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During a global pandemic, uncut grass draws Midland councillor's ire

Council member wants staff to get on top of grass-cutting efforts and deploy the town-owned speed trailer for some passive traffic-calming measures
Coun. Bill Gordon wants the town to get moving on a number of issues. Mehreen Shahid/MidlandToday

A lot of people are not feeling the love about Midland's uncut grass.

At least that's what Coun. Bill Gordon said he had been hearing throughout the summer from residents. He brought it up again at council's committee of the whole meeting in response to an update provided by CAO David Denault.

"I gotta tell you of all the things that people ping me about is the way that the town looks like right now," said Gordon. "If we can pay close attention to the areas that are most visible, the places people are most likely to see, along the parks the driveway along Bayshore, the walking paths, that would be great.

"I've tried making excuses about COVID but they're falling short now that things are opening up again," he added. "We need to get our people back to cutting grass, among the many other duties they have."

The comment from Gordon came after Denault made a reference to the uncut grass during his update.

"We know we're all just catching up on haircuts, so we're going to catch up on grass cutting in addition to that," he said. "We know we're behind on that."

He did not give a timeline for when staff would be able to get to it.

Further, Gordon asked him if staff was looking at recommending a mask bylaw.

Denault said that is something every municipality is considering.

"The guidance we have received from every health unit and I believe most of the municipalities have not enacted a bylaw at this point," he noted, adding under the directives issued by of Dr. Charles Gardner, chief medical officer with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), municipalities don't need to enforce a bylaw.

Enacting a bylaw would, however, signal a sign of support for the SMDHU mandate, said Denault.

"We've already gone through our posting to the general public," he said. "If the (provincial) emergency order should fall, the health officer will give us some direction on whether we need to introduce a bylaw or not."

In that case, Denault said Midland has access to a Barrie draft mask bylaw that can be brought forward for council's consideration.

Coun. Cher Cunningham asked when staff would consider going back to having more than one person per town vehicle.

"That is certainly part of the complication of mobilizing our teams out there," Denault said. "It does create a complicating factor with the limited number of vehicles we have. It's not an excuse. We, like the rest of you, want to be proud of the community we live in. After we take care of any safety concerns and make sure our staff are taken care of safely, we want to make sure we hit the priorities our residents have identified."

He said that all area CAOs had met up the day after the province had announce stage three reopening framework on Monday. 

"(We) got together to figure out what that means for the municipalities," Denault said. "As the interpretation states and we translate what that means for delivering services. We're pretty confident we can announce more of our facilities opening. We're getting a lot of questions from our groups and teams who are anxious to take advantage of the 100-person (outdoors) limit and 50 persons inside." 

Gordon said he thought this was possibly the best time to employ the town-owned speed trailer for some passive traffic-calming measures around Midland.

"This is golden season for collecting the metrics and for traffic calming," he said. "We are getting a lot of complaints about noisy and speeding vehicles in town. We're not the police, but we have this trailer we bought, which is very easy to employ, collects wonderful statistics and slows people down. I'd really like to see that thing back on the road."

Denault referred the question to Andy Campbell, executive director of environment and infrastructure, who wasn't available at the time because the meeting had pushed beyond its 11 p.m. time limit.‚Äč


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Mehreen Shahid

About the Author: Mehreen Shahid

Mehreen Shahid covers municipal issues in Cambridge
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