Media Release: MBLDC to commission study aimed at pursuing UNESCO Global Geopark Designation
December 15, 2020 – Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation (MBLDC) announced on Wednesday, December 9, that it intends to commission a study regarding pursuing a UNESCO Global Geopark designation.
UNESCO is a global network of expertise, experience, potential partnerships and investment that brings the power of 191 countries committed to the knowledge sharing ideals of UNESCO.
Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas of international geological significance that are managed holistically for protection, education, and sustainable development. Geoparks celebrate regional heritage and sustain local communities.
Joining the UNESCO global network of 161 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 44 countries will enable the exchange of ideas and experiences that will have valuable cultural, economic, and trade benefits for Midland and the region.
“MBLDC's mandate is to support economic development, community growth, and innovation. Having a UNESCO Global Geopark designation will act as the catalyst for branding and marketing MBL, Midland, and the region," said Bill Kernohan, Chair of MBLDC. “In addition, we believe it will enhance development and investment opportunities that will benefit the whole area by expanding tourism with new global tourists and inviting development of the kind we envision for this property."
One example of this is the Stonehammer Geopark in New Brunswick - North America's first Geopark. Since designation in 2015, tourism has blossomed in St. John, five adjoining towns, and the Bay of Fundy area, Geoparks are not only about geology, but it's also about people, society and culture. A UNESCO Geopark designation sends a strong message of excellence, research, culture and prosperity for communities like Midland who are aspiring to evolve into the new world economy and a changing planet.
The study that MBLDC is going to commission will develop a vision and positioning for a UNESCO Global Geopark and to outline the scope, process, stages, timeline, and budget required to obtain a Geopark designation through UNESCO.
Council unanimously approved MBLDC proceeding with the study.
Midland Bay Landing, through extensive public consultation, is planned as a 16-hectare mixed use commercial, retail, educational, and residential community adjoining a continuous waterfront promenade overlooking Georgian Bay and connected to new public parks. Connections to the revitalized downtown Midland and the deep-water harbour will create a destination for both residents and visitors.
Previous News & Information
Update - November 2018
Announcing the Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation Board of Directors
(MIDLAND, ON) Following an extensive public recruitment process, the Town of Midland is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors for the Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation (MBLDC) has been selected. The seven members of the new board of Directors (five external and two Council members) are:
- Robert is the Managing Partner of Den Bosch + Finchley, an award-winning design build development firm operating in the GTA. He is well acquainted with the region as a seasonal resident and through real estate holdings in the area.
Zach Douglas L.L.B.
- Zach has led the start-up and ongoing development of the very successful McMaster Innovation Park (Hamilton). He has served in a number of senior roles at the Saskatchewan Development Corporation focused on economic development and investment management.
Teena Fazio P.Eng, MBA
- A Fellow in Board Governance, Teena has significant experience serving on private, crown and not-for-profit boards. She is a Professional Engineer with a broad range of experience, especially with international business.
William (Bill) Kernohan
- Bill is a Midland resident with over 38 years of experience as an architect, developer, project manager and management consultant. He has managed projects across Canada and internationally.
John Macintyre B.A., C. Dir.
- John brings senior executive leadership with extensive backgrounds in both public and private sectors. He has experience in the government, real estate and development sectors. John is also a seasonal resident of North Simcoe.
Stewart Strathearn – Mayor, Town of Midland
Mike Ross – Deputy Mayor, Town of Midland
“The announcement of the first Board of Directors is a milestone moment for the MBLDC," said Town of Midland Mayor-Elect Stewart Strathearn. “The establishment of the Board allows us to now move forward with the next steps in developing Midland Bay Landing."
First purchased by the Town of Midland in July 2014, Midland Bay Landing (formerly Unimin Lands) is a 16.24 hectare waterfront redevelopment property, with almost 1,100 metres of frontage on Midland Bay. Midland Council approved the creation of the MBLDC as an innovative approach to deliver the Town's vision for this site. Recognizing the unique skills required to oversee the development, the Town engaged in an extensive process to recruit the right people with the right mix of Board skills.
“It's clear that the development of this property has the potential to be a significant economic driver for the Town, and a vital part of the future of our Downtown and our tourism industry," added Mayor Gord McKay. “By creating the Board of Directors, we will significantly improve our prospects for delivering on the plan that the people of Midland have developed.
Update - April 2018
UPDATE APRIL 2018
The Midland Bay Landing Development Corporation was incorporated on April 11, 2018.
Update - December 2017
UPDATE DECEMBER 2017
Midland Council has approved the creation of a Municipal Services/Development Corporation for the Midland Bay Landing development. Midland Bay Landing (formerly the Unimin Lands) is a 16.24 hectare waterfront redevelopment property that the Town acquired in July 2014 for a purchase price of $3.4 million.
One of the final steps in the process leading up to the consideration of the Municipal Services/Development Corporation was a Public Open House held on October 30, 2017. The Staff report summarized the feedback received and presented the Business Case for Council’s final consideration and approval.
The Town will now proceed to incorporate the new entity. Following the creation of the Company, Council will be asked to approve the shareholder direction along with a process to identify and populate the Board of Directors. It is anticipated that these matters will be presented to Council for consideration and approval in the early part of the New Year.
Mayor Gord McKay noted that, “the creation of a Municipal Development/Services Corporation for the Midland Bay Landing site will support the vision which Council and the community have created for the site. This initiative supports Council’s Strategic Plan Priority of Economic Development and Tourism, it is clear that the Midland Bay Landing project holds the potential to be a significant economic driver for the Town, and is a vital component in support of the future of the Downtown.”
The work of the Municipal Services/Development Corporation will be guided by the approved Midland Bay Landing Waterfront Master Plan, which incorporates public waterfront access and public amenities that will remain a legacy for the community to enjoy well into the future.
The Town of Midland is committed to making information available about the new Corporation on the municipal website at www.midland.ca as it becomes available.
Update - April 2017
UPDATE APRIL 2017
Midland Council and the Mountain Ridge Estates Development Inc. have agreed to terminate their agreement respecting the Midland Bay Landing development. The two-year old Memorandum of Understanding (which laid out a timetable for various initiatives) has been mutually terminated by the parties.
Although the business arrangement has come to an end, the Town still retains ownership and control of this prime waterfront asset. While the project did not unfold as anticipated, the Town notes that there have been a number of positive outcomes over the course of this arrangement.
The Town retains a $250,000 security deposit specific for future site remediation and environmental clean-up.
The Town's internal carrying costs over the 2-year period of the agreement were paid by the developer.
An Official Plan Amendment as well as various aspects of the Waterfront Master Plan has been adopted, allowing the conversion of the industrial waterfront site into a vibrant mixed-use waterfront neighbourhood.
Then Town has developed a draft Community Improvement Plan (CIP) which contemplates financial incentives for future development of this site.
The lands have now been converted into Absolute Titles (Land Titles), providing future ownership the security and knowledge that ownership is certified.
The Town has also developed a streamlined planning and approval process for this site that will include further consultation with the community.
The Midland Bay Landing development opportunity continues to appreciate in value given it is Midland's prime waterfront real estate. An asset that is a jewel in Midland's real estate portfolio.
Midland Bay Landing (formerly the Unimin Lands) is a 16.24 hectare waterfront redevelopment property with almost 1,100 metres of frontage on Midland Bay, of Georgian Bay, adjacent to Downtown Midland. In June 2013, Council approved the Unimin Waterfront Lands Master Plan to guide the future redevelopment of this significant brownfield site. The Master Plan was developed over the course of 6 months and included extensive public participation through public meetings, social media, and written comments. A contest was held to select a name for the development and Midland Bay Landing was chosen as the winning entry.
In order to lead the redevelopment of Midland Bay Landing, the Town of Midland acquired the site on July 15, 2014 for a purchase price of $3.4 million. A Waterfront Development Steering Committee wsa established to monitor the project on behalf of Town Council.
An extensive process of identifying potential users and developers was held over a period of months and a Request for Expression of Interest was issued by the Town in July, 2014. This resulted in the selection of Mountain Ridge Estates as the developer of the property.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by both parties for a period of 2 years.