Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday November 27, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Christmas is in the air. This past week saw our Town Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, the Civitan Santa Claus parade and the twinkle of First Light at Ste. Marie.

It’s also the time of year when our thoughts turn to those who are not as fortunate. From December 5th to 9th a group of our civic leaders will challenge themselves to live on the contents of a typical food bank food hamper. Having taken the challenge two years ago, I can say that after 5 days of eating pasta, peanut butter, canned vegetables and little else, you understand that food banks are not the real answer. Look for future reports on how our participants are doing.

The Week Ahead

Monday the 28th features a closed meeting of Council at 5:30 pm to discuss three items: a labour matter, review of the MPUC sale process and consideration of committee appointments. At 7:00 pm Council meets to consider:

-       Certificate of Commendation for two citizens who helped save the life of one of our residents

-       Notice of Motion concerning a new park in Sunnyside

-       Three deputations:

-       Stefan Walma on by-laws to encourage Second Suites

-       Chris McLaughlin, Director NSCFDC, on why Midland should participate in a broadband communications gap analysis

-       R. Stacey on the need for security services

Tuesday the 29th sees me involved in an all-day emergency planning exercise. The Emergency Response Team will be given a realistic situation and then go through the steps of coordinating a response, just as they would in a real emergency. Practice makes perfect.

From 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm the Severn Sound Sustainability project invites you to a discussion on sustainability for our communities.  The event is at the NSSRC and it is free. At 4:00 pm Waypoint hosts a reception for its supporters to learn more about the services they provide both at the hospital and within the community at large.

Lots to choose from on Wednesday the 30th. At 6:00 pm the Town hosts a Snowmobiling Open House in the Midland Library Community Room. This is your opportunity to comment on the future of snowmobiling within the Town boundaries. The 724 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets salutes the departure of Petty Officer Second Class Edward Roberts with a farewell dinner. The dinner is at the NSSRC at 7:00 pm. At 7:30 pm at the MCC, Dr. Keith Rose invites you to a discussion on “Our Health - Huff and Puff Your Way to Wellness”. Your chance to pick up some tips and insights on healthy living. No charge to attend.

Thursday December 1st.  I have a meeting with our Physician Recruitment team to plan how we will continue to attract doctors to our area. The good news is that doctors have started to discover North Simcoe and regard this as a good place to set up practice. Still lots of work to be done.

First Light at Ste. Maries continues into its second week this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There is event parking in Town lots and a free shuttle service from the Midland Library and the 509 Bay St parking lot from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, every 30 minutes. At 7:00 pm that evening, our Library is host to the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre’s launch of their new cookbook, “Rez Recipies” – a compendium of traditional and modern First Nation’s fare. The event features food samples and drumming. All proceeds will go to the Friendship Centre’s youth programs.

On Friday at 9:00 am Midland meets with Penetanguishene to discuss a coordinated taxi service that will better serve residents in both communities. Then at 2:00 pm the four mayors get together for a photo, celebrating our collective response to the Guesthouse Shelter’s request for $100,000 to fund the building of their new shelter.

Week - End

Saturday December 3

·         A “Day in the Life” sits down with Santa Claus at the MCC at 10:30 am. All children and the young at heart are invited to this free event

·         Midland Library hosts Pancakes & Pajamas with Santa at 10:30am. A free program for children but please pre-register with Crystal at 705-526-4216  ext. 3301

·         Penetanguishene Christmas Parade and Festival of Lights kicks off at 4:00 pm with the tree lighting at 5:30 pm

Sunday December 4

·         Midland Fire Captain Jim Ironside celebrates retirement at Lot 102 at 1:00 pm

·         Christmas Chopsticks with the Children’s Community Choir led by Juli Bridgeman at St Pauls at 7:00 pm

·         Christmas at the Wye Marsh and wreath making. Pre-register at

Council Issues Update


Council will meet this Monday to finalize its Request for Proposal for the sale of the MPUC. The RFP is a fairly legalistic document that specifies what the potential purchaser must provide for the Town to consider them at all. Council and the MPUC Board are looking to continue the good services that residents have received from the MPUC and also bring in the resources that will permit us to respond to the rapidly changing electricity generation and distribution sector. The RFP asks the question. But if we are not fully satisfied with the response there will be no sale.


