My Position: Parkland Will Be Sacred For This Councillor

Photo credit: Midland Mirror / Simcoe.com

Some people are asking me what got me interested in local politics?  A great question and I think it pre-dates the policing issue.  When I learned that this Council (2014-2018) was preparing to sever off a part of Edgehill Park (The Grove) and donate it for the new Health Hub, I began taking notice of a stirring resistance in the community.

The resistance was not about the merit of a multi-disciplinary health hub in Midland, but at the decision to offer up a significant portion of Midland’s last waterfront-facing parkland to the developer – for free.  It was learned that no other vacant properties had been seriously considered and that one of the key proponents of this deal was a sitting councillor who was, up until the day he was elected, on the board of directors of one of the two organizations that would benefit from the land.

Councillor George MacDonald, a former mayor of Midland, can be credited with the spark that lit my interest in the goings-on at town hall.  I began to follow the story and speak to both the opponents and  proponents to learn more about the issue.  Needless to say, I formed the opinion, along with several thousand others in Midland, that this land deal and the manner in which the deal was crafted was neither transparent nor seemingly ethical (and would be repeated later in their term in the Bay Street parking lot land deal)

While that opinion was shared by way of petition, the largest ever provided to a Midland Council, the decision was made to ignore the voters and push the deal through.  A small community group formed called “OurMidland” and launched fundraising and an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) appeal – that was dropped due to the finite resources of the members and infinite resources of the Town of Midland and the proponents of the deal.

My name was on that petition, and this video was largely why.  If elected, I will not support any more divestment of our parkland to private interest.  Waterfront parkland is sacred and as the saying goes “they aren’t making any more of it”.  Preserving the former Unimin land (Midland Bay Landing) for this community’s next generation is a priority.

I you want know more about the Edgehill Park struggle, all you need to do is Google “Edgehill Park Midland” and wade through the media coverage.  That deal is done and the new hub is progressing.  The good it will do for our community will be immeasurable but it is sad that it will always be mired in the controversy that surrounded its location.

 

More Background from Simcoe.com – https://www.simcoe.com/simcoecounty-topics/5933883-edgehill-park/