Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday April 23, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

The lead story - the decision by Council to sell our MPUC to Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution.

Some four years ago Council and the MPUC Board became concerned about the increasing regulatory and structural changes in the power distribution sector. MPUC being a very small distribution company was facing increasing risk due to the inherent limitations in its ability to respond.  Those concerns led to a number of internal and public meetings about what our options were and what we could do about it.

Last year Council retained the legal firm BLG to see if there was a sale arrangement that would put the ratepayers and taxpayers (shareholders of the MPUC) of Midland in a better long-term service position. In addition to preserving the financial asset represented by the MPUC the arrangement had to guarantee:

-       Equal or better service distribution rates (Currently the distribution portion is about 25% of your hydro bill)

-       Equal or better customer service levels

-       Protection of all employees and local presence

After a thorough process, BLG recommended that Newmarket-Tay was clearly the best fit for our needs.  Council agreed.  Not only did the sale arrangement meet all of our requirements but provided familiarity with the firm through the many ties we already have with the Township of Tay. In short, this is a great arrangement for Midland and its ratepayers.

At this point there are a number of legal and technical matters to be cleaned up. With that done the sale will then go to the Ontario Energy Board who will review it in its entirety and determine whether the new arrangement is in the best interests of Midland ratepayers. Assuming they agree with your Council, the sale should be fully completed in the fall. In the meantime there will be a number of public meetings to inform you about the sale, get your questions answered and allow you to meet our new power distributer, Newmarket-Tay. Please also see the attached Media Release.


Carrying on with the theme of change, we have two new faces joining the Town’s Senior Leadership Team. After a lengthy recruitment process, Amanpreet Sidhu has been selected as Director of Corporate Services/Solicitor, and Andrew (Andy) Campbell joins the Town as Director of Engineering & Water Wastewater Services.  You will have an opportunity to meet these two gentlemen in the near future.

The Week Ahead

Monday the 24th sees two Council meetings. At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting to discuss three items:

-       An update on the Midland Bay Landing contract situation

-       An update on a property assessment situation

-       Committee appointments

At 7:00 pm it is the April Council meeting, including:

-       Three deputations

o    Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe update

o    Heart of Georgian Bay Tourism update

o    Farm Fresh Food Fest update

-       Recommendation for the closure of King Street on July 22nd for street basketball

-       Likely approval of putting Yonge Street on a “road diet” – you will notice roadway changes on Yonge Street this summer

-       A lot of information about our Midland Forward initiative:

o    Recommended Mission, Vision and Values statements

o    Launch of the Service Delivery Review

o    Action items to meet Council/staff priorities

-       Discussion of a lease agreement with the Boathouse Eatery

-       Passage of the 2017 budget. Lots of interesting information in the budget document, including:

o    2017 municipal portion tax rate increase of 3.1%

o    Total Town Full Time Equivalents ( number of staff) have decreased from 188 to 163 over the last 5 years

Tuesday April 25 starts at 9:00 am at County Council.  Later that day, at 3:15 pm, a publically spirted group of citizens from Tiffin will gather at Tiffin Pond to plant some trees. You may want to come out and help with the greening of Midland.  We also need your help with the redesign of the King Street. The Town will be holding a public input session at the Library from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Then at 7:30 pm at the MCC, you may wish to join Fred Hacker for a Day in the Life with Maude Barlow.  Maude is an acknowledged international leader in social, environmental, economic and trade justice. Her latest book is Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada's Water Crisis. She was active in the Stop Site 41 movement.

Onto Friday the 28th and two special events for you:

-       Feast for Learning at 5:30 pm at the Royal Canadian Legion in Midland. Your hosts are Bruce and Heather Stanton, who will be serving up a great roast beef dinner in aid of the Gateway Centre for Learning

-       The Guesthouse inaugural fundraiser is at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC including wine and cheese, a silent auction and dancing to Homemade Jam.  Tickets are on sale at Ladybug, the Dock Lunch and Guesthouse Shelter.  You may also want to have a chat with Robert Sykes who has just announced his retirement as CEO of the Guesthouse. Robert has provided remarkable leadership for the Guesthouse over the last decade – and fair to say is largely responsible for its transition to its new facility and expanded service to our community.

