Mayor's Message - March 11, 2018

Posted on Sunday March 11, 2018

Good morning, Bonjour


It is time to Spring Ahead and turn our clocks ahead one hour.  While I am not particularly enamored with losing an hours sleep, I do like the fact that we’re creeping closer to the end of winter and the start of the spring.  Fire Chief Paul Ryan always advises, that when we change our clocks we should also change the batteries in our Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms. Remember, working alarms save lives.


The Real Estate Investment Network just released their top ten places to invest in Ontario report.  The City of Barrie came in at number 4.  Not surprising as Barrie has become a hot real estate commodity and are experiencing one of the highest home price appreciation markets in the province. These housing market conditions are combined with a City of Barrie growth strategy that will see their population grow to 210,000 people complete with a 100,000 jobs by 2031.  The high cost of housing in the GTA is creating a “bounce” effect that is seeing many folks moving north to places like Barrie, Bradford and Innisfil as they are choosing to commute in order to afford a home.

Orillia also jumped into the top ten, coming in at number 9.  Beyond Orillia being such a wonderful and vibrant community to live in, I have sensed, for a while now, that the north end of the county was experiencing growth in employment opportunities and residential growth resulting from what I term as the “ Barrie Bounce”.  As Barrie grows, their housing market prices rise, rents go up and as a result people looking for more affordable housing look north to places such as Orillia, Midland and Penetanguishene.  Orillia being in the top ten is another indicator of the Barrie Bounce phenomenon. Orillia’s new housing starts were up 110 percent last year. 

The associated report highlighted that the economic impact of one new home being built in a community sees a lift of $368,000 in total Gross Domestic Product, creates 4.2 person years of employment, $246,000 in salaries and a total economic gross output of $772,000.  

These numbers are bearing out to be pretty much on the mark as across the county as we see 11,100 jobs in the home construction industry, we see 1.5 Billion in investment value making it one of the largest single wealth-builders for many families and a total of $652 million in wages that get spent within our communities. With the county growing from our current population of 465,000 people to 800,000 people, the new home sector, home renovation sector and multi residential sectors have quietly become significant key employment and economic influencers in our communities.

Another group that quietly go about their business and that have great influence in our communities is our Business Women.  Our area is blessed with many entrepreneurial business women as well as many in leadership roles in the companies they work for. During a recent meeting to discuss our areas economic development undertakings with Minister Steven Del Duca I mentioned the economic impact and input that our Business Women have in our area, they sit on our downtown improvement committees, they sit on our Economic Development Board’s, our BIA’s and are a force in the volunteer sectors that get things done in our towns that would otherwise be left undone. I am happy to share that the Minister will be in our area this Wednesday morning to meet with several of our business women to discuss the economy and to capture their perspectives and thoughts on items they feel are important to them. Our EDCNS board member and Town Councillor Debbie Levy will join me in attending this session.

Things to take note of

Georgian Bay General Hospital is actively recruiting for several new candidates to hold positions on their Board of Directors. Please the attached application for details.


Big congratulations go out to Will Baird and his outstanding staff of Huronia Historical Parks as they won three Provincial Awards for Best Festivals and Events. The awards were received for their First Light, Pumpkinferno and Best Youth Initiative for National Indigenous People’s Day events. Well done !


This Saturday the 27th Annual Sweetwater Harvest Festival: Not Your Average Maple Syrup Festival begins at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre at 10:00 a.m. Come out and celebrate a uniquely Canadian tradition in a distinctively Canadian landscape. Escape to a time when maple syrup was made over an open fire, experience our history and explore nature at its best. I am flipping Pancakes Saturday from 10 till noon, please pop by and say hi!


I hope to see you out for our 3rd Annual March Mudness in support of the GBGH Foundation that takes place on Saturday March 24th at the Rotary Champlain Wendat. Park.  You can walk, run, climb or crawl through 17 challenging obstacles. To register visit


Everyone is welcome to attend Terry Skate 2018 at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre Saturday March 24th from 1:20-2:50 p.m. This hour and half of free skating is in appreciation of your continued support of the annual Terry Fox Run. In 2017, together we raised over $75,000 for cancer research. There will be free hot chocolate and voluntary cash donations to the Terry Fox Foundation will be gratefully accepted at the rink. For more information contact Don Chapman at


The We are the Villagers popular Pancake Breakfast takes place at Phil’s Pub and Eatery in Midland on Sunday March 25th from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 each for adults and $5.00 for children (under five years old). The breakfast includes bacon or sausage and beverage. 100% of the proceeds go to We are the Villagers.


The popular Our Health series continues on Tuesday April 3rd at 7:30 p.m. at the Midland Cultural Centre. The topic is Eye Care and features Dr. Daniel Laurin, an Optometrist, Dr. Daniel Scanlan, an Ophthalmologist and Fran Moreau, who is partially sighted. Dr. Keith Rose will once again be the moderator. Admission is free for those who register in advance at


The Quest Art Gallery is looking to raise $5,000 by April 14th and need some help to do so, please see the attached “we need your help now to  make it happen” email for details.

My week ahead

Monday – sees me connect with CAO Jeff and Anita for our weekly update, followed by an agenda review for the upcoming council meeting.

Tuesday -  finds Anita and I at the county offices for a County Council meeting, post the council meeting I attend an economic development meeting, a team meeting with my day ending at Georgian College for a donor wall appreciation event.

Wednesday -  Councillor Debbie Levy and I join in on the Ministers meeting with our business women, I join other local mayors for the Ministers student economic update session at Georgian College and my day ends with a Town Council meeting.  The agenda can be found at the links below, the hot item on the agenda is the Queens Court Sub-division application.

Regular Council – 7:00pm


Committee of the Whole – Immediately following Council



Thursday – I attend an emergency  management committee meeting



Friday – sees me attend an affordable housing meeting at the county offices.



Saturday – finds me at the Wye Marsh from 10 till noon flipping pancakes.



Well that is all for this week, and don’t forget to changes those clocks !



Mayor Gerry

Gerry Marshall

Warden County of Simcoe,

Mayor Town of Penetanguishene,

County (705) 726-9300 Ext. 1260

Town (705)-549-7453


This e-mail is sent to citizens of Penetanguishene for their information on my personal thoughts, upcoming meetings and activities in Town.  The views expressed in the Mayor's Message do not necessarily represent the views of Council.    Agendas and minutes for Council and Committee meetings can be found in the Digital Library on the Town's website at  If you wish to be removed from the mailing list, please send an e-mail requesting removal to  and I will be happy to do so.