Midland Participating in 2023 AMO Conference

AMO 2023
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Deputy Mayor Jack Contin and myself, Councillors Beth Prost, Jamie-Lee Ball, Bill Meridis and our senior staff will join more than 2,000 participants at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s 2023 AMO Conference at RBC Place London and the DoubleTree by Hilton in London, Ontario August 20 to 23.

The 2023 Conference will bring municipal leaders together with the Ontario government following a year of important legislative changes, many intended to tackle the province’s housing crisis. Housing continues to be a top priority for all municipal governments. This year’s event features more than 60 speakers, sessions and workshops, reflecting the broad scope of municipal responsibilities. 

Keynote presenters include Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Government’s ministers, Marit Stiles, Leader of the Ontario NDP and Official Opposition, John Fraser, Interim Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, and Colin Best, AMO President.

Sessions and speakers will cover a wide range of topics, including housing, women’s leadership, AMO’s partnership with Ontario’s public colleges, cyber security, electronic permitting, municipal risk and liability, infrastructure investment, energy innovation, healthcare transformation, broadband and much more. On August 21, AMO and the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding, signifying a first of its kind relationship between AMO and an Indigenous women’s organization. August 23 plenary programming will focus on homelessness.

The annual conference is an opportunity for municipal officials to work together on solutions to today’s big challenges, to learn, and to create new opportunities that benefit our communities. In addition to the conference program, municipal staff and officials will take part in hundreds of municipal delegation meetings with provincial ministries.

Your administration and I submitted requests to meet with:

  • Minister Steve Clark (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) – DECLINED TO MEET
    • Seeking assistance with Official Plan changes to reverse our mis-applied Natural Heritage Designation throughout our Settlement Area (a decision by previous Council) that impairs growth and housing development in Midland.
    • Seeking clarity around his pledge to make municipalities “whole” in relation to the Province’s Bill 23 decisions to force us to pass development charges on to our ratepayers instead of the developers for affordable, non-profit housing. When will we be told how to invoice the Province so our ratepayers are not left funding the Province’s promises. Our only alternatives are tax increases to subsidize the losses. Growth is supposed to pay for growth.
  • Minister David Piccini (Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks) – DECLINED TO MEET
    • Ontario Community Environment Fund – currently has allocated ZERO funding to brownfield cleanup in Central Region and the rejuvenation of our waterfront lands as a economic driver for the great lakes cruising initiative relies on support for shoreline remediation as well as the brownfield lands ($20mm approx.)  If we are going to finance this ourselves because there is no support from Province / Feds, which we may have to do to get things moving, then we will need help with increasing our debt capacity and to pray that the province truly intends to make us whole for the losses incurred by Bill 23.
  • Minister Neil Lumsden (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport) – MEETING GRANTED
    • That the Minister support provincial funding for the development of a waterfront and harbour master plan for the Town of Midland;
      • Opportunity:
        • Midland can become a world-class destination for small luxury / exploration cruise ships on the Great Lakes
          • Provide for a strong, functional and operational business foundation for the cruise lines.
          • Support and develop new activities and shore excursion opportunities that provide increased daily passenger spending to build additional cruise line and stakeholder revenues.
          • Showcase the rich Indigenous and cultural heritage of Midland.
        • A strategic master plan of the Town’s waterfront tourism development is required to ensure efficient and effective capital investments in new ship berths and park development.
        • Estimate of $75,000 for the master plan undertaken by external consultants.
    • That the Minister implement a change in funding application deadlines for major tourism events and festivals, with deadlines scheduled for November of the year proceeding the event and that notification of funding be announced no later than March.
      • Opportunity:
        • Timely and proper recognition of support received by the Province, demonstrating the commitment to tourism.
        • Ability for event staff to plan and program special events within their complete budgets, without restricting or cancelling scheduled activities and activations that would not be possible without Provincial funding.
        • By expanding the criteria, additional events could be eligible for funding and for municipalities, this removes some of the financial burden for the local taxpayers.

Each year every municipality vies for a limited number of short meetings with Ministers or their parliamentary assistants.  We submit a summary of what we’d like to meet about and then wait to see if we were successful in securing 10 minutes of face time.  The sheer volume of requests make it impossible for the Ministries to accommodate all the asks.  In our case, we requested time with Minister Steve Clark (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing), Minister David Piccini (Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks) and Minister Neil Lumsden (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport).  We were successful in landing a meeting with Minister Lumsden’s staff to discuss our waterfront master plan and great lakes tourism strategy as well as access to grants and funding to help us realize those goals.  In short, our mission is to align our goals with those of the Province and ask them for help in achieving those goals.  Our ability to lobby the Ministry is not limited to this single event, but we never miss any opportunity to showcase Midland’s potential and ask for help from our upper tiers of government.

Despite being unable to meet with two of the three Ministers, we enjoy an excellent working relationship with our MPP Minister Jill Dunlop and I will continue to seek her help to advance critical issues to the Provincial Government.

I am grateful that some of my Council can attend this important conference. There are simply too many concurrent sessions for one or two of us to attend, and I rely on my Council team to attend, share, network, learn and bring back updates that can help us manage local issues and policy in our community.

Program details are available on AMO’s website: https://www.amo.on.ca/2023-amo-conference/program

1 Comment

  1. wish you and your team a huge truckload of success, development DOLLARS for MBL and services for a new sub-division for smaller houses and affordable ones.

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