Deputations – 2021-12-06 re: Mary Lake LTC

Dec 16, 2021

Public Meeting: Rural Zoning By-Law Review

At the December 6, 2021 Council Meeting, there were several excellent deputations regarding the Rural Zoning By-Law Review. Township summaries for the minutes are included as well.

Jennifer Anstey – December 6, 2021

Re:  Zoning By-law for the Countryside

To:  Mayor Steve Pellegrini and Members of King Township Council,

I’m speaking on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township, a long-standing citizens group advocating for the conservation of the natural environment and rural character and roots of King Township. Representing approximately 140 households, CCKT also actively supports long term, sustainable planning based on the principles and policies outlined in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Greenbelt Plan.

CCKT has taken an active interest in the various stages of the Rural Zoning By-law process. We are pleased to see the unique character of each hamlet considered in fine tuning the different zones and also clear identification of appropriate secondary uses on farms.

As an organization dedicated to maintaining the health and integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine and the broader Greenbelt, CCKT does have concerns with parts of the Draft Zoning By-law which we believe challenges the intent of both the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP) and the Greenbelt Plan and compromises the long term vision and success of both plans.

Specifically, CCKT urges council not to include Long Term Care as an exceptional use on lands zoned: Oak Ridges Moraine Feature Protection, Oak Ridges Moraine Natural Core and Linkage, or Oak Ridges Moraine Countryside as suggested in exception #243 in the Zoning By-law for the Countryside.

Between the climate crisis exacerbating extreme weather events and the public’s ever-increasing demands for government to do more to defend the environment, it is crucial that King Township continue its tradition of protecting the land.

The notion that an exception should be made to permit a large-scale project such as a modern Long Term Care facility on such environmentally sensitive land completely contradicts the intent and the spirit of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.

As this exception was likely proposed to accommodate the intent of the Augustin Fathers of Ontario Inc to build a Long Term Care facility on their land, it is worth reminding council that the Mary Lake property features a remarkably large kettle lake and a Provincially Significant Wetland. Note that the term “Provincially Significant Wetland” is a provincial designation reserved for those areas identified as being the most valuable to enhance water quality, control erosion, maintain stream flows, sequester carbon, and much more.

Further, CCKT would like to remind council that we – along with hundreds of others – objected to the assertion earlier this year that the current zoning of the Mary Lake property permits Long Term Care.
In fact, the question of whether Long Term Care is even permitted at Mary Lake under the rules set out in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act is still in question. CCKT finds it deeply concerning that the Augustinian Fathers of Ontario are not more forthcoming with the records that prove that activities on the property fall under the “Existing Use” criteria as set out in the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. It is incredible that a mediator was not able to convince the Augustinian Fathers to release this information and so the matter must now be adjudicated. Why the need for such secrecy?

To be clear, CCKT absolutely recognizes the need for more senior care options in King Township, we simply note that Mary Lake is not a suitable property.

CCKT is delighted that Steve Gilchrist and Victor Doyle – both involved in the creation of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan – support the removal of Long Term Care in exception #243 and trust that council will as well.

Thank you for representing our community and listening to our concerns.

Respectfully,
Jennifer Anstey
on behalf of CCKT

Township Summary

Jennifer Anstey spoke on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) advising of their concerns with parts of the draft Rural Zoning By-law which they believe challenges the intent of both the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Greenbelt Plan. Ms. Anstey asked that Council not include the long-term care as an exceptional use on lands zoned Oak Ridges Moraine Feature Protection, Oak Ridges Moraine Natural Core and Linkage, or Oak Ridges Moraine Countryside as suggested in exception #243 in the Rural Zoning By-law for the Countryside. Ms. Anstey further commented on; effects of climate change, defending the environment, the community objections to the proposed long-term care facility on the Augustinian Fathers of Ontario Inc. property, the large Kettle Lakes, and provincially significant wetlands. Ms. Anstey advised that CCKT objects to the specific exemption of the Marylake property in the new Rural Zoning By-law as this is not a suitable site for this use. Ms. Anstey asked that there be a marked-up draft by-law version available for the public, that has the different changes and additions highlighted, once prepared.

