Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday December 20, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

And so it is Christmas.  Our remarkable non-winter continues.  Even with the reminder of a light dusting of snow this morning, you know it’s not really winter when Blue Mountain has to reopen its mini-putt to entertain the Christmas vacationers.

While I would prefer that this last missive of the year have a lighter tone, there are two recent public issues that are causing some concern.  Our local newspaper carried a story that our hospital may be facing major changes in the years ahead. As reported, these changes could affect staffing and service delivery.

This week also saw the release of a significant Discussion Paper from the Ministry of Health. It pointed to potentially sweeping changes to primary care (your family doctor), service delivery outside of hospitals from the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and the likelihood of reorganizing components of healthcare delivery, likely through “healthcare hubs”. A lot of change to consider all at once.

These announcements, while appearing to come out of nowhere, reflect the reality that Ontario is no longer the health care leader that it used to be. The good news is that GBGH, the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and the MoH have promised to hold extensive consultations before changes are made. The other good bit of news is that North Simcoe is not caught flat footed. Over the last four years the citizens of North Simcoe, the mayors and the leaders of our healthcare institutions have met regularly to discuss how to improve the delivery of healthcare for all residents. While change may be difficult, we will use this opportunity to strengthen healthcare in our area.

The second issue concerns our Midland Library. Mayor Marshall has written a number of pieces indicating that he would prefer a merger of our two municipal libraries. While I respect his position, the fundamental question is not about merger or not, but rather what type of library best serves the interests of the people of Midland.

Our library has its own Board of Directors put in place to set policy and oversee its operation. Municipal Council has limited influence over Board decisions.  So while it is entirely appropriate for our library Board to consider their form of operation, they must remain focused the needs of our citizens. And I have every confidence that they will do so.


A short work week. On Monday December 21st you will want to take the young ones down to the MCC at 1:00 pm for a free screening of the Christmas favorite Polar Express.  At 5:00 pm it’s my last formal meeting of the year with the Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee at GBGH. The meeting will focus on organizing the North Simcoe public meeting on healthcare set for mid-February. More information in the days ahead.

Town Hall closes at noon on December 24th and opens again on January 4th. Remember Bruce Stanton will host his annual free skating party on Thursday December 31st from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at the NSSRC.

It’s now time to put the world away and enjoy this season of peace and hope with family and friends. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gord McKay

P.S. One last taste of the season. See what Cottage Life has to say about Midland’s own Butter Tart Beer:

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


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday December 12, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The days are getting busier as Christmas approaches. Still no snow on the horizon but that has not slowed down the Christmas shopping. Get out there and enjoy the season.

Monday Dec 14th at 3:30 pm will see the retirement reception for Father Bernie Carroll, Director of Martyr’s Shrine. The gathering at the Shrine will celebrate Father Carroll’s stewardship in making the Shrine a more welcoming part of our North Simcoe community.

At 5:30 pm is a closed meeting of Council for personal matters.  Then at 7:00 pm is the December combination General Committee and Council meeting. A lengthy agenda including:

-       Our annual Civic Awards to deserving citizens and organizations

-       Three deputations:

o    Midland Seniors Council on the needs of the elderly in Midland

o    Lakehead University`s Kim Fedderson and its impact upon Simcoe County

o    We Are the Villagers will tell us about this excellent local charity

-       A Public Meeting (you may speak) on the proposed signage on the health building on Highway 12

-       Confirmation of Council’s intent to proceed with an OPP costing

-       Review of the progress on the Tiffin Phase 6 work plan

-       A vote on the agreement with our professional fire fighters

-       Introduction of our new Customer Service Feedback form

-       Review of our operations Dashboard – a way to keep Council and the public up to date on how well we are meeting our strategic objectives

On Tuesday Dec 15th the Town will engage in its annual table-top emergency planning exercise. Not to worry. You will not be seeing any additional emergency vehicles on our streets. That evening at 6:00 pm I join our 726 Midland Sea Cadets for their annual Christmas dinner celebration.

Wednesday the 16th seems to be healthcare day. It starts at 8:00 am with the quarterly meeting of the Physicians Recruitment Committee. Then at 4:00 pm the mayors are invited to meet with Karen McGrath, President of GBGH, to hear the results of the recent external assessment of our hospital. As you are aware, the four mayors remain committed to working to keep our community hospital healthy and well-funded.

