Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday March 26, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

Just back from my annual pancake flipping adventure at the Wye Marsh Sweetwater Festival. Despite the cool day there were many happy families discovering the joys of maple syrup.  The maple syrup industry is achieving new prominence in our area. In fact we have a major conference in Midland this July attracting maple syrup producers from across the province to discuss growing the industry. Another sign of how we are changing.

The Week Ahead

Monday March 27th at 1:00 pm is a Housing First conference at the Kempemfelt Conference Center in Innisfil. The conference will discuss how the County can establish affordable housing programs that:

-       House the homeless unconditionally, as a first step

-       Provide the supports to help them stay housed

The Housing First model has proven to be successful in reducing homelessness in many jurisdictions across North America.

At 5:30 pm is a closed meeting of Council to discuss a number of matters: a potential land sale; potential litigation; appointment to committees.  Then at 7:00 pm is the March Council meeting including:

-       One deputation from the District Health Unit on “Breastfeeding Friendly Places”

-       An application by Jarlette Health Services for a development charge exemption for their new Villa Long Term Care facility. This new facility will replace the long term care beds in the current Villa building, bringing them up to modern standards

-       A request to consider a common taxi service for the area including Midland and Penetanguishene

-       A request to review a regional fire service for North Simcoe

-       Council membership for our new HR committee

Tuesday starts in Midhurst at 9:00 am with County Council.  A number of interesting items before Council including a proposal for an incentive program to encourage more of us to use of our green bin. Regular use of the green bin may net you a gold sticker for your bin and/or a Recycling Star ball cap. 

On Wednesday you are invited to attend the Askennonia  AGM at 11:30 am at the NSSRC.  That afternoon Mary Lynn West-Moynes, President of Georgian College, comes to visit our library to discuss potential cooperation around entrepreneurial programs.  At 3:00 pm our economic development group EDCNS hosts it’s Manufacturers Roundtable at Techform.  This working meeting brings area manufacturers together to discuss how to improve their businesses. The meeting should receive an update on the recent jobs advertising program.

Thursday March 30th at 9:30 am, Simcoe County Circles (Bridges Out of Poverty) Program holds an information session at the old PSS location in Penetanguishene.  The Circles Program is based on forming supportive relationships among Circle Leaders (individual/family working to get out of poverty) and community Allies (individuals who have completed a Bridges Out of Poverty workshop) who are willing to provide support.

At 7:00 pm at Town Hall is the next step in our 2017 budget process.   This is your turn to provide input about the 2017 budget. For background information please see   Also at 7:00 pm Brookside Music brings Tafelmusik  to St Pauls. The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra will provide a selection of pieces exploring 100 years of Canadian history.

Friday the 31st sees the Battle of the Bands at 7:30 pm at the MCC. Rock out with five local bands as they battle it out in support of The Next Door Teen Transitional Lodge. Bands include returning champs Souled Out, Crossfire, The Penny Love Band, Blues Connection and Coconut Navy.

Week - End

Saturday April 1

-       10:00 am - YMCA Fire Truck Pull and Fun Run at the Midland YMCA

-       12 noon – Trans Day of Visibility at Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre

Sunday April 2

-       Books2Eat at the Midland Public Library at 2pm. One of our Town’s signature events

Council Issues Update


The GBGH Board has started a strategic review of the hospital’s vision and mission. This is an important step for our community in making sure our hospital continues to serve the needs of the people in our area. If you have any thoughts on our hospital’s future please forward then to Mr. John Kurvinck, acting CEO of GBGH.

Georgian Bay General Hospital is looking to fill four (4) positions on its Board. The GBGH Board is skills-based and is interested in applications from individuals who reflect our many communities, including people from the Francophone, First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities. If you are interested please contact:

Community Based Nominations Committee – Attention: Chair

C/O Jacki Dumont

Georgian Bay General Hospital

1112 St. Andrew's Drive,

P.O. Box 760

Midland, ON L4R 4P4

Applications, including resumes, must be received before 4:00pm on Friday, April 7th,


Council has completed its first review of both the 2017 operational and capital budgets. We are currently looking at a municipal tax rate increase of just over 3%. Council is still looking for a few more reductions.  You may wish to speak at the public meeting on the budget scheduled for Thursday March 30.


