Midlandcommunity.ca 2017 year in Review:
2017 seemed mostly about bringing on new talent, embracing change and creating a new culture (operating environment) for the town of Midland. It was a year for a change in approach, a change in thinking and attitude, a change in how we value the customer, and a change in the way we perceive ourselves, which our new administration branded as “Midland Forward’.
It was that very same call for change that most politicians campaigned on, yet most didn’t appreciate the magnitude of their promises at the time. Council was served up a smorgasbord of opportunities that they needed to concern themselves with, all foundational to changing the trajectory of our town. Some decisions were very intuitive for most councillors, while others, like policing, became very personal, emotional and controversial!
Let’s highlight a few of the more significant issues, which would clearly re-shape our future for decades to come:
– The redevelopment of the downtown core;
– The sale of our power utility, MPUC;
– An unrelenting and comprehensive focus on economic development;
– A second chance at revitalizing Midland Bay Landing, our jewel on the waterfront;
– Undertaking a service delivery review process, resulting in 68 recommendations for improvement;
– Securing the long-term viability of policing in Midland by emphasising a 10-year business case in order to rein in spiralling costs; and
– Implementing a Municipal Services Corporation (MSC) designed to maintain long-term continuity and inject specialised talent to manage the complex and comprehensive development of our Midland Bay Landing project.
These are but a few of the opportunities and decisions council embraced in an effort to assure Midland’s future ‘arrives on schedule’. These legacy decisions will leave their mark on this community long after our departure from the scene. These were decisions that are literally historic in their implications and provide a chance to afford future generations of Midlanders the opportunity to point to this moment in time and say “there – that’s when we found the courage to move Midland Forward again”.
So in a nutshell we begin 2018 with many of these moving parts still in play and not fully defined. We may still have more tough questions than answers around the services we provide, who should provide them, when and at what cost.
We need greater definition around the structure and the governance of the Municipal Services Corporation if we are to maximize our waterfront gift in the “Heart of Georgian Bay”.
We need to close the books on our bold policing decision, at which time the healing can begin.
We need to conclude the sale of MPUC so that part of the proceeds of the sale can be invested into those areas and services that require attention and truly matter.
We must remain focused on those activities that help support the three-legged stool of growth by focusing on competitive tax rates, business friendly policy and strong economic development. We believe it’s crucial that all three legs of the stool remain in balance for Midland to maximize its future potential.
We need to work smarter on managing costs and reducing taxes because being a highly taxed municipality stifles growth and opportunity.
We need to continue to push back on ‘over the top’ and ‘ill-thought-out’ planning policy where our local and higher levels of government clearly don’t understand the ramifications of what they are being asked to enact into law. Midlandcommunity.ca has been active providing purpose and clarity around the Sourcewater Protection Plan, back-flow controls, septic policy, second suites and, most recently, the Natural Heritage System policy. Poorly crafted and restrictive policy with sizeable hidden costs clearly puts Midland at a disadvantage from an economic development and growth point of view.
It appears to us the operative word of the day is ‘balance’. Striking the right balance will afford us the opportunity to do the things we must do. In this election year, it will be even more important for councillors to maintain this balance as they compete for your vote; otherwise the progress of the past three years will all be for naught.
Happy New Year Midland and as always thanks for making a difference.