Ladies and Gentlemen
On the good news front, the first member of our Syrian refugee family should be arriving at Toronto Pearson tomorrow. Given the chaotic state of refugee movements our local support group is not sure when the other family members will arrive. Hopefully once they are all here and settled you will have an opportunity to meet them.
On a more challenging front, the fight to save our hospital has begun. I use the term “fight” quite deliberately as it will take a concerted effort to make the difficult changes needed to put our hospital back on a healthy footing.
The challenges are manifold. The recent operational report pointed to a number of cultural and organizational issues that must be resolved. This first and foremost engages the hospital administration, staff and the doctors. The “vision” for our future hospital must be established. What are the services that GBGH will deliver to serve our community while keeping our hospital financially viable? Resolving the vision question will involve our hospital, the public and politicians. And our vision cannot be dictated by a cost-consultant or the provincial government.
Thirdly, the most insidious challenge is the improper funding of our hospital. The current funding formula and all its rationalizations are simply leading GBGH deeper into the hole. Radical change is needed. Changing the funding will take a resolute hospital, an engaged North Simcoe public and flexibility on the part of the LHIN and the provincial government.
Make no mistake, we are fighting for the future of our healthcare in North Simcoe. Winning this fight will take a well thought out plan, collective energy and an acceptance by all the parties that we must come together to deliver a hospital solution that meets the needs of the people of North Simcoe.
Note: the next public meeting planned by our Citizen’s Healthcare Steering Committee is on March 7th from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Brian Orser arena in Penentanguishene.
On Monday 22nd the regular business of the Town starts with a closed meeting at 5:30 pm. The meeting will discuss an OMB appeal regarding Source Water Protection, a legal issue and staffing matters. At 7:00 pm is the regular Council meeting. The agenda includes:
- Three deputations:
o The Downtown Safety Committee reports on its progress
o Brittany Black, our area Tourism Director, will tell you about plans for 2016
o An update on the development of Marina Park
- Preparations for the OPP costing process
- Information on the mayors’ initiative on broadband fibre networks in North Simcoe
- A motion to direct MPUC to look for a new business arrangement
The rest of the week is pretty quiet. Many of the politicians will be at the ROMA conference in Toronto. I fortunately drew the short straw and will stay in Midland.
Council Issues Update
Midland Bay Landing
The Town held its Open House this past week. Some 30-40 individuals attended and from what I could tell, were quite pleased with the zoning changes being proposed. Another key step in moving this project forward.
Peterborough Council announced this week that it was investigating selling its LDC. If you are of the opinion that there have been a lot of changes recently with municipal LDC ownership, you would be right. The province is changing the rules and with that the entire LDC industry is changing. Our own MPUC, with an extremely small base of 6,500 customers, cannot just stand pat. On Monday Council will likely ask the MPUC Board to start looking for options.
If you are interested in the future of Georgian Bay, there is a special event for you. The Great Lakes Café is taking place on Wednesday March 9th at 7:00 pm at the NSSRC. This moderated evening of dialogue, idea exchange and creativity will identify ways that we can raise awareness of the importance of our Great lakes. Results of the Café will be presented to the International Joint Commission, the body that manages our Great Lakes.
The event is sponsored by the federal governments of the US and Canada. Please preregister at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/celebrating-the-great-lakes-north-simcoe-tickets-21520149346
Your Year for Getting Aboard – Midlands on the Move - 2016