Mary Muter – December 6, 2021
321 Kingscross Drive, King City, ON L7B 1J9

Good evening Mayor Peligrinni and Council,

Thank you for providing this opportunity for public comment on the proposed new rural zoning bylaws.

I am speaking tonight on behalf of the Kingscross Ratepayers Association, and you might wonder why we would be concerned about rural bylaws outside of the King City settlement area. Our lands are downstream of the largest Provincially Wetland in southern Ontario and a major initial part of those wetlands are beside Mary Lake. The associated streams and wetlands drain down through Kingscross and eventually drain into the East Humber River. Any further development there could exacerbate the winter flooding that is occurring in our neighbourhood following the construction of the new homes just north of Kingscross.

 As you know KRA has some significant concerns about the idea of Long Term Care on the Moraine outside the King City Settlement area and we were very surprised to see Long Term Care added as an allowable institutional use on lands at Mary Lake in the proposed new rural zoning. This appears to be an attempt to confirm that Long Term Care is allowed on AFOI lands at Mary Lake. But that decision was made behind closed doors since the documents needed to determine if consistent lawful LTC had been provided prior to November 2001 were not disclosed to you as Mayor and Council before you voted on this last February. You have been elected to represent us and you have heard that there is lack of support from the community for the idea of a long-term care facility being established at Marylake Monastery I am surprised you are not asking for the evidence that sustained LTC was provide prior to November 2001 and that it was carried on consistently.

On behalf of KRA, Donnelly Law filed an FOI request last spring for those very relevant documents as referenced by King planning staff. That FOI request was deemed by KT FOI staff to be allowable and required, but the applicant appealed that decision. Then a mediator was appointed and after many months the mediator was not able to convince the applicant to release the relevant documents, so we now wait for the matter to be adjudicated.

The bottom line here is that you as Council need to see the documents that determine if lawful ie licensed Long Term Care was provided by the AFOI and for how many people. The care of a few Fathers that was not lawful does not translate into allowing a multi-story licensed LTC facility of 140 to 180 beds. A new multi-story building squeezed in between Mary Lake and the extensive Provincially Significant Wetlands would threaten those critical Moraine features – the very reasons why the ORMCP was put in place.  That would be a significant change not allowed under the ORMCP. And in the opinion of the OLT/LPAT experienced planner Allan Ramsay  – intent to provide LTC does not meet the requirements. 

We are pleased that Steve Gilcrest, the former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and under whose government the ORMCP was enacted is speaking here tonight. You should listen very carefully to what his wise opinions are on this attempt to add LTC to rural zoning.

Besides all of what I have just said, you must be listening to the devastating stories of LTC during Covid. We need to learn from those tragedies and the number one lesson is that LTC requires a community of care and needs to be located within settlement areas for the associated required amenities and to be easily accessible to public transit both for visitors and employees.

 You as Council and the planning staff should be consulting with the new owners of the land at Jane and King Road. There is a new opportunity at that location to build a Long Term Care facility there that would be close to the local community and the King City train station. There is also land at the King City arena that should be considered. We would be pleased to assist in those discussions to answer the question – where does LTC fit into the King City settlement area and close to public transit?

In the meantime, while those important discussions get underway, you must reject this ill-conceived idea of LTC at Mary Lake since you have no evidence at hand that it meets the ORMCP. Transparency for your decisions is essential for the needed public support and until those FOI requested relevant documents are released, you do not have public support.   

Mary Muter, Chair, Kingscross Ratepayers Association

Township Summary

Mary Muter spoke on behalf of the Kingscross Ratepayers Association and commented on; development on significant wetlands in southern Ontario, long-term care facilities on the Oak Ridges Moraine outside of the King City Settlement area, proof of documents permitting a long-term care facility at the Marylake Monastery, effects on long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, alternate locations for long-term care facilities in King, and accountability. Ms. Muter asked that King reject the specific exemption in the new proposed Rural Zoning By-law for the long-term care facility at Marylake since there is no evidence that it meets the Oak Ridges Moraine Conformity Plan.

