Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday March 26, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Happy Easter.

Some days it is hard to tell if spring is really here. But with advisories like the following, I guess it must have arrived.

Icebreaking operations may begin on or about March 26 2016 on Georgian Bay at Midland, Ontario. If local ice conditions dictate, USCGC KATMAI BAY will assist M/V BAIE COMEAU away from its winter berth and lead the commercial ship into open water.


The Town offices are closed on Monday the 28th.  It will however be a busy day at the Guesthouse shelter. They have just finished the internal demolition work on the third floor and are now starting the construction of the shelter space. If you can help out with swinging a hammer, supplying building materials or a donation, it would certainly be appreciated.

On Tuesday March 29th Council gets back to work with two meetings. At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to discuss personnel, disposition of property and legal advice. At 7:00 pm is the March Council meeting. A very long agenda including:

-       Three deputations:

o    Two on the upcoming Watercross event in Little Lake Park

o    A presentation on the 2016 Party on the Dock

-       Two presentations:

o    The Town’s Heritage Appreciation Award

o    Awarding of the December parking revenue to the Guesthouse and the Next Door charities

-       A number of letters regarding secondary suites

-       Decision on holding the Watercross event

-       Discussion on the municipal lease review document

-       Disclosure of the 2015 remuneration/ expenses for Councilors and Committee members

-       Adoption of the 2016 Budget

Wednesday March 30th will feature a meeting of the mayors and the NS Community Futures Development Corp. on the fiber optics initiative. At 12:30 pm that day you are invited to tour the Midland Penetang District Builders Association Trade Show at the Best Western.

Thursday has one early morning event. The Huronia Community Foundation will hold a fundraising breakfast at the NSSRC starting at 8:00 am.

Friday April 1st.  A happy 100th birthday to John Butwick.  At 3:00 pm you may wish to participate in the Midland Audit Committee meeting at Town Hall. At 4:30 pm Waypoint hosts its annual gala at Waypoint. A fine evening of entertainment and good food for a great cause.  Purchase tickets online:, or by phone: 705 549-3181 ext. 2864. And at 7:00 pm Quest Art launches its new show What Lies Beneath in their gallery at the MCC.  




-       8:00 pm at the MCC its Simply Queen, a Queen tribute band


-       Frank and Mary Graham celebrate 70 years of marriage at the Legion from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. All are welcome to come and honor this “unbelievable” couple

Council Issues Update


Council agreed this past week to forward the budget onto a final vote at Council. The budget plan shows internal cost growth close to zero. When County and to-be-determined school levies are factored in the tax rate increase in Midland should be below 1%.  

I know some get concerned about low tax levy increases. The fear is that the Town is simply borrowing money in the short term which ultimately has to be paid back with higher taxes in future. That is not the case in Midland. Your Council has ensured that the underlying cost growth is also held in check – for 2016 it’s close to zero. The low tax rate increase is a true reflection of the costs of running the Town.


The OPP have delivered a package of costing information to the Town. It primarily covers the upcoming costing process. You can see most of this information on their site at Expect the first working meeting, open to the public, to take place the week of April 11. I will let you know when a firm date has been set.

Downtown Health Centre

The OMB appeal has been withdrawn.  This opens up the path for Chigamik/Waypoint to complete their funding arrangements. I expect them to have further discussions with their neighbours to ensure that the health centre is as compatible with their wishes as possible


Mac and Cheese update – The four mayors are looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday April 5th for the first annual Mayors’ Mac and Cheese (and fish) dinner. There are 3 sittings – 4:30 5:45 and 7:00 pm. All proceeds go to We are the Villagers children’s charity. If you intend on going and have not purchased your tickets, please call Julianna at 529-1247 and tell her how many tickets you want and for what sitting.  See you there.

Gord McKay

Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midland is on the Move - 2016


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday March 19, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

A beautiful sunny day, and a week before Easter. The prognosticators have us down for a warm busy summer in Midland. You can see the excitement building with two items from the transportation file.

1)     The Town has just received a grant from the Ministry of Transportation for new bike lanes on Midland and First streets. This project is one of the major 2016 deliverables of our Downtown Master Plan. Please see attached documents.

2)     The County has released the results from its recent inter-urban transportation study. The top recommendation – bus service between Midland and Barrie.  The recommendation is for hourly service and a fleet of three new buses. County Council will now review the report.

On Monday the 21st Councillor Oschefski and I will meet with Minister Jeff Leal and a group of area youth to talk about youth services in our community. Over the last year the Towns of Penetanguishene and Midland have launched youth initiatives.  The meeting will inform the Minister about what we have accomplished and explore how we can leverage the province’s interest in better supporting local youth.

At 5:00 pm the Community Healthcare Steering Committee meets to review its recent public meeting on health. The agenda also features are report from Karen McGrath on GBGH.  The meeting takes place at GBGH, Meeting Rm 1.