Week - End

Saturday April 29

-       Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival, an all-day event including the ever popular log sawing contest

-       Quest Art’s evening “Kaleidoscope of the Arts in the Garden” features a champagne reception, a sit-down dinner catered by Ciboulette et Cie, a live auction and musical entertainment provided by Marlon Gibbons and Louis Lefaive. Tickets may be purchased at Scotiabank in Penetanguishene, Quest Art and online.

Sunday April 30

-       8:30 am its Run for the Chicken  (aka the YMCA Huronia Half Marathon) at David Onley Park at Midland’s waterfront

The Week After That

On Tuesday May 2nd at 7:30 pm at the MCC is the 6th event in the "Our Health" series, "Matters of Memory". The evening explores memory loss and dementia, from personal experiences to preventative tools and coping mechanisms.  Three panelists with very different backgrounds will tackle this complex topic – a dementia researcher and international speaker (Arlene Astell), a physician who specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics (Kevin Young) and a longtime Midland resident, retired broadcaster and family supporter (John McCullough). Each will share their knowledge and experiences with memory loss and dementia.

On Wednesday the 3rd you are invited to attend the Town’s Planning and Development Committee at 7:00 pm. Please see agenda on the Town website when it has been finalized.

Thursday the 4th it’s A Day in the Life at MCC at 7:30 pm.  Terry O'Reilly (the Ad Man) is an award winning copy writer for many of the top brands in the country. He cofounded a creative audio production company producing radio and TV commercials. He now hosts the CBC radio program Under the Influence focusing on marketing and advertising.

On Friday May 5th it is all entertainment.  Huronia Players launches its spring program with Death by Design at the MCC at 8:00 pm.  And if gospel music is your forte, you will want to attend Swing Low also at the MCC at 8:00 pm.

Week - End

Saturday May 6

-       8:00 am the 4th Midland Scouting Group hosts its annual soapbox derby on Hugel Avenue from 6th Street to 3rd Street

-       10:30 am starts the new season at Martyrs’ Shrine. The unveiling of new St. Ignatius Chapel is at 10:30 am with mass at noon

-       7:30 pm all Johnny Cash fans will want to attend We Walk the Line, a Johnny Cash Tribute, at the MCC at 7:30 pm

Sunday May 7

-       9:15 am to an11:45 am finish, it’s the Mandarin Walk for MS at NSSRC. A morning of fundraising, food, entertainment and prizes

Council Issues Update


The OPP Costing Committee continues to meet. You can expect a report with recommendations on policing by early June.


The current contract will be discussed at the Council meeting on April 24th.  Then likely a period of review before Council decides where the project goes from here.


The sale decision has been made. There will be about a month of completing the legal schedules with the Share Purchase Agreement.  Then it goes to the OEB for their review.  Look for a number of public meetings to be arranged and the topic of what happens with the sale proceeds to be discussed.


You are probably wondering why this edition includes two weeks’ worth of Town activities. The simple answer is that I will be travelling to Holland this week as part of the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour and will not be here for next week’s edition.

During World War II, Frank and his fellow Canadian soldiers liberated much of Holland, including the small town of Markelo.  Over the years a tremendous friendship has grown up between the townsfolk of Markelo and those of Midland and Chatham. Many visits, back and forth across the Atlantic, have occurred over the decades keeping the flame of friendship alive.

This is likely to be the last of the major visits since for the first time, Frank Graham is not up to the journey. I am pleased to be a part of the tradition that will continue to strengthen our friendship and play a small role in helping the world recover from the tragedy of war.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday April 16, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Easter Bunny has done his/her thing.  The Spring Home Show comes to Town this weekend. Time to get at all of the chores that were put off during those snowy days of February.  And if that is not enough to keep you busy, we have a number of important Town meetings upcoming.

The Week Ahead

On Monday the Town offices are closed for Easter break.

On Tuesday the 18th the Midland Bay Landing Steering Committee meets at 3:00 pm at Town Hall. The meeting will be largely closed to the public to discuss contract issues with our partner. At 7:00 pm you are invited to the Battle of the Books at the Library. Watch our local school teams defend their favorite literary selections and show why they deserve to win the battle of the books.