John Kurvink, CFO of GBGH, will be stepping in as interim CEO until the Board’s search committee completes its work. The CEO replacement process could take 4-6 months.


I was down to see my doctor on Friday and she says that my cancer is in complete remission. It’s been quite a journey. My sincere thanks to each and every one of you who dropped by to wish me well, sent me a “thinking of you card” or prayed for my recovery. You make Midland a very special place.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday November 20, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Christmas is about to take centre stage.  As you will see below there are a whole host of Christmas activities this week. And if you can believe the weather forecast, Old Man Winter arrives as well.

The Week Ahead

Monday the 21st sees the start of YMCA Peace Week.  The Y will be running a number of activities you can participate in including:

1)     A launch event at the YMCA location in Little Lake Park at 11:30 am. It will introduce the “Be Kind Bells” program symbolized by a string of beads with a bell and a note attached, encouraging you to perform an act of kindness. These bells will be hidden in locations throughout our community

2)     Daily events at the YMCA location in Little Lake Park and at their Elizabeth Street office, such as free Yoga for Peace

3)     On Thursday November 24th YMCA staff hit the streets to spread random acts of kindness.        

At 1:00 pm please join me at Le Caron High School in Penetanguishene for the launch of the annual Red Ribbon Campaign sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. At 5:00 pm the Community Healthcare Steering Committee will be meeting in Rm 1 at GBGH – possibly for a final time. The CHSC is the group that brings you the quarterly public meetings with our LHIN and GBGH, allowing you to put your questions to those responsible for our healthcare services. If you feel public involvement is essential to the debate, you may wish to attend.

Tuesday the 22nd starts with County Council at 9:00 am.  The main item on the agenda for Midland is the likely approval by Council of our Midland Bay Landing official plan amendment, allowing for mixed-use development of our waterfront. At noon you will want to be at Askennonia in the NSSRC as they host their annual Honour our Veterans lunch. Then at 3:00 pm the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meets at Town Hall to advance a couple of affordable housing projects:

-       A “Housing First” pilot that could lead to more private sector investment in affordable housing

-       An update on the affordable housing style known as “Tiny Homes”

7:00 pm that evening sees a major area event – the Cultural Awards Gala at the MCC. The evening will feature a number of video presentations about culture and Midland, followed by the announcement of our four cultural award winners. For more information visit or call Nicole at 526-4275 ext. 3206. 

Wednesday is National Affordable Housing day. This topic is explored with a half day information event at the Simcoe County Museum staring at 9:00 am. At 10:00 am the Georgian Bay Native Friendship Center - Indigenous Children Wellness Program is hosting a workshop about violence towards our indigenous citizens. The agenda features four speakers including Curtis Copegog, (Indigenous Outreach) and Kathy Willis (Rosewood). Lunch will be provided so please register with Katie at 526-5589 ext. 261 or at The Centre is at 175 Yonge Street. Please come out and meet the members of our local First Nations community.

The County Archives celebrates its 50th anniversary at its building in Midlhurst at 1:30 pm.  If you have never been to the County Archives, this is a great opportunity for you to see the historical treasures that mark the founding and development of our County. And at 5:00 pm step into Christmas with our Christmas tree lighting at Neezhoday Park. Festivities start at 5:00 pm - a visit by Santa Claus and carol singing with the Bell Choir. The actual lighting will be at 7:00 pm.

On Thursday 24th at 9:00 am at the NSSRC you are invited to the third presentation in the NSCFDC Speakers Series. Sarah Durant will guide you through the challenging topic of Mental Health in the Workplace. Register online at

Thursday also sees the start of our famous First Light exhibit at Ste. Marie.  This year the program has expanded to include Martyrs’ Shrine. First Light will take place on November 24, 25 and 26 and December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10. Event organizers are expecting a large turnout this year so have added overflow parking space in downtown Midland. There will be a shuttle from the Midland library and the 509 Bay St parking lot, running from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm every 30 minutes - and it is free.

And it that wasn’t enough, “A Day in the Life” is bringing Lord Conrad Black to Midland. One of Canada’s most fascinating personalities, Lord Black was born into wealth and ascended to the title of "Lord Black of Crossharbor” with the British House of Lords. He renounced his Canadian citizenship to accept the peerage although he now lives in Canada. That’s at the MCC at 7:30 pm.

