In reflecting back on the first year of this new term of council, and despite the untimely loss of Deputy Mayor Jack Contin, we had already made great strides towards delivering on our election promises.
The waterfront development plan has been reset and is being re-imagined with new design parameters that include parkland on the east side while maintaining public waterfront access to all 1100 metres of the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline. Incredibly, we’ve already got 5 million dollars of private funding pledged towards making that park a reality for our residents and visitors. The new process will be fully transparent and will involve the community at every step of the way.
We’ve repaired the relationships with our housing developers and informally resolved many outstanding claims and disputes. We have thousands of homes, including rental units either approved or nearing approval and we hope to see more shovels in the ground once the economy and interest rates improve over the next two years. Midland will do its part to help with the Province’s housing goals and to help make affordable and attainable housing a reality for our residents.
We have implemented free parking in our downtown core and over the next year, will work with the community, through a special committee, to find a financially responsible solution to offset the costs.
We are working with the County of Simcoe to attract investment in Midland for more supportive and transitional housing, and the good paying jobs that come with those services.
Council is working through the draft 2024 budget and I thank you for participating in the survey that staff used to help guide the initiatives that are forecasted for the next year or two. I’d also invite you to join us for the public budget meeting on Wednesday January 17th at 6pm. Council will be working for three full days to review the budget, consider your input and try to get to a tax rate that is both responsible and reflective of the challenges that each of us face with our household and family expenses.
I can share with you that I am hoping to get the Little Lake Park splashpad funded and approved in this budget and that will see it installed in the spring of 2025. The splashpad was approved back in 2019 but was stalled due to the pandemic and parked for this new term of Council to consider. If you support the project, please reach out to your councillors. I am working to get the costs down below the estimates that are in the draft budget and will be looking for philanthropic sponsorship from our business community and service clubs to help offset the costs to build this new accessible and family-friendly water feature in our beautiful park. Step one is to get the approval in January.
I appreciate all the feedback I continue to get from the community and encourage you to stay connected with council as we navigate the challenges ahead for 2024. You can visit our website at midland.ca to subscribe to Town updates and feel free to visit my website at billgordon.ca and connect with me on my social media profiles, where I share information and receive comments about current or future initiatives.
On behalf of Midland Council, the Town’s senior leadership, myself and my family, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish each of you happy holidays as many of us are about to celebrate Christmas and the new year ahead.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!