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.
The Year for Getting It Done - 2017