And lastly, the Mayors Mac & Cheese dinner at Lot 102 is set for Monday April 3rd.  Three seatings - 4:30,  5:45 and 7:00 pm.  Please help us by getting your tickets early. All proceeds to We are the Villagers children’s’ charity.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday March 19, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

March Break is over – Winter wraps up this week – The BIA and Town event planners tell me we are going to have events in our downtown almost every weekend this summer.  Gotta love this Town.

Lots of discussion and action with residential real estate. Barrie just reported year over year house price increases of 39%. Comments from local realtors indicate the market demand is starting to turn to Midland. Good news for some but it will create challenges for our area’s affordable housing.

The Week Ahead

Monday March 20th features a regular meeting of the Community Healthcare Steering Committee at 5:00 pm at GBGH.  They are considering aligning with the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN to coordinate public input on the impact of the province’s Patients First initiative. This program will affect future healthcare services in North Simcoe. For more information 

On Tuesday the Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their annual awards dinner at the Quality Inn at 6:00 pm.  Also at 6:00 pm the Town will by holding its regular Official Plan Review meeting.  The meeting will receive the first draft of our new Official Plan, which should lead to some lively discussion. You are welcome to attend.

Wednesday the 22nd at 3:30 pm the Town will conduct its second budget meeting to review capital budgets for all departments. The meeting should last until 8:30 pm.  A better alternative for the young may be “Snuggle Up & Read” at 6:30 pm at our library.  You are invited to come in your most comfortable PJs for an evening of stories read by some of our most beloved Midland folks! Bring your teddy bear or special blanket and enjoy some fresh snacks. And it’s free.

Thursday March 23rd is a busy one. From 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm the YMCA is holding its annual Job Fair at the MCC. I know our employers are looking for willing workers so bring your resume and see the many job opportunities that are out there. At 2:00 pm our creative library is holding a free event, “E-Mail 101”. This is your chance to develop your confidence and computer skills to use email independently.  It will cover the basics of email: sending emails; replying; attaching files; plus a discussion on how to detect fraudulent emails. Please register at 705-526-4216.

It’s spring registration day at the NSSRC for all sorts of youth programs.  This is a joint registration and includes programs run by the Town, Chigamik and We are the Villagers.  Registration is open from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. 

Friday the 24th and it’s your second chance to sign up for spring recreation programs at the NSSRC (See Thursday’s details) Registration is from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Waypoint holds its annual gala at its location at 7:00 pm. And if you are looking for a fun way to be entertained by local talent check out Good Morning Apocalypse, our newest theatre and comedy group that you have never heard of. They will be providing stand-up and skit comedy at Lot 102 starting at 8:00 pm. More info at

Week - End

Saturday March 25

-       10:00 am to 1:00 pm – Last day for spring program registration at NSSRC

-       10:00 am to 4:00 pm - The annual Sweetwater Festival at Wye Marsh

-       11:00 am onwards it’s the second annual March Mudness at Rotary park in Penetanguishene. Teams from across North Simcoe take to an outdoor obstacle course to raise funds for GBGH

Sunday March 26

-       10:00 am to 4:00 pm - The annual Sweetwater Festival at Wye Marsh

Council Issues Update


The Request for Proposals process has closed. The next step is to review the proposals and choose those that best meet the Town’s and ratepayers objectives.  Please see the attached media release.


A major step forward in our Official Plan Review process this week. The initial comments by the consultants and the public have been analysed and the first draft report will be tabled at the OPR meeting on Tuesday. I expect the report to be available to the public shortly for your review and input.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday March 12, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our first 2017 budget meeting is behind us and the first draft municipal tax rate shows an increase of 3.1%. If Council accepted this draft, then the all in tax rate increase, combining County and school amounts, would likely be in the range of 2.5%. More budget work ahead.

It’s March break week.  A quieter week for the Town even though I expect to see more young folks in the downtown. Enjoy.

The Week Ahead

Monday March 13th features the Daffodil flag raising for the Canadian Cancer Society at Town Hall at 1:00 pm.

On Tuesday the 14th it’s likely to be a long County Council meeting in Midhurst starting at 9:00 am. The meeting will review Midland’s OPA Number 9 concerning Second Units in our Town.

On Wednesday I meet with Bruce Stanton MP to discuss federal government support for our King Street Redevelopment project.

Week - End

Saturday March 18

-       8:00 pm Leahy-The Next Generation will entertain you with Celtic fiddle music by six incredibly talented youngsters at the MCC

Sunday March 19

-       Southern Georgian Bay Farmers Market is at the Huronia Museum starting at 9:00 am, every Sunday during the winter months

-       Brookside brings you Scaramella, a celebration of Baroque music at the MCC at 2:00 pm


Council Issues Update


The first budge meeting heard from all municipal Boards and commissions, including the Midland police and our library. It also reviewed the operating budget for all Town departments.

