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.
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