Ladies and Gentlemen
Standing upon the threshold of 2018, a pause to reflect upon the lessons of the year past and anticipate the bright promise of the year to come.
Many of you have commented that things have been changing in Midland over the last few years. More housing is being built, more jobs are being created, bigger summer festivals and many new residents who are now calling Midland home. These changes did not “just happen”. This progress has been as a result of the planning and hard work of many citizens, businesses and yes your Town Council and Staff. Setting Midland’s new course has been challenging, requiring difficult decisions to be made, but it was absolutely necessary for the future success of our community.
2018 is upon us and with it a test of our commitment to continue building our future. That commitment will be shown in many ways – by downtown merchants investing in their shop fronts; by our openness to newcomers and new ideas; by helping our neighbors who need a hand; by community leaders making the hard decisions that benefit all Midland residents.
2018 is an election year both provincially and municipally. On the provincial level you will have a real choice to make in North Simcoe. The first challenge will be to set aside the easy decision, the “I have always voted for ...…” decision, and take the harder path by asking “Which candidate is best able to serve me, my family and my Midland”. Midland needs a provincial representative who will support and provide the resources for our drive to become a thriving urban community.
In October it’s the municipal election – your vote will set the Town’s course for the next four years. If you like how Midland has been developing recently, vote for those candidates who have been actively trying to help the Town and community implement its current vision. Ask tough questions and expect direct meaningful answers. Find out how they will deal with the key issues facing our Town – building our local economy, providing access to healthcare, improving Town services and our protecting our Georgian Bay environment. And if you feel the calling, be the candidate. Public office has its challenges but where else can you take a lead role in shaping the future for the 17,000 people who live in our Town.
The coming year will challenge each and every one of us. You get to decide on the direction you will take and how much you want to be involved. Whatever you decide, you will make 2018 the Year for Forging Our Future.
The Week Ahead
A very quiet first week of 2018. The Town office is closed on Monday January 1st. Canadian Blood Services is holding a blood donation clinic at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
On Tuesday we raise the Crime Stoppers flag at noon. And on Thursday at 9:00 am the Governance Review Committee meets at Town Hall.
Council Issues – Looking Forward to 2018
Service Delivery Review
The Service Delivery Review Report’s 68 recommendations from the staff and public will be turned into a three year implementation plan. The first phase will focus on “back office” improvements primarily in Treasury and Information Technology. Look for regular status reports throughout the year. Also look for new services to be announced from time to time – eg. Buying your Fire Permit online as opposed to coming into the Town hall.
The Town will hear from the Ontario Civilian Policing Commission shortly, likely approving of our transfer to the OPP. Those MPS officers who want to transition to the OPP will start their training in February and then be back on Midland streets wearing an OPP patch later in the month
Midland Bay Landing
The Town will likely finalize its new Municipal Services Corporation by April. It will then start looking in earnest for a new development partner. Hopefully that partner will be in place by fall 2018. Please follow the Town website for developments.
The Ontario Energy Board is still reviewing the sale agreement. No issues have been raised to date. Expect the transaction to close in the spring. We will keep our MPUC name for the foreseeable future, even as our hydro is delivered through Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution.
Downtown Health Clinic
Construction will continue through the winter. Optimistically the clinic will be open by December 2018.
The new ER expansion should be completed by summer of 2018. The new 16,000 square foot mental health wing will start construction, hopefully in 2018.
The 2018 budget process starts publically on Feb 22nd. The budget should wrap up by the end of March.
The Official Plan Review process is on pause as staff continues to review new directives from the province. Two major developments that will require further work are the prescriptive Natural Heritage System designation and the consolidation of more of our municipal planning authority at the County level.
Other Items for 2018
· New Georgian Bay District High School should open for the fall term in 2018
· The owners of the Keewatin are likely to make a proposal to the Town to move the vessel to our shore
· Lots of housing starts are in the works. Look for work to start on the “Seasons on Little Lake” development on Hwy 12
· Lots more commercial development including the new Honda location and Montanas at the Mountainview Mall.
· A report on the road diet trial will be considered along with a recommendation that the Yonge Street pilot be extended to Hwy 93
· Lots more summer festivals in 2018 including Butter Tart; Feast Fest; RibFest; TugFest
· And don’t forget the municipal election in October
In closing two items that show Midland continues to punch above its weight.
John Hauser, a local resident and biking enthusiast, has been singularly successful in building the annual Cyclo-cross event at Little lake Park. He recently made representation to the international cycling authorities and Midland has been selected as the venue for the “Masters Pan-Am Cyclo-cross Championship”. Midland takes to the world stage thanks to John’s passion and hard work. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pan-american-cyclo-cross-championships-awarded-to-canada-in-2018-and-2019/
More cruise ships are coming in 2018 and its time to get serious about making cruising a key part of the port of Midland. The province has just granted the Town $250,000 to conduct a study on its behalf on the developing cruise industry in the Great Lakes. The Town will lead a group of 7 other Great Lakes ports in establishing an industry business case, in particular determining what infrastructure changes are needed to Midland and the other ports. Please see attached Media Release.
The Year for Forging Our Future - 2018