The marathon 8 hour meeting was especially challenging this year as our Treasurer introduced a new budget format and methodology.  A fair bit of time was spent considering how the new representation of the budget figures related to the expenditures from previous years. The purpose of changing the format was to improve transparency – to let Council and the public have a better understanding of service delivery costs. For example, we were shown for the first time that the cost of staff time to support our 39 Town committees was in excess of $400,000.

So the bottom line for the first draft shows a municipal year over year tax increase at 3.1 %. Our next budget meeting takes place on March 22nd at 3:30 pm.


A calendar reminder that the second annual Mac & Cheese dinner in support of the We Are the Villagers children’s charity takes place on April 3rd at Lot 102 - three dinner sittings of 4:30, 5:45 and 7:00 pm.


Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday March 5, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

A quick look outside serves as a chilly reminder that winter is still here. But as you will see in the Monday Committee agenda, we are looking forward to a great summer.

The Week Ahead

Monday March 6th and it’s our General Committee meeting at 7:00 pm. A relatively short agenda including:

-       A proposal for a new Human Resources Committee to guide the Town’s management of matters such as labour negotiations, compensation and staff benefits

-       Lots of items linked to having fun in Midland this summer

o    June 1st and 2nd, a special arts event in Little Lake Park sponsored  by Quest/Askennonia

o    July 1st, Canada Day Parade organized by the Civitan Club

o    July 7th and 8th, performance boat display at the dock

o    July 7th to 9th, our long awaited Rib Fest

o    July 21st to 23rd, the Ontario 150 Tour and Feast comes to Midland

And these are in addition to the annual Best Butter Tart Festival, Party on the Dock and Tugfest. It’s gonna be a great summer.

On Tuesday its time to brush up on your social media skills. The YMCA is hosting a Social Media Marketing for Business workshop at its 334 King Street location. The event runs from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. More info -

Thursday the 9th is a bit of a sad day as we say good-bye to Tracey Leonard. Tracey is leaving the Town’s finance department for a position with a financial software company. Please drop by the Town Hall at 3:00 pm to wish Tracey well.  At 7:00 pm at the Quality Inn it’s the Midland Lions Civic and Community Appreciation Night.  If you are planning on attending, please contact the Lions at or 705-528-0140.

On Friday the 10th the Town starts the public portion of its 2017 budget process at Town Hall. Starting at 1:30 pm and running until 8:30 pm, Council will hear budget proposals from our various Boards and agencies as well as the operating budgets from Town departments. Additional budget meetings, including a meeting for public input, will take place later in the month.  Ideally the budget will be finalized next month.

At 7:00 pm the Huronia Museum is hosting a public auction of the works of Midland artist Dennis Milton. Dennis was known to many in the Town and celebrated for both the vibrancy and range of his artistic works. We are fortunate to have one of his collages hanging in Town Hall. This is your chance to own one of his unique art works.  Then at 8:00 pm, Huronia Players hosts Mono-Locos at the Boathouse. This series of monologues has proven to be popular so check with Holly Archer first  ( )   to see if space is still available.

Council Issues Update


The first meeting of the OPP Review Committee was held this past week. The consultants are still collecting the data needed to be able to properly compare the cost of our own Midland Police Service to that of the OPP. I know that a number of people seem to have already made their decision on the issue. Council remains determined to have a fair and impartial examination of the numbers. That review is a least a month away.

Midland Bay Landing

The contract that we have with our development partners expired on March 1st.  The Town will be talking with them over the next few weeks to see how/if the partnership will continue.


This past week Midland Council unanimously approved the sale of a parking lot as part of the transaction to bring Barnstormer microbrewery to our downtown.  This decision is just right in so many ways. It will bring more people to our downtown.  It will provide more jobs - I understand residents are already applying the Barnstormer. And it will be a major boost to our tourism.

As with many decisions, not everyone was pleased. The concern about sufficient downtown parking was raised by area merchants.  Council listened. The Town committed to a major review of its parking options over the coming months to make sure that we have sufficient space in our downtown for those who drive.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday February 26, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen


A big week ahead. Midland Council will be making a major decision about the future of our downtown. A business person has come forward proposing to invest $3 million in a new microbrewery to be located in our parking lot at 526 Bay Street. The proposal brings new industry for our downtown, new jobs and a major boost to area tourism. It also aligns fully with our approved Downtown Master Plan. If this development goes forward, it will be the largest private investment in our downtown in the last decade.

