I will be the first to admit that making the right decisions around the planning, sale and development of our 40 acres of Georgian Bay waterfront is a very important first challenge that will face a new Council shortly after being sworn in. However, it should not be the only reason that you vote for a candidate, nor should it distract you from the many other huge challenges we will face over the coming budget years.
Now that the Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation and the Town of Midland has chosen to share their perspectives on the development plans (albeit mid-way through an election cycle and after a year of near radio silence on these details) we can reflect on that and let the voters elect people who most align with their stance on how, when, and if the current plan moves ahead.
Now, let’s get back to the other major issues. I have my top 10 issues that I believe the new council should focus on and that starts with controlling our spending and getting our financial house in order. The continued reliance on tapping the ratepayer for what is often characterized as “tax and spend” economics at Town Hall must be reigned in. Some tough decisions lie ahead for the new council and managing affordability for our residents, focusing on needs vs wants and right-sizing our service delivery is what any responsible organization does when expenses are exceeding revenues. Yes, we need to responsibly generate revenues and the easiest way it to clear the backlog of thousands of unbuild homes already on the books and spread the costs of running this municipality over more residents. The challenge is how to responsibly grow while preserving the small town charm that makes Midland so attractive in the first place.
Before we focus on potential revenue streams from a small pocket of luxury homes on the waterfront, that is years away, let’s focus on rentals, townhomes and apartment complexes that are already in the planning process and whose development charges will pay for that responsible growth and whose property taxes will help us deliver our services more affordably to all our residents.
I will be looking to lead a council who is prepared to make a critical analysis of our spending, listen to the resident input and make tough decisions. While we won’t all align on each issue, we should share that common goal of making Midland a better place to live, work and play. From what I have read from each of the candidates, they all share that passion to one degree or another and I think it’s important to look beyond the singular divisive issue of MBL (pause / no pause) and to a more wholistic view of each candidate and their dedication to keeping an open mind (and ears) if elected.
Electronic / Phone voting starts on Oct 11th and runs to Oct 24th. Please consider attending (virtually or in person) the all candidate sessions to look each of us in the eye and get answers to the questions that matter to you most.