Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday April 24, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our on again – off again spring is off again. In spite of the cool weather, that hardy breed known as the Georgian Bay boater is already out on the water.  A tip of the hat but I will watch from shore.

Monday April 25th has two meetings. At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to deal with two personal matters. At 7:00 pm is the regular meeting of Council. The agenda includes:

-       Two deputations

o    Midland Rotary Club update

o    Midland Cultural Centre update

-       Presentation to the Town by Gunter Hille, a well-regarded local photographer

-       Letters on the Development Charges associated with second suites

-       Direction regarding a $2M increase in the cost of the new Public Works depot

-       Selection of a consulting firm for the hiring of the full time CAO

-       Councilor Strathearn will present a motion to clarify the financial targets from our strategic plan

On Tuesday the 26th I am at County Council for 9:00 am. County will be dealing with such topics as the collection of a court awarded settlement from the AWARE group; and information about the Canada Census that is due to start in May 2016. 

At 1:30 pm it’s the Blue Skies and Butterflies Spring Fashion Show.  This annual Askennonia event takes place in the Community Hall at the NSSRC.  Tickets are $20. 

Then right to Friday the 29th at 10:00 am when an update meeting for the Midland Bay Landing Steering Committee takes place at Town Hall.  At 5:30 pm it’s the Museum’s Heritage Dinner at the NSSRC. The guest speaker is John Hartman who will interpret the 1909 trip up the bay by Midland photographer J.W. Bald. Then at 7:30 pm, join the Battle of the Bands at MCC.  This promises to be an exciting event with talent such as the Sandra Good Band, Mad Hatters, Crossfire and more.



-       6:30 pm the Quest Art School + Gallery hosts their inaugural Kaleidoscope of the Arts. Music by Scott Cooper and two artists painting/sketching on-site.  Guests will then move to Rotary Hall to enjoy a sit-down dinner catered by Ciboulette et Cie.  John French will be on the grand piano and Chuck Baker will perform during dessert.  After a live auction, the Shawn Mei band will have guests dancing the night away. Proceeds will support visual arts programs for children, teens, adults and seniors.

-       7:30 pm Seranata Choir hosts its “Spring Sing” at St Pauls


-       12:30 pm Hospice Huronia holds it’s annual Hike for Hospice. The event starts with a soup lunch at the Penetanguishene Curling Club. The walk starts at 1:30 pm.

Council Issues Update


A very busy week in the public life of our hospital. A bus load of citizens were down at Queens Park on Wednesday to protest health care cuts and to present a 15,000 name petition supporting GBGH hospital services.  Then on Saturday some of our physicians gathered at Queens Park to voice their concern about cuts to the fees paid to doctors. If you add to this the 108 recommendations from the recent operations review at GBGH, you can appreciate the complexity of trying to make needed changes to healthcare in North Simcoe.

Behind the scenes, your mayors are continuing their effort to have the province change the hospital funding formula to properly fund mid-sized hospitals. Our efforts in concert with GBGH, the LHIN, area doctors, the Ministry and mayors from across the province seem to be making progress. We have been invited to meet ministerial staff in early May to discuss our imitative and inform the Ministry’s review of the funding formula. Look for a media release tomorrow giving a bit more background on what the mayors have been up to.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday April 17, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring at last. It’s amazing how a few days of warm spring sunshine change one’s outlook on life. Take the opportunity to get out and say hello to someone you don’t know.

Monday April the 18th will feature a special Council meeting at 6:00 pm to approve the selection of our new interim CAO. I can’t release the name until tomorrow but you are welcome to attend the meeting. Council had decided to retain an interim CAO for a period of up to six months while the search for the full-time CAO position is being conducted.

Tuesday the 19th is a busy day starting with the County’s open houses on the proposed Organics Processing Facility and Material Management Facility to be built at a location in Springwater. There are two sessions, one from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Simcoe County Museum

All entrepreneurs thinking of starting their own business are invited to a business start-up coaching session at the Midland Library from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Sponsored by the Business Enterprise Resource Network, the session is free. Please register at

At 5:30 pm is the annual Women of Excellence Awards at the Best Western.  You are invited to come out and honour the excellent women of our community.  At 6:30 pm is the Junior Battle of the Books at the Midland library.  Contact Bonnie Reynolds at 526-4216 for more information.

On Wednesday, many North Simcoe residents will be up at an early hour to catch a bus down to Queen’s Park. They will be presenting a petition to the government to protest the potential loss of services at GBGH. At 10:00 am that morning I am chairing a multi-Ministry meeting to provide better understanding and coordination between provincial government programs and local needs. The meeting will focus on infrastructure, economic development and culture/tourism.

