Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday January 31, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

This past week has been stressful for all of us in North Simcoe as we learned about the findings of the operational review of our hospital, GBGH. The review was commissioned by the Board last year. The consultant, Geyer and Associates, came back with 108 recommendations that impact virtually every facet of the hospital’s operation - from a major overhaul of the organization’s culture; to improved training; to eliminating obstetrical care; to closing the cafeteria. For the complete report please visit

Over the last three years the mayors of North Simcoe have joined with citizens in advocating for our hospital. This led in December 2014 to the four mayors, GBGH and the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN signing a joint declaration of support for GBGH:

·         “Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the hospital

·         Maintaining suitable hospital programs and services in our community hospital”

This past week the four mayors met with the CEO of the hospital, Karen McGrath, and the Chair of the Board, Ralph Befort. We agreed that the report was hard hitting and underscored the need for real change. But change had to meet our signed commitment to “suitable hospital programs and services” as reflected in the impassioned statements of citizens at the recent public meetings. The mayors also criticized the report for not addressing the chronic underfunding of the hospital, a fact that likely led to some of the negative outcomes identified in the report.

Following the public and mayors meetings, the GBGH Board met and in a January 29th media release committed to:

-       Continued public consultation

-       Implementation of those recommendations that addressed internal safety, culture and efficiency issues

-       Deferral of the recommendations that dealt with obstetrics, surgery, ICU and bed closures. Specifically “…we would take the recommendations that deal with clinical service changes such as OB, surgery, ICU and bed closures (#’s 70, 76, 82, 83, 84, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108) out of the mix to be dealt with separately,” said Board Chair Ralph Befort.

While GBGH does many things well, many things need substantial improvement. Our meeting with the hospital CEO and Board Chair was candid, direct and sensitive to concerns of North Simcoe citizens. With this as a basis we can move our community hospital to a better place. It will take the combined and cooperative efforts of GBGH leadership, the doctors, the GBGH staff, the LHIN and most importantly the citizens of North Simcoe.  The mayors, in particular, will work to resolve the funding issue with the LHIN/Ministry.  Your help will be essential as we put our hospital on a much more solid foundation to serve our community’s healthcare needs.


Monday February 1st - Get on the bus.  Today marks a milestone in service delivery for Midland and Penetanguishene as the new transit service is launched. Running hourly, the service operates from Monday to Saturday and will allow you to go from one end of Penetanguishene to the far end of Midland, all for one low fare.   If you wish to see your Councilors “get on the bus” be at the Foodland mall parking lot in Penetanguishene at 8:45 am.

Then it is into a full day of meetings. At 9:30 am at Town Hall, Council meets to review its strategic plan and progress made to date.  You are welcome to attend. At 11:00 am Council breaks out of the meeting and goes into closed session to discuss labour and personal matters. Then about noon, Council goes back into a public meeting with staff to discuss the business plan and actions for 2016. At the end of that meeting, Council will conclude with a discussion on the need for a temporary CAO.

On Tuesday the 2nd I will head to Christian Island to meet with Chief Monague.  The purpose of the meeting is to start consultations with Beausoleil First Nation for Midland’s Official Plan.

Wednesday February 3rd will see a key meeting as EDCNS (our economic development group) brings area manufacturers together to discuss strengthening the local economy and creating jobs.  We all know the Canadian economy is going through a rough patch but many of our own local manufacturers are actually expanding. Recent discussions indicate they have 40-50 good job openings available. Their challenge is to find candidates who have the proper skills. Education is key.

At 5:30 pm Huronia Historical Parks is gearing up for the 2016 tourist season with their season launch at restaurant Ste. Marie. This is the same group that brought you the smash event Pumpkinferno. If you are attending, please RSVP to  by Feb 1. At 7:00 pm that evening is Planning and Development Committee at the Town including:

-       Zoning Bylaw Amendment for 711 Aberdeen by Tiffin Harbour Development Corp.

-       Discussion on restrictions to second units

-       Introduction to a planning service the Town is considering that will allow residents improved access to their municipal lot and zoning information. The software is currently in use by Severn Township.  You can see what it looks like at: ( )

Thursday the 4th sees a unique on-line job fair connecting employers to job seekers. It is sponsored by The County of Simcoe, in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board and Employment Ontario. To date more than 1,700 registered job seekers and more than 60 employers offering hundreds of local employment opportunities are involved. The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sign up today at

At 1:00 pm the four mayors meet to further their discussions about bringing high bandwidth fibre optic networks to North Simcoe.

On Friday the 5th the mayors start out the day with a meeting with Patrick Brown our MPP.  And then we get right into Midland’s Winterfest. There is far too much going on for me to include here, so please consult the weekend schedule (attached). That said do not miss the annual downtown road hockey match starting at 4:00 pm.



-       9:00 am Valentines breakfast with the Marksmen at St Marks church

-       1:00 pm is the great Chili Cook-Off and competition at the downtown parking lot, Bay and King


-       10:00 am Winterfest Spelling Bee at the NSSRC


Through the fall, residents met with the Town to develop our “vision statement”, a part of our Official Plan process. You can see the Vision Statement Report they produced at:

Gord McKay

Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midlands on the Move - 2016


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