Friday the 25th (one month to Christmas) our Police are holding their annual Cram a Cruiser at the Canadian Tire on Hwy. 93 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.  Please help them out with the donation of a toy or food. Your gift will go to the Salvation Army. Town staff also gets into the spirit with their annual Christmas party at the NSSRC.

Week - End

Saturday November 26

·         The Midland Civitan Club’s 39th Annual Midland Santa Claus Parade takes to the streets at 11am. It will run from Little Lake Park down to the bottom of King Street.  Please bring a food donation as the Midland Police will be collecting for the Salvation Army.

·         Serenata Choir will “Sing Christmas” at 7:30 pm at St. Pauls.

Sunday November 27

·         From 10:00 am to 4:30 pm the Big Brothers and Sisters is hosting a “Curl for Kids Sake” bonspiel at the Midland Curling Club. You can enter a team or come along and watch the fun.

·         At 8:00 pm Pavlo returns to the MCC. Pavlo brings amazing guitar skills as he explores the sounds of folk music set to Greek and Latin themes.

Council Issues Update


The OPP have again pushed off their presentation of a police service costing. It will likely now be in January.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday November 13, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

Just over two months ago Council hired our new CAO, John Skorobohacz. Once John was settled in, one of the first tasks given him by Council was to come back with a report on how he would organize staff and municipal resources to deliver on Council’s strategic objectives. John has responded amazingly well to this challenge and has just released his draft report “Midland Forward” to Council and the public. You may view it at

This Report represents a critical step in bringing Council and staff together to deliver on some very big municipal challenges. The Report will be tabled on Monday (see below) and is likely to be revised based upon feedback from Council and staff. Once approved it will be turned into a set of business plans with implementation expected to start early in the New Year. If you have any comments on this draft document you may send them to or to me at

The Week Ahead

Monday November 14th. There will be a closed meeting at 5:30 pm to discuss three items: a potential land sale; an update on Midland Bay Landing; and recommendations for the Town’s Award of Merit. General Committee starts at 7:00 pm. The agenda includes:

-       Council review of the Midland Forward report prepared by CAO Skorobohacz

-       Direction on how to handle downtown parking during the Christmas season

-       An update on the recent provincial changes for municipal elections and a decision on whether we want to consider a voting method other than “first-past-the-post”.

On Wednesday the 16th, the local realtor community will be meeting with our planning staff to discuss developments in the real estate market and their potential impact upon Town plans. At 10:00 am Midland’s Aboriginal Relations Committee meets in the Harbourview Room of Town Hall. This is a newly formed committee established to improve our relationship with the First Nations and Metis groups and to develop a plan to effectively include them in the Town’s municipal affairs. And if you are over at the Library at 1:00 pm you will witness the launch of the Red Scarf program – providing clothing to keep the less fortunate warm as we get into the colder months.

An interesting start to Thursday the 17th.  At 10:30 am you are invited to join the Georgian Shores Swinging Seniors who will be hearing from Midland’s own Larry Fox.  Larry has a fascinating life story, leading a “James Bond” type of life during the Cold War.  The presentation is at 300 Balm Beach Road, Balm Beach.

At 5:00 pm the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation celebrates its 30th anniversary at Café St Marie. This remarkable organization has helped hundreds of individuals and companies in our area build successful businesses. One of their specialties is public educational events – so sign up for their November 24th event on Mental Health in the Workplace, led by Sarah Durant. Please register online at  No cost to attend.

Then at 6:00 pm Chigamik (our Community Health Centre) will be screening the documentary “Milk”.  This film tells the story of a man who sets out to find the facts about milk and instead discovers the growing controversy surrounding it. He is left with more questions than answers amidst the contradictory positions of doctors, scientists and experts about a drink we all trust.  There is no charge to attend this event at the MCC.

Friday features a very special event for one of our local companies. Kee Bee Play is a manufacturer of play equipment. You may have seen their products in the play areas of McDonalds restaurants. While we typically associate play with children, Kee Bee Play has developed new products that will help seniors with dementia. They are working on this project with the University of Toronto and three of our local Long Term Care facilities. On Friday morning they will host a reception at their plant to reveal their plans and show off two of the new products. This is a significant step for Kee Bee Play, a local manufacturer that most of us probably never knew existed.

