Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday May 21, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

Warmer weather may be proving elusive but things are heating up in Midland. My discussions with a number of folks in the real estate business indicate the home prices are up by about 30% year over year in Midland. The Pillsbury property has now been sold to a manufacturer. The sale will close in July at which time we will have more information about who is moving in and how many jobs are being created. Also this week I met with a manufacturer from the city who is thinking of relocating to our area. Midland is the place to be.

The Week Ahead

Monday 22 – Town Hall closed for Victoria Day.   

On Tuesday the 23rd it is back to work (for some). At 9:00 am County Council will deal with a number of items that affect our area. Good news on the housing front as the waiting list for rent-geared-to-income housing has decreased by 3.5% since last year.  At 6:00 pm is a closed meeting of Council to discuss two items: 1) Appointments to the Community Service Advisory Committee; 2) disposition of land. Then at 7:00 pm is the May Council meeting. A short agenda with some interesting items:

-       Council will start the discussion on how to manage the proceeds of the sale of our MPUC. The principal amount received from the sale is about $22 million

-       Finalization of your 2017 property tax rate. Expect an average tax increase of 1% for residential property owners over 2016

-       Discussion of acquiring a service to help locate grants for the many charities in our community

Wednesday May 24th is Rotary’s Random Acts of Kindness Day – a chance for each of us to show our fellow citizens a little compassion.  Rotary is hosting a free BBQ at the dock at 12 noon, while the Town invites you to drop by Town Hall for a coffee and a chat. At 1:00 pm is day one of the Culture Grows Here conference taking place at MCC. For more details, please see

Starting at 3:00 pm the Mental Wellness Ambassadors at Georgian Bay District Secondary School are hosting a Wellness Fair.  Students from GBDSS, Tay Shores Public School and James Keating Elementary Schools invite you to drop by the event at Little Lake Park and see how today’s schools have embraced the challenge of mental health. Also at 3:00 pm is the MCC AGM, taking place in the Town’s Council chambers. Later at 5:00 pm you are invited to visit the County’s skilled trades expo at the Wyevale Community Centre.

Thursday, a quieter day with the Culture Grows Here conference continuing at the MCC.

On Friday the 26th I attend an all-day County conference to discuss the coordination and sharing of services amongst the County and its municipalities.  Over the last four years Midland has successfully shared resources and services with Penetanguishene, Tiny and Tay.  Seems the County wants to take this even further.  Friday also sees the 93rd Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada. The church conference, hosted by St. Pauls, will bring about 350 visitors to our area.

From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm the Midland Legion is hosting another one of their famous spaghetti dinners.  Then at 8:00 pm Brian Neale, the lead singer of Northern Harbour, returns to Midland’s MCC with his “Livin’ the Life”, concert featuring Jimmy Buffett songs, Brian’s own original compositions, and the hits of Neil Diamond, Elton John, James Taylor and others.

A fun way to “kick off summer”!!  

Week - End

Saturday May 27

-       10:00 am to 12 noon, Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe is hosting an “Every Day is Earth Day- Litter A Thon” to clean up our communities. Youth aged 6-18 are encouraged to participate (parents are encouraged to attend as well). Participants must pre-register through the Big Brothers Big Sisters office (705-526-5051).  Once the 2 hours of collecting litter are complete, participants will return to the BBBS parking lot at 67 Fourth Street for prize awards and a treat

-       11:00 am the Midland Bay Sailing Club launches its 2017 season with a sail past. Look for lots of sails in the harbour

-       8:45 pm Wye Marsh holds its Marsh by moonlight paddle series at Wye Marsh

Sunday May 28

12:30 pm is the Hospice Huronia Walk, starting from the curling club in Penetanguishene

1:00 pm – the Midland Lions guide dog walk starts at the Town dock

2:00 pm - GB Garden Tour hosts a launch evet for its July Garden Tour

8:00 pm - Huronia Hotstrings Gypsy Jazz at MCC featuring our own Jessica Lalonde

Council Issues Update


The 2017 budget and tax rate should be finalized this week with a tax rate increase of 1%. The 2018 budget process will start shortly with the first public meeting likely in the early fall. 


Two general items in closing.

1)     Midland Seniors Council is hosting its annual luncheon on Wednesday June 7th at the NSSRC. Featured speakers this year are retired Justice Bob Main and Bob Reynaud.  They will give you all sorts of advice on how to protect your retirement nest egg.  Get your tickets early at the NSSRC ticket office, the GBGH Gift Shop or at Askennonia

2)     Pickleball is coming to St Theresa’s and Georgian Bay District Secondary Schools. St Ts starts play this month with GBDSS in September.  This up and coming sport serves all age groups. For further information contact Garry Morehouse at

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday May 14, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

Spring may be taking its time getting started but a projected high of 28 degrees C next week has to get you thinking about summer.

Statistics Canada has released the second round of data from the 2016 Census of Population. It provides a more information about the age distribution and housing style of Canadians, including Midlanders . Use this link and enter “Midland”  Census Profile

The Week Ahead

Monday the 15th is a busy day.    At 9:00 am the Friends of Wiidookdaadiwin are hosting a full day of learning at the Simcoe County Museum focused on the relationship and issues affecting First Nations and Simcoe County. Then at 6:00 pm it’s the Guys Who Care meeting at Lot 102. This semi-annual gathering raises thousands of dollars for a selected local charity. All men are welcome to attend. Just show up with a blank cheque for $200 and be prepared to vote on the charity of your choice.  A good social time as well.

