Midland CAO David Denault has high hopes for the upcoming tourism season, but cautioned that protocols would be followed to ensure safe events for all attendees and participants.
The oral report from Denault came during the COVID-19 update at a recent council meeting, addressing recent statistics on the pandemic and its impacts on municipal affairs.
“What we’re really trying to take care of right now – in addition to getting ready for the election – is taking care of all the major events that we’re planning,” stated Denault. “And there’s a significant number of them coming at us.”
Denault cited Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival, the largest tourism event for the town, which is returning on June 11 after a two-year hiatus.
“I was checking in with the plan,” Denault told council, “and (staff) all had the thumbs up, but I really have an appreciation for how much work goes into it. They’re still looking for volunteers; we’re doing great actually on the volunteer front but we still need more.”
Additional events in the upcoming months include: the Kid’s Fishing Derby on June 4; Canada Day on July 1; Tall Ships on the weekend of July 22 through 24; and many cruise ships visiting throughout the summer.
“We’ll have (mobile vaccination clinics) available at some of these for people who want to take advantage of it when they can. We’re making sure the protocols are in place, we’re making sure there’s lots of sanitation required. But we really want to make sure we celebrate as well,” added Denault.
The CAO also noted that enjoyable seasonal conditions and an interest in the real estate and development markets have brought the attractiveness of Midland to many people’s attention. Investments in Midland and a “record number” of successful grant applications have allowed the municipality to tackle many projects around town, most visibly in the infrastructure sector.
“You’re seeing the (Seventh Street) sewer repairs, the harbour work, the playgrounds, streets and roads. You’re seeing our clerk taking care of the election that’s coming up in the fall,” said Denault. “And this week, we welcomed a whole bunch of students that are getting up to speed on helping us at the town, which has been wonderful to see them come back.”
He added that COVID-19 impacts, which most people have seen or experienced could be detrimental to the municipality with unexpected delays as a result, but that the town had been able to handle the situation to the best of its ability.
“The isolation rules are different, which actually is more of a benefit in managing our enterprise, so we’re able to manage our resources a lot better under the current isolation rules,” Denault said.
The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit reports weekly updates on COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations, vaccinations, and more through their website. Surveillance on viral wastewater and COVID-19 patients at Georgian Bay General Hospital is also available on the website to highlight localized signal trends as updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Denault urged residents to give appreciation for Midland staff and volunteers as events occur throughout the year.
“We’re all looking forward to it… and if you see some of those people working on those events, don’t hesitate to give them a pat on the back.”
Full details on events happening this summer can be found on the community events calendar page of the Town of Midland website.
Council meetings are held every third Wednesday, and can be attended virtually through Zoom by contacting the clerk’s department of Midland town hall for a link to the meeting.
Council meetings can also 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.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca