Waterfront ‘hidden gem’ fails to get on Midland surplus list again

A required two-thirds vote to have Midland council members reconsider the land of 349 Lakewood Dr. was defeated during last night’s regular meeting of council.

The 0.44-acre property in Midland Point along the shore of Georgian Bay was a topic of discussion during the 2023 budget last year, as Mayor Bill Gordon stated that it would net the town a potential $400,000 if sold.

Residents countered that the lot made popular for its small beach access, described by Coun. Bill Meridis as “a hidden gem” last year, would be better suited as open space through rezoning in the residential area. A 400-person petition to save the property was also submitted to the town at the time.

Council’s decision in March was to not include the property on the surplus list.

At the recent meeting of council, a motion for which notice was given was submitted by Gordon in two joined parts; that council reconsider its open space zoning to have it put onto the surplus list.

Due to conversations held in-camera and with potential litigation if details were shared in the formal session of council, Gordon could only speak on the highest level regarding the idea of revisiting the idea, but kept his reasoning to himself. He added that if the first motion to reconsider zoning was defeated, it would negate the second motion for its potential inclusion on this year’s surplus list.

With the absence of Coun. Jim Downer at the meeting, Beth Prost called for a recorded vote.

Voting yay were Gordon, Deputy Mayor Jack Contin, and Coun. Bill Meridis and Roberta Bald; the nays were Coun. Beth Prost, Jamie-Lee Ball, Catherine MacDonald, and Sheldon East for a 4-4 split.

Failing the two-third requirement, the motion was defeated and the secondary motion was removed from discussion. Audience members associated with the 400-person petition aimed at keeping the property out of developers' hands, exited the council chambers shortly after the decision.

A surplus land report on 349 Lakewood Drive from March 2023 is available in the council agenda on the town of Midland website.

Council meetings are held every third Wednesday, 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.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,