Also at 6:00 pm is a public information session on the proposed “road diet’ for Yonge Street.  The Town intends to paint new lines on Yonge Street between First and Eighth. The repainting will add new bike lanes and reduce the car travel lanes from four to three, with the centre lane being a left turn lane. This meeting gives you the opportunity to hear further details and allows you to provide comments. The meeting is at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre

On Tuesday at 3:00 pm the mayors gather with the NS Community Futures Development Corporation to start bringing improved broadband access to all of North Simcoe. Following that the mayors meet again at 5:00 pm in Penetanguishene to discuss issues that affect all four municipalities.

At 7:30 pm “A Day in the Life” hosts Frank Iacobucci (former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada).  Mr. Justice Iacobucci served as a Justice of the Supreme Court from 1991 to 2004. He formerly served as Dean of the University of Toronto Law School, as a Deputy Minister of Justice and as Interim President of the University of Toronto. The event is at the MCC.

Friday the 19th starts at 9:00 am at the County with the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.  This committee is working with the Town to meet our own affordable housing target of 90 new affordable units by 2024. The good news is that we have created over 30 new units over the last three years, well ahead of our target.

At 12 noon the union at the CNCC in Penetanguishene holds a rally at their facility to make the government more aware of upcoming contract talks. Then at 4:00 pm the fun begins at MCC. “Uke Fest” returns with all its noisy exuberance. I attended this event two year ago and was treated to room full of people all playing their ukuleles in harmony. The Fest is on all weekend – you are most welcome to drop by.

Week - End

Saturday May 20

-       Marsh by Moonlight paddle series at Wye Marsh starting at 8:45 pm

Sunday May 21

-       2:00 pm – the grand opening of Midland Indoor Playground at Mountainview Mall

-       Remember Monday May 22nd is the Victoria Day holiday. Town offices are closed.

Council Issues Update


The consultants are just about finished their cost analysis and expect to have their draft report to Council by the first week of June.


To wrap up I have three items that you may want to put on your calendar.

1)     Soccer is beginning at the Midland soccer fields behind Lot 102 every Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m.  All interested adult players between the ages of 16 and 100+ are welcome. If you are interested, you can come out any Thursday evening or visit

2)     On June 15th and 16th it’s the Zero Waste Ontario conference at Lakehead University in Orillia. The 2017 Conference features Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, who will outline the new Waste Free Ontario Act. The theme of the conference is making Simcoe a “Circular Economy”. Please register today by going to the website,

3)     Summer time is coming and the need for blood will be greater than ever. Canadian Blood Services is hosting its “Canada 150” donation drive on Monday July 3rd at the NSSRC from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. They have challenged Midland to deliver 150 donations at this clinic. Your help is needed for this very worthwhile cause. Please consider giving the gift of life this summer to someone in need.


Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday May 7, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am just back from a 13 day visit to the Netherlands with the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour. Frank, as many of you know, is a Midland resident and veteran of WWII. In particular he was wounded in the battle for Nijmegen, which forced him out of active combat.  To this day the people of the Netherlands have never forgotten the sacrifice of our Canadian soldiers and of Frank.

In 1985 the Dutch government was in contact with the Mayor of Tay to start an exchange program called Operation Friendship.  On a rotating basis, citizens and veterans from one country would be welcomed by host families from the other. It started slowly but over the years there have been over 10 such exchanges. And a strong bond of friendship has been established.

Unfortunately time is catching up with the participants and there are fewer and fewer veterans each year. So in 2010 it was decided to actively engage the youth and the Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour was born. Some 50-60 youth from both Canada (Midland-Chatham) and the Netherlands have cycled through Europe following the trail of the liberators. This year was the third cycling tour and will likely be the last. The good news is that maintaining that bond of friendship has now been turned over to the youth from both countries. We along with Frank look forward to seeing what our young people will come up with to uphold our commitment never to forget.

With air travel I have been up now for over 18 hours. I will keep this week’s edition very short.

The Week Ahead

On Monday May 8th is the General Committee meeting at 7:00 pm at Town Hall.  A very light agenda including decisions on administrative support for our many summer events such as the Butter Tart Festival and ZuchinniMania.

Tuesday at 9:00 it’s a full day with County Council.  The main item is a public meeting on the proposed County waste processing facility.

Wednesday the10th at 7:00 pm is our Candlelight Tribute to our soldiers and veterans at the Cenotaph. Please arrive early.

On Thursday the OPP Costing Committee will be meeting to further discuss the costing analysis for the policing of Midland.

Friday gives you two options for a fine meal. At 5:30 pm the Huronia Museum Heritage Dinner takes place at the NSSRC. And from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm the Township of Tay hosts a fundraising lasagna dinner at the Oakwood Community Center in support of the Wye Marsh.

Week - End

Saturday May 13

-       Treasure Days in Midland. Have your gently used items at the curb by 8:00 am and back in by 5:00 pm

-       The Model Train Show is at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

-       8:45 pm - Enjoy a moonlight paddle series at Wye Marsh

Sunday May 14

-       Treasure Days in Midland. Have your gently used items at the curb by 8:00 am and back in by 5:00 pm

-       The Model Train Show is at the NSSRC from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


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