Tuesday the 22nd starts at 9:00 am with County Council.  At 3:00 pm it’s the regular NS Housing Working Group meeting at Town Hall. The North Simcoe group works closely with the County to coordinate the development of affordable housing in our area. This past week the County met with developers from our area and across the County. As a result, 58 requests for further information have been received from developers to work with the County in building rental accommodation. This is an unprecedented level of interest.

5:30 pm at the MCC, the SSEA presents Bob MacDonald, the CBC host of Quirks and Quarks to tell you about “environmental conundrums”.  Tickets are available at the MCC. Then at 6:00 pm at the Brooklea, the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber hosts its annual business awards.  A chance to recognize exemplary businesses and business people in our area.

On Wednesday the 23rd I have been invited by the Red Cross to assist them in delivering meals to shut-ins with their Meals on Wheels program. That afternoon our Town Interview Committee starts the process for selecting our Interim CAO. We have 6 good candidates to be interviewed over the next two days. Hopefully a decision can be announced by the end of the month.

Wednesday will also see a special meeting of Council at 6:00 pm to discuss the budget and our strategic plan. The agenda has not been published yet, so please check the Town website next week for further details.

Thursday the 24th starts with an introductory meeting with the OPP to kick-off the police service costing process. Look for dates for public meetings on the costing process to be announced shortly thereafter.

It is Good Friday on the 25th. Town offices will be closed today and on Easter Monday.



-       Be downtown from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to meet Buster Bunny. Make sure to ask him for an Easter treat

-       10:30 am it’s a “Munsch Mash” – Theater for Kids at the MCC

-       8:00 pm a Pink Floyd tribute at the MCC

Council Issues Update


It may appear quiet on the MPUC front but there is a lot happening. Our MPUC Board is contacting an extensive number of other LDCs to see if they can locate an appropriate sale/merger partner. Also an increasing number of communities are exploring the sale of their LDC – the latest one being Peterborough.

The Town will be providing background information on this complex decision in the days ahead. I expect the sale/merger decision to return to Council this spring.


Our hospital continues with the implementation of many of the 108 recommendations from its recent operational report. The contentious recommendations affecting service levels continue to be parked.

The four mayors have held three meetings this past week with GBGH, the LHIN and other mayors from communities with hospitals.  Our intention is to get to the root of the funding problem that is bedeviling mid-sized hospitals across the province. We need to put new hospital funding measures in place to secure appropriate hospital services in smaller communities like Midland.

Gord McKay

Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midland is on the Move - 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday March 13, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s March Break and the Town is full of happy children with a week off. If you are looking for a way to keep the KIDS entertained there is lots to do:

-       Huronia Museum has a March Break Day Camp from the 14th to 18th. Geared to children 5-12 years. $22 per day.

-       Quest Art at the MCC hosts “Think It, Make It Move It” all week. Call Quest at 705-526-ARTS (2787) or visit the Quest Art Shop at the MCC.

-       Boys and Girls Club March Break Camp from the 14th to 18th  Camp runs from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (with before and after care available)

-       Wye Marsh has numerous March Break activities – 11:00 am and 2:00 pm daily it’s the “Meet the Creatures” program; 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm features roast bannock over the fire and; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm it’s a tour through the Sugar Shack.

Please check with each organization for further details.

For the adults it’s a bit quieter. On Monday March 14th, the Cancer Awareness flag will be raised at Town Hall at 2:00 pm.

KIDS – Try building a Birdhouse at 10:30 am at the Library. The cost is $5.  Please call to register.

On Tuesday the 15th the mayors of Simcoe County, who have hospitals in the municipalities, will meet to discuss what action to take on the ongoing shortfall in funding for our hospitals. The meeting is a first step in creating the resolve to correcting the problems with the funding formula that limit our hospitals’ ability to serve our communities.

KIDS – Come join a Family Folk Dancing session at the MCC at 2:00 pm. This fun family event is free.

Wednesday the 16th - it’s not quite St. Patrick ’s Day but that hasn’t stopped our seniors. Askennonia is hosting a St. Patrick's Day Luncheon, including hearty Irish stew with crusty bread, dessert, cash bar, live music courtesy of Steve Pitkanen and Kristine Mannion and special guests the Irish School of Dance. Tickets are on sale now at Askennonia's reception.

KIDS - The Good Dinosaur will be playing at our Library at 1:30pm. Free admission!

March 17th and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. The four mayors will be meeting with our North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN to discuss our hospital funding and the sustainability of GBGH.   

KIDS – Join us for Science Day at the Library. Sessions are at 10:30 and 1 pm.  A great day of fun and discovery.