Wednesday April 19th at 10:30 am sees a meeting of the MPUC Transaction Team at Town Hall.  The meeting will be largely closed to the public,

Moving onto Thursday, Council holds a special closed meeting at 6:30 pm to receive an update from its MPUC Transaction Team about recommendations regarding the sale of our MPUC.

Friday the 21st starts at County with an Affordable Housing Advisory Committee meeting. Topics will include progress on our local housing targets, as well as considering adding an additional $4 million for rural affordable housing initiatives. At 2:00 pm the Midland Spring Home Show opens at the NSSRC.  All sorts of ideas for your home renovations this spring.  The Show runs until 9:00 pm.

At 8:00 pm you are invited to the MCC for a musical performance that will take you back to the swinging 50s and 60s. Bandstand Revisited will be playing all your favorite tunes.

Week - End

Saturday April 22

-       At noon you are all invited to Port McNicoll’s waterfront to participate in the world record breaking “Keewatin Pull”.  Captain Eric has to move his boat and he needs a number of strong backs to grab ropes and pull the Kee to its new location. Funds are also being raised for Radio for Radiology.

-       2:00 pm - Sistema Huronia Music Academy Fundraiser at Midland Alliance Church, 829 Yonge Street. Entertainment will be provided by these impressive young students. Free will offering.

-       2:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Midland Spring Home Show at NSSRC

Council Issues Update

Midland Bay Landing

The MBL Steering Committee will meet this week to consider where our project goes from here. I expect more information to be available on contract status and go-forward actions later this month.


Two meetings will be held this week as Council refines the responses it has received to its Request For Proposal. Things are going quickly and signs remain good for Midland and its ratepayers.


The County has decided it needs to better enforce the garbage bag limits in certain parts of the County. It seems that even with one free bag and allowing up to an additional 7 garbage bags with tags that some households/small businesses are exceeding this limit, some quite significantly. Progressive, the company that collects the waste, will select a number of routes daily for additional enforcement of the bag limit.  Residents and businesses with excessive garbage will have only the permitted amount collected and extra bags will be stickered and left behind.  If you have any questions, please call the County’s Customer Service Centre at 705-726-9832 or

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday April 9, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

A fine albeit rainy week in store as we head into the Easter break.  Time to get that lawn and garden whipped into shape for what promises to be a great summer.

The Week Ahead

Monday the 10th at 10:00 am our Midland Lions come to Town Hall to raise their flag in honour of the Midland Lions 80th anniversary. At 7:00 pm it’s the General Committee meeting including:

-       A presentation for putting Yonge Street from First to Eighth on a “road diet” - that is narrowing the road to reduce speed and improve pedestrian safety

-       Minor changes to the composition of our OPP Costing Committee

-       Review of alternate voting methods that we may use for the 2018 election

-       A proposal by Barnstormer Brewery and the Boathouse Restaurant for an Oktoberfest event at our waterfront

On Tuesday at 9:00 am, County Council will discuss a number of interesting issues including reducing garbage Double-Up Days; limiting the number of tagged bags that you can put out; and deciding on our Midland OPA #9 respecting Second Units.

Starting Wednesday the 12th and every Wednesday at 4pm thereafter, our Library is holding a Children’s Gardening Club in the Library’s rooftop garden. (How many of you knew there was a garden on top of our Library?) Get ready to make friends, give back, and get messy! Children younger and older are paired with a buddy as we explore new topics from soil and seeds to vegetables and pollination every week.

Friday the 14th is Good Friday – Town offices will be closed.  At 8:00 pm the Steve Strongman band will be playing the MCC.

Week - End

Saturday April 15

-       1:00 pm – Take part in the Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt at the Huronia Museum

Sunday April 16

-       Easter

Council Issues Update


The MPUC Transaction Committee is continuing its discussions with our consultant about the response to the RFP process. See attached media release.


On March 31st GBGH issued the purchase order for its new CT scanner. The GBGH Board and Foundation want to extend their thanks to everyone for their solid support which now allows GBGH to move forward with this much anticipated and needed replacement.  Midland bats way above the average when it comes to supporting Georgian Bay General Hospital.


