We have a wonderful opportunity to develop the Town’s waterfront into a focal point for residents and visitors to Midland. Maximizing the attributes of this beautiful Georgian Bay location we can create a mixed-use neighbourhood with parks and open space, enhanced access to the water, and the residential, recreational, cultural, institutional and commercial uses that will make this project an economic driver for the Town both in the near future and for years to come.
Work on the Midland Bay Landing project needs to move ahead with a renewed sense of optimism and energy. Three aspects are top of mind for me:
- Guaranteeing complete public access to the entire waterfront.
- Compliance with the Waterfront Master Plan, and in particular the commitment for 33% of the land to be maintained as parks and open space.
- Ensuring the Town applies the oversight/controls at its disposal, including altering the shareholder agreement if necessary, acceptance of the annual business plan, and planning/zoning approvals.
In June 2013, Council unanimously approved the Unimin Waterfront Lands Master Plan to guide the future redevelopment of this significant site. The Master Plan was developed over the course of six months and included extensive public participation through public meetings, social media, and written comments. The overall goal: position Midland as a unique waterfront community that engages local residents and attracts tourists year-round. The Plan includes a land use framework based on 33% of the property being set aside for parks and open space. Two other categories were identified: Downtown compatible, higher density mixed use with institutional/commercial/retail and residential; and Lower scale mixed use with predominantly residential components.
Efforts by the Town to begin the development process made it clear that we needed some expert help and so the Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation was created with the Town as the sole shareholder. In April, 2018, Council passed a resolution allowing the recruitment of candidates for the Board of Directors and finalizing the Shareholder Direction and Operating Agreement. After an extensive interviewing and vetting process, five successful candidates were chosen, and approved at the September 24, 2018 Council meeting.
Achievements to Date
In the time since the Town purchased the property in July, 2014 for $3.4 million, the value of the land has appreciated substantially. In addition:
- Midland Bay Landing has been incorporated into Midland’s Official Plan which will be the guiding document for all development in the Town.
- The Town has developed a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) which contemplates financial incentives for future development of the site.
- Council authorized the completion of a number of background technical studies: Shoreline Engineering Study, Geotechnical Study, Risk Assessment/Environmental Conditions Study and a Topographical Survey report.
More About the MBLDC
The purpose of the MBLDC is to create a supportive environment for long term economic and community growth and to foster municipal innovation to help make Midland an attractive place to invest and do business. The Town and the MBLDC will work together to ensure a consistent and coordinated overall economic development strategy for the MBL site to support the long-term economic and community development of the Town.
Other important points include:
- The MBLDC’s board of directors shall always include the Town’s Mayor, and one additional Member of Council.
- The Town has the sole authority to establish and amend the composition of the Board.
- The Shareholder Agreement specifically states: (a) public access to the entire waterfront will be an integral part of the development; (b) the waterfront multi-modal trail and “boardwalk” features will be an essential part of the development; (c) the amphitheater and plaza features will be considered as highly desired elements.
- The MBLDC board will be expected to develop and report annually on items such as: (a) Development and creation of partnerships to aid and support new growth and the prospect of expansion projects related to the MBL site; (b) Investment attraction towards the MBL site (i.e. new buildings, jobs, expanded services, land sales, new company relocations, etc.); (c) New business development with respect to the MBL site; (i.e. business openings, new and expanded services, partnership/JV agreements signed, building applications); (d) Additional assessment growth with respect to or associated with the MBL site; and (e) Adherence to The Unimin Waterfront Lands Master Plan.
The links below take you to the full documents referenced above:
Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation:
Waterfront Development Master Plan