Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday February 21, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The ground may be frozen solid outside but change is in the air.

Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, was in Town to announce a $27.5 million commitment to a new regional high school on the MSS property. While it will be built in Midland, opening in 2018, it will provide a first class education environment for students from all parts of North Simcoe.

Last Friday a dedicated group of men (and one woman) met to take action on building respectful relations between men and women. Men’s violence towards women is endemic in our society. Changing that situation has to start with each of us. Look for a public launch event in May where the real men will stand up to take a pledge and action against violence towards women.

Further down in today’s News from the Town, please note that Midland Council will make a decision on working with Penetanguishene to build a public transit link, bringing our communities closer together.

And from the good rumors file, I expect a Midland taxi company to announce a new special-needs taxi service for our area next month.

Change is definitely in the air – more to come.


My Monday February 23rd starts off with a couple of business meetings – talking to companies thinking of setting up in Midland. At 5:30 pm the Huronia Community Foundation holds an appreciation event at Lot 102.

Your Council holds a closed meeting starting at 6:30 pm to discuss committee appointments and a personal matter. At 7:00 pm is the February Council meeting including:
-       Presentation of two Heritage awards
-       Three deputations:
o    Overview of the 2015 Party on the Dock
o    A description of Cycling Tourism in our area
o    An update on the Midland Cultural Advisory Committee
-       Notice that Penetanguishene is considering hosting a waste haulage site
-       A discussion of how we will work with Penetanguishene on an inter-urban transit link

If you would rather stay home, you may want to tune in the 7:00 pm TV premiere on CBC of the documentary, “Bring Her on Home: The Return of the SS Keewatin”.

On Wednesday February 25th at 10:00 am the Downtown Safety Committee has its second “first meeting”. (The first one was postponed due to lack of quorum.) An important meeting as we look for new ways to make our downtown safe for all.

Thursday February 26th will see a series of municipal meetings. At 9:00 am County Council will meet in Midhurst.  At 5:00 pm Council will meet in closed session to review a land purchase matter. Then at 6:00 pm Council will meet to discuss our hydro distribution utility, MPUC, and our Energy Plan. (As of today’s date these meetings have not been posted on our website calendar so you may wish to check the site before attending.)

Friday the 27th starts with a Waterfront Steering committee meeting at 11:00 am at Town Hall. Then at 1:00 pm the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meets to decide on the housing projects it will pursue in the coming years. The Group is working in coordination with the County to create some 2,400 new affordable housing units over the next ten years.


-       The wrap up of the Right to be Thirsty campaign includes roller skating in Orillia at 1:00 pm -  you are welcome to attend
-       The ReMax hockey tournament – all day at the NSSRC

-       The ReMax hockey tournament – all day at the NSSRC

And in closing a couple of video moments.

The police and Kim Mitchell have a message about drinking and snowmobiling.  See if you can identify the officers in the picture.

The trailer for Big News from Little Rock just came out. Lots of Midland locations and folks included. Check it out!

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday February 15, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

I must admit I was feeling pretty good about the number of smiling faces that I saw this weekend – until I realized that their lips were frozen in place. Boy its cold.

This past week your Council conducted its second strategic planning session. While there were no members of the public in attendance (it was open to the public), you will be pleased to know that we are already starting to work well as a group. Expect good things of your new Council – you will not be disappointed.

The strategy session was characterized by the term “transformative”. This Council understands that with informed leadership we can significantly move Midland back to prosperity. We talked about moving Midland from the highest tax rate jurisdiction in Simcoe County to the 75th percentile – this involves removing some $1.3 million from the operations budget. We discussed driving our economic development projects forward – the Downtown Master Plan; Midland Bay Landing; commitment to EDCNS – offsetting the job losses from the decline in manufacturing. We also talked about transforming how our municipality operates – the challenge being to improve service delivery while taking advantage of modern operating practices and technologies. One example is information technology – an area that the Town has yet to really implement. Delivering services and information on-line will be considered. Take a look at what Corona, California has accomplished -

Interesting days ahead.


Monday the 16th is Family Day.  Town Hall is closed.  A great opportunity to take the family out skating and then stopping downtown for some hot chocolate.

A number of interesting meetings coming up on Tuesday February 17th.  At 2:00 pm at Town Hall is the Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee. This group, still in its formative stages, will focus public engagement across North Simcoe leading to improved healthcare for our future. You are welcome to attend.

Georgian College is launching a speaker’s series called the Entrepreneurship Learning Channel at their Midland campus Room 202 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.  Topics include entrepreneurship, marketing, Building a Winning Business Strategy. If you have ever wanted to start your own entrepreneurial business or have an idea to take on the world, this series is for you. No charge but please register at

At 5:30 pm your Council will hold a closed meeting to discuss a real estate acquisition matter.

On Wednesday the 18th I have a discussion with FedDev about supports for the manufacturing sector in North Simcoe. Our Economic Development Corporation is working collaboratively with the four mayors to develop a special program for our area manufacturers as they fight the challenges of intense international competition. At 4:00 pm that afternoon, the Police Service Board meeting takes place at Town hall.

Friday February the 20th is another busy day.  At 9:00 am at the Town hall is special public meeting of “men” to decide on actions to improve the respectful relationship between men and women in our area. Men abusing women is endemic in our society. While there is no quick fix, a necessary first step for this group of men will be taking action that publically demonstrates that there is no excuse for abusing women.

At noon, OPSEU will be holding an information picket at 478 Bay St. Then starting at 4:30 pm the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour will be hosting a fund raising spaghetti dinner at the Legion. (You may want to wear an apron as I have been drafted to help serve).  And finally at 8:00 pm Huronia Players launches its 2015 season with “How the Other Half Loves”. That’s at the MCC.