Friday April 22nd is Earth Day.  Your chance to do that extra little bit to help your planet, and therefore every one of us who depends upon it. Your Town is organizing a waterfront clean-up. We gather at the Swan sculptor at the waterfront at 2:30 pm. Clean-up supplies will be provided.  Please come out and join us.

At 10 am I attend a thought leadership session at Georgian College in Barrie. This discussion brings the community together to discuss new methods of outreach for Georgian’s educational resources.  At 6:00 pm you are invited to Lot 102 to bid retiring Fire Captain Rob Wilson the best in his retirement after 25 years with Midland Fire.



-       10:30 am at the MCC Hanna Hashimoto is on stage - a delightful recreation of a popular children’s story

-       5:30 pm it’s the Canoe Tripper Rendevous (A Portager’s Party) at Wye Marsh.  Celebrate as a voyageur with some good food and camp fun.  Dress in your best camping attire.  Tickets at Tripps Paint and Ciboulette

-       8:00 pm ABBA tribute at the MCC


-       7:30 pm folk singer David Francey at the MCC

Council Issues Update


The first public meeting on the OPP costing was held this past week. The OPP should have their part of the costing back to us by this fall. Council then has 6 months to make a decision on our policing future.

The OPP Costing Committee has also asked Council to approve the retention of an advisor to help with understanding our Midland Police Service cost situation.  While it may seem a simple question the full cost of our policing must consider the annual budget, provincial funds and supports, pension and transitional obligations, as well as the state to our policing assets. Simply put, it’s complicated.


A note for your June calendar. Margaret Trudeau will be coming to Midland to speak about her lifetime of experiences in support of The Guesthouse Shelter. The event will take place at the Best Western on Thursday, June 2nd at 7:00 pm. Early Bird Tickets are $125 per person until May 1st, after which they will be $150.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday April 10, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

If you believe the weatherperson, warmer days are just around the corner. It had better come quickly. I have a lot of forlorn looking robins in my yard debating about flying south again.

Monday the 11th starts the business of the Town with a closed meeting at 6:00 pm to discuss personal matters. At 7:00 pm it’s the General Committee meeting. The agenda includes:

-       Setting up a Transit Advisory Committee to guide our expanding transit service

-       Further discussion of the Museum’s proposal for an exhibit at our waterfront

-       An update on the King Street “Big Dig”. This project keeps moving because of funding considerations. Time to nail it down

-       Direction on installing sidewalks for the Tiffin Phase 6 development

-       A request by Shelter Now for financial relief for their affordable housing project

-       A request by the MPUC on what Council (the shareholder) wants from a sale or merger of MPUC

Tuesday April 12th starts at the County with the semi-monthly Council meeting. At 3:00 pm Georgian College, Barrie hosts its Innovation Day – a chance for the students to show us how they are going to revolutionize the business world. That evening I will be meeting with a group of men to plan the first “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event in Midland. This initiative is a result of a request from Kathy Willis for our community, especially its men, to step up to the challenge of ending violence against women. Look for further updates in the weeks ahead.

At 7:00 pm you are invited to a very special book launch at MCC. Midland’s own Lawrence Fox will be releasing his first book Cold War Warrior. This gentleman is a true war hero with a story that puts James Bond to shame. Your chance to meet a true Canadian hero.

Wednesday the 13th is International Pink Shirt Day, to promote anti-bullying. Communities across Simcoe County are being called upon to Paint the Town Pink. Please don a bit of pink to show your support. Also we wish Jack Webster a happy 100th birthday. A big celebration at the Villa at 2:00 pm

At 6:00 pm at the Town Hall is the first public meeting on the OPP costing. The meeting starts with a presentation by the OPP on what is anticipated through the process. Then the discussion turns to how the Town will organize its resources to respond to the costing information, expected to be received this summer.

On Thursday the 14th at 7:30 pm at the MCC, It’s a Day in the Life. Fred will be interviewing Gertie Beaucage, a First Nations cultural knowledge consultant. The conversation will explore the aboriginal perspective on First Nations relations with Canada.

Friday April 15th will start with the Affordable Housing Committee meeting at County. The Committee will be preparing their report card to the province showing how it is meeting its first target of 895 new affordable housing units by 2018.

At 2:00 pm until 9:00 pm it’s the annual Midland Home Show at the NSSRC. Your chance to make a dent in that “to do” list you have been building all winter.  At 3:00 pm I take part in a photo op for the provincial Seniors Summer Games coming to Midland this August 9-11.

You are invited to Sound of the Trumpet, a celebration of baroque trumpet music, presented by Brookside. The evening will feature trumpeter Justin Bland and Soprano Dawn Bailey. The event is at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s. Tickets available at the MCC.