Town is closed on the Monday.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday April 2, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Bay may still be frozen but there are lots of plans for fun on the water this summer. The Pearl Mist cruise ship has just confirmed its schedule for Midland with 9 visits this summer, running from June 4th until September 1st. The Victory will publish its schedule shortly giving us 15 + visits in total.

And Captain Eric of Keewatin fame has planned something special. He has to move his 350 foot long, 43 foot wide, eight million pound (3,800 tons) vessel back to its original moorings – and he wants you to help. He is asking the community to grab a rope this April 22nd and pull the Keewatin back to the dock. If we succeed in doing this I understand we will have set a new world record for the heaviest object ever moved by human power. More details to come.

The Week Ahead

Monday the 3rd is time to tuck into a great dinner in support of We Are the Villagers.  The Mayors Mac & Cheese extravaganza is at Lot 102. There are three sittings 4:30 pm 5:45 pm and 7:00 pm.  Try to get a ticket in advance, but if not just gather the family and come over and we will fit you in.

On Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the MCC is the fifth event in the “Our Health” series. “Happy Mouth, Happy Body" will feature four local experts to help us better understand the importance of oral and dental care– Dentist John Augimeri, Hygienist Kelly O’Hara, Denturist Rick Iaboni and Orthodontist Sean Corsini. Tickets are available online or by calling the MCC at (705) 527-4420. Register early to avoid disappointment. 

Wednesday April 5th sees the second meeting of the County Healthcare Coordination Pilot. This initiative will improve public awareness of the changes coming to our local healthcare services as well as provide a way for citizens to help direct these changes.  The meeting is at 9:30 am at the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN office in Orillia. At 7:00 pm it’s the Planning and Development Committee meeting at Town Hall. A long agenda including:

-       Discussion of the Second Units by-law

-       Expansion of the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Balm Beach Road

-       Tree planting at the Devonleigh Homes development

-       Launch of the downtown parking study

On Thursday the North Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness hosts their regular meeting at Shelter Now at 1:30 pm. The day is also the start of a series of interviews to fill the Town’s Legal Counsel/Clerk and Engineer positions. At 5:00 pm Council will hold a closed meeting to receive initial bid responses from organizations interested in acquiring the MPUC.

Friday April the 7th at 7:00 pm is a book reading by Orland French , the author of Letters to Vimy.  The reading features his responses to actual letters written from the battlefields of the Great War by his uncle. The reading is at the Huronia Museum.  At 8:00 pm at the MCC, A Passion for Fashion presents the 19th annual Spring Fashion Show & Fundraiser. The fashions are inspired by the “Music of Motown".  Proceeds from the event go to Huronia Community Foundation, Special Olympics Huronia and CLH Foundation.  

Week - End

Saturday April 8

-       10:30 am it’s the Easter Egg-stravaganza at the Midland Library. Activities,  geared for ages 2-9, include building an Easter glow-bug and see what happens when it lights; finding your balance with wobbly eggs; painting, an egg-engineering challenge; and a chocolate-y visit from Buster Bunny. The event is free, while supplies last.

-       11:00 am to noon - Buster Bunny will be downtown handing out Easter treats

Sunday April 9

-       The 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. A commemoration at Base Borden starts at 7:30 am

-       7:30 pm -  Jacob Moon and the Commissionaires bring soul and gospel music to the MCC.

Council Issues Update


Council has largely wrapped up its 2017 budget deliberations. The municipal portion is set to rise some 3.1%, higher that in the past few years.  There are a number of structural reasons for the increase including investment in new systems especially information technology, one time staffing adjustments and a greater commitment to economic development, specifically a designated share of 0.5% of our taxes. These changes allow the Town to make some long needed adjustments which will allow us to deliver our services more efficiently and in future bring our tax rate increases back into the range of the rate of inflation.

I will go out on a limb and predict that once the County and school levies are factored in our overall tax rate increase for 2017 will be between 2.0 and 2.5%.


We have a dedicated “pickleball crew” in Town (thanks Garry) who wanted me to spread the word on this fast growing sport. The new dedicated outdoor courts at Tiffin Park have received rave reviews. Take a look at: . If you are still wondering what pickleball is all about check out this video on YouTube:

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017