At 7:30 pm at the MCC, Garfield Dunlop will be joining Fred Hacker for a Day in the Life. At 9:00 pm is a unique event as your four mayors “don their pajamas” and spend a night in the GuestHouse. The people of Midland understand that we must help those who for whatever reason are compelled to live on the street. The mayors will be asking for pledges to help the Guesthouse raise money to build the new shelter.

Friday March 18th will see me at the County at 9:00 am for the Affordable Housing meeting. We are building at least 2,685 new affordable housing units in the County over the coming nine years.

KIDS – Mini-Pops (I will have to admit that I am too old to know what Mini-Pops is). The first show at 2:00 pm at MCC is almost sold out. A second show has been added at 11:30 am.  



-       Wye Marsh Sweetwater Festival – Pancakes and outdoor fun starting at 9:00 am


-       Wye Marsh Sweetwater Festival starting at 9:00 am

-       March Mudness at Rotary Park in Penetanguishene from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. A head to head competition over a muddy obstacle course. Go Team Midland.

Council Issues Update


Our hospital is looking for talented new Board members to fill four vacant Board positions. The Board is skills-based and provides governance oversight of the hospital’s mission, vision, values and strategic plan. In particular the Board is looking for applicants from the Francophone, First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities. If you are interested, please contact:

GBGH Board Nominations

C/O Jacki Dumont

Georgian Bay General Hospital

1112 St. Andrew's Drive, Midland

P.O. Box 760 Midland, ON L4R 4P4

Applications including resumes must be received by 4:00pm, Friday, April 8, 2016


I try to avoid asking for money but this week there are two special charities that I am involved in and I need your help.

1)     We Are The Villages, together with the four mayors, is hosting a “Mac N Cheese” dinner at the Library restaurant on Tuesday April 5th. For $15 ($5 for children) you receive a gourmet “Mac N Cheese” dinner, impeccable table service from the four mayors, MPP Patrick Brown and MP Bruce Stanton; plus entertainment from the children of We Are The Villagers. Please contact me for tickets at

2)     The Guesthouse has invited the four mayors to spend the night with them this Thursday and see the shelter from the perspective of a homeless person. The Guesthouse also needs your financial help to build their new shelter. They have to be out of their current shelter location in the very near future. If you can sponsor me, or wish to contribute directly to the Guesthouse, please contact me at

Thank you.

Gord McKay

Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midland is on the Move - 2016


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday March 6, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

A glorious spring-like day. Time to retire the snow shovel and start tuning up the lawn mower. A great summer is ahead for Midland.

Monday March 7th starts with an early 8:00 am meeting of the Snowmobiling Ad-Hoc Committee. This brand new committee will be recommending the framework for snowmobile trails and regulations for snowmobiles within the Town of Midland. At 5:00 pm that evening is the quarterly meeting of the Citizens Healthcare Steering Committee. While there will be reports on our District Health Unit and the new transit system, the main discussion will be about our hospital. The meeting is at the Brian Orser Arena in Penetanguishene. Please attend if you can.

At 5:30 pm is a special closed meeting of Council on labour and personal matters. At 6:00 pm at Town Hall is a public presentation by Hemson Consulting on your Water/Wastewater rates. Then at 7:00 pm is the General Committee meeting. The meeting will feature a number of year end reports updating Council on how our water, wastewater and transit services fared last year. Additionally:

-       Decision on the Watercross event in Little Lake Park this summer

-       Discussion on how to treat the many leases that the Town has established with different groups

-       Disclosure of the 2015 “sunshine list” – we are now up to 35 on the over $100,000 list

-       Plans for our own RibFest this August 4th

On Tuesday the 8th I am at County for the 9:00 am Council meeting where we will discuss;

-       County funding for our hospitals including GBGH

-       Setting of the tax rate structure for all municipalities in the County

On Wednesday you are invited to participate in the Great Lakes CafĂ©. This is a moderated evening of dialogue, idea exchange and creativity around ways that we can celebrate our Great Lakes. Your comments will be included in a report to the International Joint Commission, the body that oversees the use of our Great Lakes. The event is at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC. Please register at

Thursday the 10th sees the YMCA Spring Job Fair at the MCC from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  



-       9:30 am to 2:00 pm - Pancake breakfast at Phil’s Pub and Eatery.  All proceeds go to We are the Villagers.

Council Issues Update


The mayors continue to work with GBGH on the two most contentious issues facing our hospital:

-       Ensuring GBGH has the “basket of health services” that we need in our community

-       Having the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN modify the funding formula so that our mid-sized community hospital is not continuously strapped for funds

Each and every one of us has a role to play in maintaining our local health services. Please get involved.


And in closing some good news. Pillsbury had been set to close their operation this June. General Mills has now advised that they will be open until at least January next year. Our economic development group EDCNS is also working with at least one company that is interested in buying the property and ensuring a level of employment stays at the facility. I will keep you updated.

Gord McKay

Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midland is on the Move - 2016