You are invited to make your views about the project known to Council at a public meeting to be held this Monday. Later in the meeting Council will make its decision. If Council agrees to go forward with the microbrewery, you can expect some preparatory work on the parking lot as early as this coming week.  Parts of the lot will be blocked off for soil tests. The parking lot will still be accessible during this work.

The Week Ahead

Monday February 27th starts off at 7:00 am with a NSCFDC sponsored Breakfast and Learn Simulcast, taking place at Georgian College, Midland.  The event features Greg Taylor and the story of Steamwhistle Brewery. Register at

Later that morning I will make a presentation on behalf of the County to Lakehead University, as they celebrate their Research and Innovation Week.

At 5:00 pm Boston Pizza will be the scene of a second fund raiser for the Frank Graham 2017 Cycle Tour. If you dine between 5:00 and 8:00 pm a portion of your bill will be given to the cycle tour. Also starting at 5:00 pm, the Community Healthcare Steering Committee meets at GBGH to discuss recent developments impacting your healthcare.

Then at 6:30 pm Council goes into a closed meeting to discuss two matters: 1) Appointments for the Huronia Airport Commission 2) Staffing in our Finance Department.  At 7:00 pm it’s the February Council meeting. The meeting features:

-       Heritage award presentations to Mr. Ron Hunt and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Graham

-       Deputation on the GBGH Foundation

-       Four Public Meetings (you may speak) respecting:

o    Proposed sale of the property at 344 Gloucester St.

o    Fees for Town facilities and programs

o    Proposed sale of 787 Vinden St.

o    Proposed sale of the parking lot at 526 Bay Street

-       Appointment of two part-time parking by-law officials

On Tuesday the 28th at 1:00 pm the North Simcoe Housing Working Group meets at Town Hall to further develop its “Housing First” affordable housing pilot. Housing First is a proven method to help house the homeless based upon two key principles:

-       Provide the person stable housing as the first step

-       Provide the supports needed for them to remain housed

At 2:00 pm you are invited to the Villa Health Care Centre “Aloha Party”. Get ready for a Hawaiian treat with a photo booth, Tiki Bar and information about leading a long and healthy life. That’s at the Villa location, 689 Yonge Street. Later that day I head down to Queens Park to participate in the Lieutenant Governor’s 150 Stories Collection – authored works honouring Ontario in Canada’s anniversary year. Please see 

Wednesday is the first of March. I will join our economic development group, EDCNS, in meeting with the prospective owner of the Pillsbury property. We will discuss how to ensure that the facility remains a part of our manufacturing base for years to come. At 7:00 pm the Planning and Development Committee meets at Town Hall to consider:

-       Two Public Meetings (you may speak):

o    Application by the Plaza Retail REIT to use the rear interior of Mountainview Mall for storage

o    Conversion of the property at 438 Hugel from a duplex to a triplex

-       Proposed resolution of the Second Units discussion, recommending limitations be placed on unit size

-       Extension of our Building Services cooperative arrangement with Penetanguishene

Thursday the 2nd at 7:30 pm at the MCC - Midland Reads is back! The event is based on the CBC national debate, Canada Reads. This year panelists have chosen a book from the CBC's long list. They will be defending their book based on this year's theme "What is the one book Canadians need now?"

Week - End

Saturday March 4

-       10:30 am the Spelling Bee returns to challenge area children at the MCC

-       6:00 pm Mardi Gras Murder Mystery Dinner at Maitre'D Restaurant in Penetanguishene,  A special event as the script is by our own Brendan Main and directed by Christine Killing. Reserve tickets at  All proceeds to We Are the Villagers

-       7:00 pm the Wye Marsh presents A Night with Frank Sinatra, performed by the Sophisticated Swing of Burlington.  That is at the MCC

-       Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe present Bowl For Kid's Sake from 7:00 to 11:00 pm at both Bayshore Bowling Lanes (Midland) and Knight Haven bowling (Penetanguishene).

Council Issues Update


The costing process has started. Our consultants have developed their work plan which will be presented to the OPP Costing Committee shortly.  Should see an initial indication from the Committee by the end of April.


The Town should get some indication next week as to the level of interest generated by our sale RFP.  Interested parties have until mid-March to file their paperwork.  After that the intensive interviews will start.


