Jonathan Main puts name in hat to be Midland’s next mayor

·4 min read

Coun. Jonathan Main says he wants to take his involvement with the town to the next level.

That's the reason the two-term councillor has decided to run for mayor of Midland in the 2022 municipal election slated for October 24. (Fellow coucillor Bill Gordon has also announced his intentions to seek the mayor's seat).

Main, who will be turning 38 this June, grew up in Midland, attending Monsignor Castex Catholic School and St. Theresa’s Catholic High School before achieving his bachelor's degree in the unique discipline of engineering and society at McMaster University. He currently lives in Midland with his wife Kristin and two children, Theo and Rose.

His professional background in the engineering, energy, and planning sectors led him to the position of town council where he has served two terms with an eye on infrastructure, accessibility and livability for the community.

“I would bring a different perspective and dynamic to the role with my background,” Main said. “I have a multi-disciplinary approach to policy; I’m really focused on infrastructure, livability and positive policies to improve the community.”

Economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge facing the town in the immediate years as well as the future, according to Main, who lists off residential, commercial, industrial, through to infrastructure, tourism and inflation concerns.

“Anything and everything; that’s going to be the biggest issue: the multi-year recovery from COVID,” Main admitted.

His approach for infrastructure, which he stated was the lion’s share of the town’s costs, will be two-pronged: Government funding, and targeted infrastructure funding. Costs and inflationary pressures will also require attention, he noted.

One aspect fellow council members continually throw soft jabs at Main for is his love of trees in urban planning; his balance of engineering with his passion for green-zone accessibility could play a role with Midland Bay Landing, the multi-year, multi-term controversial brownfield development on the waterfront of Georgian Bay.

“With planning, you have to be very thoughtful that it achieves all the goals of the community,” explained Main.

“(It’s important) we’re not sacrificing our values; that public realm and access to the water is paramount, but it also provides opportunities for development, housing, and even splashes of commercial. There might be some restaurants and patios that would really enhance the space; make the park space awesome by having cafes and shops nearby.

“It’s an extension of the downtown, and that would really help improve the harbour front and hopefully that will help address some of our economic concerns, by having this massive brownfield redevelopment,” Main added.

Main said the MBL master plan features a lot of great policy ideas.

"The master plan shows a preliminary layout, but that may change depending on several factors, notably the extent of the brownfield contamination," Main said. "The plan allows for flexibility on parks and public realm, with the plan talking about a hard-scaped urban type plaza and a larger green park with trees and all the typical park amenities.

"The plan also talks about the rarely used tool of strata agreements - which could mean green roofs on top of structures that are publicly owned. The urban design guideline for MBL would allow for the community to provide specific commentary on buildings and parks and what park amenities and public realm features we'd like to see on MBL."

Housing is a “super-critical” point of Main’s platform.

“We’re already talking about a community improvement plan to talk about housing, but it’s going to take more than that,” said Main. “That’s going to be the big emphasis in the next four years, is developing program, funding, and development partners for housing utilizing municipal (surplus) lands.

The platform Main aims to run on was cited through his acknowledgement in the kindness of former Midland mayor George McDonald, who had a lighthearted approach to public policy.

Main stated that his worth as a mayoral candidate resided in his vision for the town, as well as his passion for a community thriving on accessibility, age-friendliness, diverse inclusion for the town’s increasing multicultural mosaic, and green space such as parks.

According to 2021 Census date, Midland's population now stands at 17,817.

Main felt that by strengthening the town’s financial stability through a well-run government, it would allow the municipality to invest in the revitalization of the businesses in its boundary.

“Ultimately, the town of Midland needs growth and development, and intensification having more housing will average the economic cost of running the town over having more residents,” stated Main.

“But that’s a longer-term solution to a big problem.”

Information on the Midland municipal election can be found on the Town of Midland website.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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