-       9:00 am until 4:00 pm it’s the Midland Home Show at the NSSRC

-       7:00 pm - Sistema Huronia Music Academy hosts its Variety Show at the Alliance church on Yonge Street. You will hear how young folk in our community have personally grown through their experience with music. No ticket but a free will offering.

Council Issues Update


Our MPUC is part way though their search for a sale/merger partner. Not surprisingly they have recently written to Council to clarify Council’s objectives, as the sole shareholder, as to what the business arrangement should look like. All parties appreciate that lot of time can be wasted if we are not clear on where we are headed.

Your Council will need to be more directive on how we best ensure that Midlanders will have a fairly priced quality electrical service for decades to come.


The first public meeting on the OPP costing process occurs this week. The OPP will likely advise us that the costing will go fairly quickly, with their response by this summer. The Town will then have six months to decide whether to accept or not.

The Town has its own work to do. It will have to assess what the MPS currently costs. It will have to gather service level and quality information. And if the pricing differential is significant, Council will have to act quickly to answer the question “Do we move to an OPP service or stay with the MPS?”


With help from The Home Depot Canada Foundation demolition has been completed on the upper floor at 522 Elizabeth, home of the Guesthouse Shelter.  Construction is set to begin on June 11th. The Guesthouse needs your help to complete this much needed project.  Donations can be made in person or by mail at The Guesthouse, 522 Elizabeth St. Midland, L4R 2A1, or online at

The Guesthouse Shelter provides emergency shelter, meals and resources to adults, youth and families experiencing homelessness in North Simcoe. When completed the 3,500 square foot fully accessible facility will include spaces for 14 individuals to stay overnight and a dining room that can accommodate up to 40 for meals.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday April 3, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

When it comes to April Fool’s jokes, it’s hard to beat a dumping of snow and below zero temperatures.  Ah Spring.

Monday April 4th at 9:00 am Askennonia is holding its annual 55 Alive! Driver Refresher Course with Paul Hamelin. It’s a full day course costing $30 including lunch.  All are welcome; pre-registration is required (705) 526-7609. Then at 10:00 am the Town will raise the world Autism Day flag at Town Hall.

Tuesday the 5th has a definite food theme. Peaceworks is having a fund raiser for Doctors Without Borders. Join them for lunch at Explorers restaurant at noon. Tickets are $20.00. Then for dinner it’s the first annual Mayors Mac and Cheese dinner to raise funds for “We are the Villagers”. There are three sittings – 4:30 5:45 and 7:00 pm – where you will be served by the mayors and entertained by the children.  Please join us at the Library restaurant.

Wednesday’s theme is meetings. In the morning the mayors meet to further their discussions on the GBGH funding situation. (More on that below). At 1:00 pm at Town Hall the fibre optics committee meets to discuss its recent request for quotation and how best to organize to bring fibre to our area. At 6:00 pm I expect there to be a special closed meeting of Council to discuss a personnel item, (This meeting has not yet been posted).  And at 7:00 pm is the Planning and Development Committee. The first part of the meeting will be a public meeting (you may speak) on three topics:

-       Zoning application for 711 Aberdeen (the second condo-tower)

-       Official Plan Amendment for the Midland Bay Landing development

-       The proposed Second Suites by-laws

Then we get into the regular planning meeting with:

-       Discussion of the items covered in the public meeting

-       Site plan application for our new high school – Georgian Bay District High School

-       Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP)

On Thursday the 7th, area physicians will be holding a “town hall” to discuss cutbacks at GBGH. The meeting takes place at 6:30 pm at Brian Orser arena in Penetanguishene.  At 8:00 pm you are invited to the MCC to listen to the swinging blues interpretations of Guy Davis the “Ambassador of the Blues”.

Our Deputy Mayor, Mike Ross, is doing his best to bring the video feed of the Blue Jays home opener to our new downtown public square (aka 509 Bay). He is still working on the licensing permissions – stay tuned.



-       9:00 pm Georgian College holds an Open House.  Everyone is welcome to come out and see our local college

-       10:00 am to 3:00 pm Kingdom Hall holds an Open House celebrating their new church renovations at 845 Yonge Street.  All are welcome

-       11:00 am Better Life Chiropratic opens its new business at 226 King (at Bay)


Council Issues Update


Our hospital, staff and doctors continue to work on implementing many of the recommendations from the recent GBGH operational review.  Any service level changes remain on hold.

In parallel, the mayors are pursuing a change to our hospital funding formula. This change is essential if we are to get our hospital out of its chronically underfunded situation. Talks have begun with the mayors of five municipalities in North Simcoe – Muskoka. The Ontario Hospital Association is also proving assistance. All these efforts are directed to convincing the Ministry that a different approach to funding is needed to ensure appropriate hospital services remain in small town Ontario.

Gord McKay

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