Mayor's Message - July 2 2017

Posted on Thursday July 06, 2017

Bonne Fête du Canada, Happy Canada Day everyone,

We had a great Canada Day here in our town, we had the all things wheels parade with 45 bikes, strollers and scooters decorated to the hilt,  we unveiled the Canada 150 Mural and as is always the tradition for us, we partied at the museum with music, good food, good friends and of course the cupcakes !  Wrapping the day up was an extra special fireworks display.   I hope our national birthday party stretches into the rest of your weekend.  For Jan and I we have our grandkids coming up today and I suspect some time will be spent playing at the splash-pad!

A couple of key decisions for us landed this past week at the provincial level.  I was happy to have been part of the school alliance leadership team that advocated on hitting the pause button on school closures.  The Education Minister has called a moratorium on school closures allowing everyone the chance to re-think funding for small town/rural Ontario Schools. I am truly pleased that Education Minister Mitzie Hunter not only listened to our concerns but she also took the time to go on a road trip to several small/rural communities to better understand the issue. I will continue to stay close to the action on this topic and if there is a committee struck to discuss the funding formula I will certainly put my name forward for consideration.  While the decision regarding PSS will not be overturned, I do remain concerned for our smaller sized grade schools.

Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli announced funding that will  buy communities/groups time to allow community hub plans to be formalised.  I discussed this topic with the Minister and his Chief of Staff a few months back and I am  happy to see the Province is listening.  Locally, this may be the lynch pin to finally making the PGH hub a reality, we'll have to get our ask in asap! I am setting up a call with Karen Pitre (Premier Wynne’s Special Adviser on Hubs) to discuss.

We have not discussed the PGH hub in a while as I was awaiting news regarding the GBGH Boards next steps on this.  Last we spoke the LHIN had removed Chigamik from their lead role on creating the PGH hub and the LHIN was hiring a project manager whom would report directly to the GBGH board and put a business case for PGH in front of them.  I have not met or spoken with the GBGH Project Manager and I remain unclear as to any plans/thoughts they may have.  I have however met with the interim GBGH CEO and he shared that he is leaning towards a model that would see GBGH release the hospital to a local group for a minimal cost, see the hospital knocked down, and the new owners constructing a new building on the site to meet their requirements.  In this model the Interim CEO felt that dialysis should be moved to GBGH. I shared with the Interim CEO that as a community we are trying to make lemonade out of the lemons served up to us by the closure of PGH and are anxious for the GBGH Board to make a final decision so we can move forward. I shared as well that in any and all cases (new build or retrofit of the existing facility) that dialysis needs to remain in Penetanguishene.  For clarity, the moving of Dialysis out of our town is not a decision that can be made by the GBGH Board, that decision lies with the Ontario Renal Network folks.

As you can imagine this new line of thinking on PGH has spurred activity, some folks liking the knock down/new build model while others prefer the retrofitting of the existing PGH facility.  I am hosting a meeting of interested parties such as Hospice, Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre, our local Metis Nation, the LHIN, the GBGH Board Chair and Interim CEO to see if we can reach a move forward consensus.  We need a plan that all parties can get on board with and champion.

The week to be

Sunday July 2

After all the Canada Day festivities I’m enjoying the extended long weekend. It was so great to see our community out enjoying Town of Penetanguishene. The setting in our new Park provided a great atmosphere for our community to gather and celebrate!

Monday July 3

Our Town Hall is closed

Tuesday July 4

At 8:35 a.m. I attend a media interview with John Eaton, from the Peak.

In the afternoon I attend a transit discussion and directly after head into a weekly event and media update meeting.

Wednesday July 5

At 11:00 a.m. I am travelling to Friday Harbour - Big Bay Point Road for a tour of this new and exciting facility.

Thursday July 6

In the morning I am travelling to Bradford for a meeting with the York Regional Chair (their version of a warden).  

And from 2:00-4:00 p.m. The Village at Bay Moorings is hosting an appreciation social to honour and celebrate community sponsors in receiving the New Horizon For Seniors Program Grant.

Friday July 7

I attend a monthly breakfast update meeting with MPP Patrick Brown at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday July 8

I man the County of Simcoe Booth the Orillia Farmers market

Please see the poster attached for the days Georgian Bay Garden Tour 

Enjoy the weekend everyone, hope I see you out and about !

Mayor Gerry