Staff has completed most of the preparatory work for the 2017 budget. This year’s budget will have a different format. It will present financials on more of a “functional basis” as opposed to the historical “departmental basis”.  This change is expected to improve transparency and assist Council in making its decisions.  The first budget meeting date is March 10th starting at 1:30 pm.  This meeting will receive the budgets from our Boards and agencies and well as the departmental operating budgets.

The second budget meeting is set for March the 22nd starting at 3:30 pm. The meeting will receive the capital budgets from all areas. The third budget meeting is the public input meeting. This is your chance to respond on what you are hearing about the proposed 2017 budget and make comments directly to Council. That meeting is March 30th, starting at 7:00 pm.

Depending upon how the meetings have gone to this point, there may be additional budget meetings scheduled or the budget may go to General Committee for passage at the April Council meeting.


The popular Mayor’s Mac N Cheese dinner is back for 2017. This charitable event in support of We Are the Villagers sees the four mayors and the children of the Village entertaining and serving you with some of the best Mac N Cheese in Ontario. Please reserve your supper hour on April 3rd for one of the three sittings -  4:30, 5:45 and 7:00 pm - at Lot 102. If you need a ticket, let me know.

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Saturday February 18, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen

North Simcoe is about to make a splash. Our economic development corporation, EDCNS, is telling Ontario what a great place we have in Midland. Using a combination of promotional advertisements in municipalities such as – Barrie, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Windsor - and a CTV Barrie short film series (airing February 28 to March 2) we tell our story of economic growth and the many employment opportunities in our area.  A great way to spread the word about good things happening in North Simcoe

The Week Ahead

Monday is Family Day.  Whether you are working or have the day off, take some time to be with your family.

From 6:30 to 8:00 pm Quest Art School + Gallery invites you to help them paint the Town’s Canada 150 Mural.  Our first community painting takes place tonight. Additional dates for painting are February 22nd and March 7th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The mural is being painted in Quest Art’s Classroom 1, on the second level of the Midland Cultural Centre. All ages welcome and no painting experience is necessary as the project coordinator and assistant are there to help.  

On Tuesday the 21st please join the Pregnancy Resource Centre at noon as they open their new location at 522 Elizabeth Street, second floor. Later that day the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” committee gets together to plan this year’s walk in Midland.

Wednesday the 22nd sees the second round of painting for the community mural at Quest from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

Thursday the 23rd starts with a planning session for the Physician Recruitment Team at GBGH at 9:00 am. Also at 9:00 am the NSCFDC speaker’s series presents “Shifting Your Perspective” an entertaining workshop by Heather Wilson on management techniques for small business. That takes place at the Brian Orser arena in Penetanguishene from 9:00 am to noon. Please book ahead at

At 4:30 pm at our Library introduces a very special program.  Midland Public Library is launching the “tween” space called The Back Corner. Back Corner kids are young adults between 9 and14 who need special resources and their own safe space. This new space for tweens was made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Midland Public Library and their efforts in The Book Cellar Used Bookstore.

On Friday February 24th our museum hosts an art exhibit devoted to the works of the late Midland resident, Dennis Milton. Exhibits of Dennis’ work have taken place across Ontario.  Trained in graphic design, Dennis is known for his flair for colour and abstract motifs.  He has painted with acrylics, latex, liquid tempera and most recently focused on landscape collages.  The exhibit runs until Friday, March 10th at 7pm at which time the pieces will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the museum and local churches.

And at 8:00 pm at the MCC is Quartette featuring songstress Sylvia Tyson.  Your preview

Week - End

Saturday February 25

-       CLH fundraising gala with Kim Mitchell takes place at the Quality Inn at 6:00 pm

-       Coldest Night of the Year Walk starting at Robert and Main in Penetanguishene between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. A light meal will be served to all walkers and volunteers.

Council Issues Update


The Town has set the date for its first 2017 budget meeting - March 10th at 1:30 pm at Town Hall. Get ready for an intensive meeting as it expected to last until 8:30 pm 


In closing, an unusual event.  On March 10th at 8:00 pm at the Boathouse Eatery, our Huronia Players presents Mono Locos.  This is a monologue contest and super social.  The mood will be light, the attitude uproarious. The laughter and compelling drama will overflow with impunity.  Huronia Players has 12 spots available for budding monologue stars in search of their big break.   RSVP as soon as possible to Holly Archer to sign up (

Gord McKay

The Year for Getting It Done - 2017