-       Farmers market at NSSRC 9:00 am
-       Open mic at the MCC starting at 1:00 pm


Huronia Museum is launching its "Ambassador Pass" for residents of Midland. As of February 2015, individuals who reside in Midland, Ontario can visit Huronia Museum free of charge when they visit with friends and family from out of town. Residents can bring a piece of identification with their Midland address and will be admitted free of charge. For more information on this program, check out what Museum Man has to say at:

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday February 8, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

The winter of 2015 is here with a vengeance and it’s starting to get deep out there.  But “groundhog guesses” aside there is one early sign of spring in Midland.  I am starting to see a number of our local snowbirds return from the south.

Monday February 9th will see two Town meetings.  At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting to discuss labour and personal matters.  At 7:00 pm it’s the General Committee meeting -  a light agenda including:
-       Report on our preparations for the Emerald Ash Borer invasion
-       Discussion of students crossing King Street mid-block to get to Tim Hortons
-       Information that the tax arrears are down in 2014
-       Discussion of Penetanguishene’s formal approach to the Town to start an inter-urban transit link. Over the last year the two municipalities have had informal discussions about a new transit service, linking key destinations such as the hospital and the respective downtowns. Midland would be the operator as we have the staff and infrastructure to easily add the new route. A good step in seeing our communities work better together.

Tuesday the 10th sees me at County Council at 9:00 am. That evening it’s A Day in the Life featuring ecologist, Dr. Peter Sale, author of Our Dying Planet.  Dr. Sale is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor and until recently was Assistant Director, Institute for Water, Environment and Health at United Nations University.  His expertise is in coral reefs a threatened ecosystem that may actually be eliminated from the planet. That’s at 7:30 pm at the MCC. For tickets

Wednesday February 11th sees two important meetings. At 10:00 am at Town hall is the first meeting of the Downtown Safety Committee.  This Committee was struck by Council to bring together the many groups who have a stake in ensuring a safe community for us all and to consider what measure will help improve downtown safety. The Committee recognizes that many of the safety issues require social interventions and not just policing. Our challenge is to work together to ensure safety for all. You are welcome to attend.

From 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Georgian College – Midland Campus - is hosting a unique event to challenge the entrepreneurs in our midst. It’s a mini-“Dragons Den” where some of our brightest local minds will pitch their business ideas to a College panel. This is a good step forward for our municipality, as we celebrate the many talented young people who will create tomorrow’s jobs right here in Midland. Please do attend.

On Thursday February 12th your Council spends a full day mapping out our future. Starting at 9:00 am at Town Hall, Council will receive the draft of its first strategy planning session and refine those points into our roadmap for the next four years. Please do attend. Then about 1:00 pm Council will likely go into a closed session to discuss staffing levels and directions for the year ahead.

To round out the week, Friday the 13th will see the Waterfront Steering Committee meeting at Town Hall at 11:00 am.


-       The 67th Winterama weekend in Penetanguishene starts with a parade down Main Street at 11 am.
-       Its Valentine’s Day – an opportunity to celebrate your significant other

And don’t forget that Monday February 16th is Family Day. Some businesses, including Town Hall, will be closed. A good opportunity to bring your family down to one of our two new outdoor rinks for some skating fun.

Gord McKay

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday February 1, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen

Winterfest 2015 is in the bag and we now turn to the prospect of getting through February before any hope of spring – Wiarton Willie willing.

While it was not a New Year’s resolution I got myself signed up for the “Ready to Be Thirsty” challenge. . Sponsored by our Health Unit it invites all of us to stop and think about the amount of alcohol we consume in our daily lives. While our knee-jerk reaction is invariably - not me, I don’t have a drinking problem – alcohol has nonetheless ingratiated itself into almost all aspects of our daily lives. Cold turkey is likely not the best solution but ensuring that you are really in charge of your alcohol consumption is. Are you up to the challenge?

Monday is a quiet day as we all wait for Wiarton Willie to do his thing.

Tuesday February 3rd will feature Garfield Dunlop’s pre-budget consultation at the Brooklea starting at 9:00 am. At 5:00 pm the four mayors will meet in Tiny Township to discuss issues that affect the four municipalities. The mayors will use information from this meeting to go back to their own Council’s to see if any action should be taken.

On Wednesday February 4th at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall is the Planning and Development Committee meeting. Main items include:
-       Recommending the implementation of the province’s decision on secondary suites
-       Direction on an OMB appeal of the Town’s Source Water Protection Plan
-       Report on the inspection of the 154 septic tanks within 100 meters of Georgian Bay and Little Lake. (The Town passed a By-law in 2014 requiring the Town to inspect the minimum required by provincial law – that is sceptic tanks within 100 meters of the two water bodies.)

Thursday will be a busy day as I have a number of meetings with business leaders and manufacturers in our area.  While these one-on-one meetings are not public, all four mayors are working diligently with local business people to improve our area’s economy.

On Friday the 6th the four mayors and our Economic Development Corporation will meet at 7:30 am to further develop our request of federal Minister Goodyear to provide needed assistance to area manufacturers.


-       2:00 pm our Royal Canadian Air Cadets have a Change of Command Ceremony at the  NSSRC to welcome the new CO, Captain Megan McKinnon

Last week I told you about the launch of our new tourism name, the Heart of Georgian Bay. I had also promised you a link to our new song -
If this song does not make you proud of being a Midlander, nothing will – thanks Noni.

Still on the theme of tourism, we have a new tourism promotional video that is making the rounds at trade shows and in Toronto at the Senior Games AGM.

Gord McKay

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