David Onley Park, named after the Midland-born Ontario Lt.-Gov. who championed accessibility in the province.Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In a town of 17,820 people, how many seniors does it take to change a lightbulb in Midland? Only two, if the number of applicants to the seniors committee is any indication.

The issue of committee applications came up at the recent meeting of council, with Midland Mayor Bill Gordon bringing attention to the plight of a municipality wanting senior input and the “novel idea” put forward by clerk Sherri Edgar.

“The town has been experiencing difficulty in having people apply to committees,” said Edgar, emphasizing, “we’re really struggling to get volunteers for committees.”

While the seniors council was merely an advisory committee within the town, the accessibility advisory committee was statutory and mandated by the province, according to the town’s 2017 service delivery review.

“In advance of this new term, the province had decided to combine the seniors and accessibility (committees) which we did (in January) because we thought it would reduce the numbers from 25 members – we would only need seven to nine.”

Edgar explained that since January when advertising for various committees went out to the municipality, only two applications were sent in for the seniors. Due to Midland’s non-compliance within the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the town was contacted by the provincial Ombudsman.

As a solution, Edgar said the town reached out to Simcoe County in requesting to join their joint accessibility advisory committee (AAC) along with other county municipalities.

“And they were more than happy to take us on so that we would be in compliance, which is great,” Edgar shared.

As part of the evening’s consent agenda, staff were recommending the report to amalgamate with the county’s AAC be approved, after which the resolution would be sent to county council for approval there as well. That would allow one Midland resident to sit on the county committee as a representative.

However, doing such would re-open the town’s own standalone seniors committee for membership once again. 

Said Edgar: “So we’re going to re-advertise for seniors – and again, we’ve only had two applications in the last term; the seniors committee only met… they had six meetings scheduled and I believe they only had two because there was a lack of attendance – so I’m not sure what will happen.

“We will re-advertise for the seniors committee, and hopefully we’ll have some more applicants  for that committee,” Edgar concluded, and the consent agenda was approved by council shortly after.

In 2019, the regular review of the AODA was performed by Midland’s own David C. Onley, the late Lieutenant Governor for the province, who provided his recommendations regarding the Act.

In the 2021 Canada Census, the population of Midland was 17,820 with a demographic of nearly 5,000 seniors (aged 65 years and older) living in town; with 2,800 women and nearly 2,200 men.

Information on joining the town’s various committees is available on the boards and committees page of the town website.

The Amalgamating with Simcoe County Joint AAC report 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.

By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 08, 2023 at 11:18

This item reprinted with permission from   MidlandToday.ca   Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated