Does the mayor get to boss everyone around?”

Thursday the 19th will see the North Simcoe mayors gather to discuss bringing fibre optic infrastructure to our area. With modern business and citizens becoming more and more connected, having high speed access in no longer a “nice to have”. The four municipalities are working together to ensure it is coming to North Simcoe soon. Look for more information in the days ahead.

At 6:00 pm the Syrian Refugee committee meets in the basement of Midland Library.

The theme is "$5 Pizza Night", salad and can of soda, cookie/sweet for $5. All funds raised will help the cause. You are welcome to come along and show your support.

On Friday I travel to the Nottawasaga Inn for a full day meeting with the County. This meeting will give County councilors a rare chance to really discuss topics such as service delivery, economic development and active transportation.



  • 9:00 am Candy Cane Bazaar at our Legion until 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm Habitat for Humanity dedicates its new home in Penetanguishene
  • 6:30 pm Martyrs’ Shrine lights up its Christmas tree.  This 85 foot spruce is considered to be the tallest Christmas tree in Simcoe County


The Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be collecting coats and winter apparel at their main office in Midland, as well as the Penetangushene office. Donations can be made during regular business hours from Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from November 5 to November 30, 2015.

‘Midland’s Best’ Maple Butter Tart Ale is Ready!  Our award winning beer should be on LCBO shelves by December 4th.  You may recall that Midland along with11 other area municipalities entered the Muskoka Craft Beer Festival in Bracebridge this past August.  We won that contest and as a result, the reward was having our beer concept made a reality and sold in regional LCBO stores.  Look for a media launch at Ciboulette et Cie on Friday, November 27th

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday November 8, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

A bright and sunny week ahead. I hope to see you at the Cenotaph on Wednesday as we remember our fallen sons and daughters.

I often get asked about what’s new in the Town.  My answer is “a lot”. Let me give you a quick summary.

Many are aware that things seem to be happening – service delivery is being reviewed; budgets are being reduced; new initiatives undertaken. It’s true. Council is looking at all of the Town’s operations with the view to improving service delivery while better managing costs. The process naturally starts with tough questions. The answers that Council selects will move Midland to the more prosperous forward-looking community we all want. Council’s direction is contained in its Strategic Plan.  It was adopted earlier this year. If you have a few moments take a look at

Getting down to specifics:

  • Downtown Health Centre (Edgehill Park) - Council voted in favour of this important healthcare project. It has been appealed to the OMB. We will have to wait likely until spring, to receive the provincial body’s direction.
  • Midland Bay Landing – A downturn in the Chinese economy has affected the timing for some of the funding for the project. Our partner, the short-term funding and the contractual terms all remain in place and are being honoured. Our partner is actively looking for additional funding.
  • MPUC – Council is exploring the options for a better business arrangement for our small utility. These options include possible merger or sale. Council is in the process of asking other electrical companies what they would propose to meet our needs. I anticipate that a formal request for interest will be issued by year end.
  • Council has given direction to obtain a costing for service from the OPP. This process is expected to start this fall. Council has made no decision as to whether we will go with the OPP or not.
  • Budget – The 2016 budget is one of many budget steps that will move Midland to a more cost efficient municipality. This budget round in particular will start the process of asking the tough questions while making sure the quality of service we enjoy is protected or enhanced.
  • On the development side we are starting to see more quality jobs and development activity in our Town:
    • The Highway 12 – Jones Road should be open any day. MTO is being slow in granting its approval.
    • Marina Park has been acquired by Romspen who are actively working on its completion.
    • Mountainview Mall is under new ownership. They are considering aligning the stores scattered throughout the mall along the mall’s County Road 93 frontage.
    • Pearl Mist and St. Laurent cruise ships will visit us 14 times in 2016.

      And there’s a lot more. If you have any questions, please contact myself, your Councillor or Town staff. We are there to help.


      Monday November the 9th is just busy. At 5:00 pm you may wish to attend the meeting of the Citizen’s Healthcare Steering Committee at GBGH. From 6:00 to 8:00 pm the County of Simcoe invites you to its regional Transit Consultation session at the Midland Library.  This meeting will help the County decide on its support for area transit projects. Also at 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council as we assess nominations for the annual Merit Awards. And at 7:00 pm is the November General Committee meeting, including:
  • Update on the Senior 55+ Summer Games to be hosted by Midland in 2016
  • Consideration of our joint transit arrangement with Penetanguishene
  • Discussion of the municipal “dashboard” to guide the implementation of Council’s strategic plan
  • Discussion on live streaming to the internet of Council meeting

    Tuesday the 10th is a little more relaxed with the County Council meeting at 9:00 am in Midlhurst.  At 7:30 pm A Day in the Life returns to the MCC with a special guest, Dr. Abdul Hai Patel. Fred Hacker will engage Dr. Patel in a discussion about the tenets of the Islamic faith and how it fits into our Canadian society.

    On Wednesday November the 11th we will gather at 10:30 am at the Cenotaph to remember those who have fought and fallen for our Country.

    Thursday is also an exceptionally busy day. At 6:30 pm the Severn Sound Environmental Association will hold its annual partner reception at the Library. At 7:00 pm is the 2016 Ontario 55+ Summer Games launch event at the NSSRC. Please come and find out more about the 18 events, the new logo and opportunities to volunteer at the games.

At 7:00 pm, Quest Art School + Gallery will be hosting their third annual Quest Art at Home event.  For $365, patrons can borrow an original work of art by a prominent Simcoe County artist for one year, plus they will receive a $300 tax receipt and a Quest Art family membership valued at $65. All proceeds from Quest Art at Home are directed to visual arts educational programs for children, teens, adults and seniors.  Contact Karen Mealing at 705-526-ARTS (2787).

And if that is not enough, at 8:00 pm at the MCC, Community Living Huronia features a fun evening of lip-sync entertainment and the sounds of Kitty and the Boyz.

Friday the 13th.  At noon, a luncheon will be hosted at GBGH to recognize the Nurse Practitioners in our area. Then at 2:00 pm we roll into the Christmas season as the Salvation Army launches its Christmas Kettle campaign at Walmart. Two items for you at 8:00 pm:

  • Huronia Players launches its new theater season with the opening of Mr. Everything at the MCC
  • AC/DC tribute band performs at the MCC (I grew up on AC/DC)


  • Victorian Christmas Gift and Craft show at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  All proceeds to the Ontario SPCA.


This week, Mr. Eric Conroy, affectionately known as “Captain Rick”, announced he would step down as General Manager and leader of the SS Keewatin project. The Keewatin came back to Port McNicoll in 2012 in no small part because of the vision and energy of Captain Rick. The good news is that Eric will be staying on as a volunteer. Truly a builder of our community.

And in closing on a bit of happy news. Reader’s Digest will be publishing an article about our Butter Tart event in their January issue.  Wonderful exposure for Midland and area!

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday November 1, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

A good night for trick or treating although the rain did cut the festivities short. Our Halloween treat comes from our good neighbours in Penetanguishene who voted to go ahead with their funding for the new joint transit link between Midland and Pentanguishene. The matter should come back to Midland Council in November with the new bus in place likely in early 2016.


Monday November 2nd you are invited to a special Art and Desert event with noted local artist, Ms. Lu Robitaille. The event takes place at her home at 21 Pommel Place in Penetanguishene starting at 6:00 pm.  At 7:30 pm the International Festival of Authors hosts John Wright, author of A Life with Words at the MCC.

Then on to Wednesday the 4th for a couple of Town meetings.  At 5:00 pm is a closed session to discuss personal and labour negotiation matters. At 7:00 pm at the Town is the Planning and Development Committee. The agenda features:

  • Discussion of the Town’s new Source Protection Plan. This provincially mandated plan is designed to keep our drinking water safe
  • Presentation of the Hanson “Community Design Guidelines” – our first in-depth look at how they propose to design our newest neighbourhood
  • Comments on First Nation involvement in the Town’s Official Plan review

    Thursday November 5th starts at 9:00 am at the County for a Governance Committee meeting. Then at 7:00 pm at the Library, the citizens group sponsoring our Syrian refugee family will hold a meeting. They are expecting our family could arrive within 4-6 weeks.

    On Friday the 6th it’s the first of the Big Wigs shows at MCC at 8:00 pm, colourfully organized by Midland’s own Jodie James.


  • 8:00 pm Big Wigs again at the MCC

  • The Irish Rovers at the MCC


Remembrance Day draws closer. Please wear your poppy as a sign of respect for all of our women and men in uniform who have given their lives for our Canada.

Gord McKay

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