Thursday December 17th starts at 9:00 am at the County for an Audit and Finance Committee meeting. At 12 noon the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre is opening their doors to the entire Town for a free festive meal at their location on Yonge Street. I know you will be warmly welcomed by our urban First Nations’ community.

On Friday the 18th, the Good Lovelies are at the MCC for their Christmas concert – unfortunately it’s all sold out.



-       2:00 pm at the MCC a Day in the Life features Santa Claus.  If you have young ones who want the inside scoop on Santa, this is for you

-       5:00 pm Victorian Christmas – Your chance to visit 4 Midland homes all decked out for the season. Tickets are still available at the Town; the N.S.S.R.C.; the Library; SerendipiTea, and Tripp's Paint.



I am not sure that this is in the festive category but Midland`s Best Butter Tart beer sold out its first run at the local LCBO`s in just four days.  I understand that they have a new supply in. You have to try this local taste of the season.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday December 6, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

If our recent summer-like weather is any indication it promises to be an interesting winter.  But there is no dampening of the Christmas spirit as you will see below.

A quiet start to the week.  On Tuesday December 8th at 9:00 am at Midhurst, County Council debates changes to our waste management system. Over the last 5 years the County has implemented significant changes to our municipal waste recycling and collection.  However our household diversion rate is stuck at about 52% - 48% of our waste still goes to landfill. Further the amount of waste each household generates each year continues to increase. This discussion will see if the County is willing to put in new policy measures to reduce the amount of garbage that we all generate.

On Wednesday the 9th something very special – the Tay Township Great Christmas Caravan comes to Town.  Captain Eric, of Keewatin fame, and Mayor Scotty have somehow finagled a tractor-trailer full of toys.  These toys will be distributed to childrens’ charities across North Simcoe.  Midland’s turn is at noon in front of the NSSRC. Groups such as Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army will be there to receive this Christmas bounty. Please drop by to see Santa at his best.

At 4:45 pm at St. Pauls, Sistema Huronia will perform a series of pieces demonstrating the string playing skills that local children have learned this semester. This will be a short informal concert to provide a friendly atmosphere for our youthful musicians to perform together for the first time. Please come and show these youngsters that they are appreciated by all of us.

That evening, at 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to discuss a labour matter. Then at 7:00 pm Council has an open meeting to discuss budget related matters, followed later on by a closed meeting to discuss the personal aspects of the budget matters. While Council tries to avoid closed meetings, this series of closed meetings arises from your Council’s comprehensive review of the way the Town operates. This internal review will give us the needed information to sustainably provide our needed services while allowing the Town to undertake new initiatives such as downtown revitalization and investing in our cultural economy.

And speaking of culture, the down-east talents of the Barrra MacNeil will be on display at the MCC. This sold out performance is indicative of the cultural growth we are seeing in our area.

On Thursday December the10th there are two meetings for you. From 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at the Best Western, the Severn Sound Sustainability group will host a workshop on invasive species. You need to register in advance. Please contact | 705.526.1371 x. 112.  Then at 6:00 pm the Hanson Group is hosting a public input session to review the “development design guideline” for their new development on Highway 12. The event is at our Library.

Friday the 11th at 10:00 am will feature a short meeting of the Downtown Safety Committee at Town Hall. This meeting will finalize the recommendations for the “Situation Table” – a new form of coordinating police and social agencies to help those who are having trouble coping in society.

In our downtown, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm there will be a live remote in the new parking lot on the corner of King & Bay Street.  Corus Radio will be set up doing a live broadcast and the Midland Fire department will be bringing a truck as we're doing a fill-the-truck food/toy drive for charity. Look for our local merchants to be open for your Christmas shopping – a great opportunity to shop local.


A weekend for family plans. Just one cultural note. The iconic Bobby Curtola will be live on stage at the MCC at 8:00 pm on Sunday


As part of our Town moving to a more modern economy, Council has decided to revamp its by-laws respecting home based businesses. The intention is to move from a regime that restricts entrepreneurial home-based activity to one that encourages it, while respecting the rights of citizens to enjoy their residential neighborhoods.

Our Planning Department is now gathering your views on the topic. If you operate a home-based business, the Town wants to hear from you. You can help by filling out the survey:  Your information will be kept confidential.

Gord McKay

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