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Midland council could reconsider its traditional summer hiatus

Former school board trustee Coun. MacDonald looks to explore old bylaws, council summer schedules for next meeting
Midland council for the 2022-2026 term. (Left to right): Coun. Beth Prost, Coun. Bill Meridis, Coun. Catherine MacDonald, Deputy Mayor Jack Contin, Mayor Bill Gordon, Clerk Sherri Edgar, Coun. Jamie-Lee Ball, Coun. Sheldon East, Coun. Roberta Bald, and Coun. Jim Downer.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what about implementing new techniques to replace old bylaws?

Two notices of motion were introduced by Coun. Catherine MacDonald at the recent committee of the whole meeting, addressing concerns she had with the age and accessibility of council’s authority on the town of Midland.

“The first notice of motion I thought of after I read all the fire department’s bylaws – that they discovered that the current version was 28 years old and did not align with expectations of (the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997) or meet legislative changes," said MacDonald.

She was referring to a fire services report within the agenda that would establish and regulate a fire department bylaw intended to update the 1995 bylaw, which was created initially in 1980.

MacDonald proposed that a list of current bylaws be provided to council and if deemed necessary, that an ad-hoc committee be established to review the list to prioritize those in need of upgrading while repealing those which no longer apply.

“This comes from my experience as a trustee,” said MacDonald, who had stated her intent during a MidlandToday questionnaire as a candidate in last year’s election. “We had a board policy review committee and we reviewed our policies, which is more or less our bylaws.”

Her second notice of motion addressed the council agenda itself, asking if council could review the agenda format while looking at schedules which could include meetings in July and August, summer months that Midland council typically steps away from the formal meetings of governance.

“The format review is in regards to the consent agenda,” MacDonald said. “Do we feel it’s serving its purpose or not? It was established by previous councils. I don’t know how this council feels, and I think we should have the opportunity to discuss it after we’ve got almost a year under our belt.”

Mayor Bill Gordon said the notices of motion would be held off for discussion and debate until addressed at the next committee of the whole meeting, “otherwise we’re starting to debate this notice before it’s officially had its time to percolate with the community.”

The staff report to establish and regulate a fire department bylaw, including changes addressing the 1995 bylaw, is available in full in the council agenda on the Town of Midland website.

Council meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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