If girls just want to have fun, Friday is their opportunity with the start of the Girls Holiday Event. This downtown Midland event features entertainment, food and a chance to shop. For more details see;

Week - End

Saturday November 19

·         9:00 am to 2:00 pm – Candy Cane Bazaar sponsored by our Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary at the Legion building.

·         10:00 am to 4:00 pm - Craft and artwork sale at Huronia museum

·         8:00 pm - Gavin Crawford’s “Friends Like Me” comedy show comes to the MCC

Council Issues Update


Karen McGrath has just announced that she is stepping down as President and CEO effective January 13, 2017. Karen has led GBGH for three years and will move on to a prestigious position as President and Chief Executive Officer at Horizon Health Network in New Brunswick.

This is a challenging time for GBGH as they have just made a number of difficult choices affecting their services and their budget. Hopefully the GBGH Board will soon acquire a replacement of Karen’s stature to take on these challenges.


I am pleased to report that the Town of Penetanguishene and the Township of Tay have joined Midland in each offering a $25,000 loan to the Guesthouse Shelter for their redevelopment project. The Township of Tiny will consider the matter later in the month.

Gord McKay

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


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday November 6, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen

A big thank you to all those who responded to the Guesthouse Shelter appeal as they work to get into their new location before the snow flies. Over the last 3 weeks they have received over $40,000 towards their $150,000 reconstruction project.

The four North Simcoe municipalities are also getting behind the project.  This past week the Town of Midland voted to advance a $25,000 construction loan to the Guesthouse. Our three neighbouring municipal Councils will be considering their own $25,000 loans later this month. We are well on our way to having a safe place for our homeless this winter. Thank you to all.

The Week Ahead

The first municipal meeting of the week is Tuesday November 8th at 9:00 am at the County. The major agenda item is the review of the County budget.  The current County tax rate increase is at 2%. Please note that this levy increase will likely be lower when applied to Midland due to the greater assessment growth for municipalities in South Simcoe.

On Wednesday the 9th I am in Oro Medonte at 9:00 am for a presentation on their affordable housing plan. The presentation is being delivered by the County and lays out local objectives and targets that will “roll up” to meet the County’s overall housing objectives. The County’s visit to Midland has yet to be scheduled – will let you know when that happens.

Thursday the 10th will see a meeting of the Town’s MPUC Transaction Committee as they prepare the technical RFP documents for the sale of the MPUC. Then at 6:30 pm the Severn Sound Environmental Association hosts its Partners Reception at the Café Ste. Marie.

Friday is Remembrance Day. You are invited to join your fellow citizens as we pay respect to those who have fallen defending our country. You will want to be at the Cenotaph by the NSSRC at 10:30 am. At 6:00 pm that evening the Legion will hold a Remembrance Day supper at the Legion Hall. Friday also launches the Huronia Players fall season with Crimes of the Heart.  That is at the MCC at 8:00 pm.

Week - End

Saturday November 12

·         The Victorian Christmas Gift and Craft Show takes place at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Show is sponsored by the OSPCA and our local animal shelter.

Sunday November 13

·         Silver Goose – Ontario Provincial Cyclocross Championship Race takes place at Little Lake Park from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. This is quickly becoming one of the premier cross country cycling races, right here in Midland.

Council Issues Update


The MPUC Transaction Committee has now been formed and is starting its work to prepare the Request For Proposal documents to see who may be interested in acquiring our MPUC.  The Committee is also preparing a communications plan to ensure the public is properly informed about developments.

Downtown Health Centre

The North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN has now given its support to the construction of the Downtown Health Centre project. They have also clarified the roles of the two major tenants – Chigamik and Waypoint. The last hurdle in moving this forward will be the final approval by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Capital Branch.


The GBGH Board has rejected most of the service cut-back options recommended in the Geyer report. While this augurs well for maintaining our needed services in the short term, it will create a significant challenge with the hospital’s budget. The four North Simcoe mayors have become increasingly engaged with the Ministry to obtain proper funding for medium-sized hospitals. Our goal is to ensure that GBGH remains a sustainable community hospital that meets the needs of our residents.


Simcoe County will be picking up that special bag for used batteries this week. Please put the used battery bag beside your blue bin for pick-up.

Gord McKay

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