Comments by Steve Gilchrist to King City Council, on behalf of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust

December 6, 2021

Thank you for the opportunity to offer some thoughts regarding the proposed amendments to the existing “Rural” by-law in King City. These comments build on written submissions made by the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, earlier this year, in support of the letter you received from Allan Ramsay, a respected planner with considerable experience with issues affecting the Moraine and the Greenbelt. We have also had the opportunity to consult with Mr. Victor Doyle, the senior planner responsible for the creation of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, who also offered his endorsement of the positions taken by Mr. Ramsay. Mr. Doyle, and we, believe, very strongly, that this discussion of amending the by-law is premature, at least to the extent of considering any changes which affect lands within the Greenbelt. My personal interest in this topic, beyond my work with the Land Trust, arise from my work, as a Member of Provincial Parliament and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, as the MPP who began the process that led to the legislative protection of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Over the past several months, we have been concerned about the possibility of development taking place, at what is currently the Mary Lake monastery, contrary to the clear and numerous directions provided by the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP), the Greenbelt Act and the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement. As the largest land protection charity on the Moraine, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust has more than a philosophical interest in protecting the integrity of the ORMCP, we have a responsibility to the over 60 property owners who have worked with us to implement conservation easements on their properties on the Moraine.

As you Councillors are, undoubtedly, aware, in January of this year, your planning staff met with planners from York Region and the TRCA plus the developer who is seeking to rezone the lands surrounding Mary Lake. What the public may not know is, that after a contentious public meeting in Dec 2020, no staff member from any of these public bodies kept minutes or notes. The public counts on our elected officials and staff to act in an accountable and transparent fashion. Despite this lack of notes, your planners have managed to incorporate, into these proposed amendments, 100% of the requests made by the developer at the public meeting!

In the limited time available to me, this evening, I must restrict my thoughts to the proposed changes affecting lands within the Greenbelt. I’ve had the opportunity to review the original by-law, 74-53, the Conformity By-law passed in 2005, the draft amendments currently proposed and the relevant provincial legislation. That review has revealed some glaring inconsistencies and, to be blunt, some proposals which are just plain contrary to provincial legislation.

In particular, the reference, in the proposed amendments, to add “long-term care home” as an approved use to the Mary Lake property are not only based on, what the community believes, are unfounded and untrue claims by a developer, but they are expressly prevented by provincial legislation. The stated position of your planning staff is that, and I’m quoting, since “old people were cared for at the monastery, then they can permit a LTC facility to be an expansion of existing services”. A critical analysis of this position reveals a myriad of flaws.

In the original By-Law, which incorporated all amendments up to January 1, 1998, there are several references to “senior’s housing” and “nursing homes” though nothing that specifically lists “long-term care homes”. This is important, because, with the passage of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, every municipality was required to ensure that their own by-laws were consistent with that provincial legislation. So, in 2005, King City passed its “Conformity By-Law” to meet that provincial expectation.

Here is why the proposed changes to the Mary Lake property are invalid.

In the definitions, Section 3.102 lists “nursing home” and describes them as “a nursing home within the definition of the “Nursing Homes Act”.

Under that Act, the Nursing Homes Act, 1990, Sec 1(1) nursing homes are described as ““nursing home” means any premises maintained and operated for persons requiring nursing care or in which such care is provided to two or more unrelated persons, but does not include any premises falling under the jurisdiction of the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act – which was the previous name of the legislation which covered long-term care homes. Moreover, the Nursing Homes Act, 1990, 4. (1) No person shall establish, operate or maintain a nursing home except under the authority of a licence issued by the Director under this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.7, s. 4.

There has never been any proof that any license, by any relevant regulatory body, has been granted to this property in regards to its use as a nursing home, hospital, rehabilitation facility or long-term care home, or anything else that could be construed as an equivalent use to the one proposed by your proposed by-law amendment.

In the original by-law, Section 6.30 permits “senior’s housing” but only if constructed by a “Public Authority” – not a private citizen or corporation.

Similarly, Section 7.3 provides that the only exception to the restrictions on building “senior’s housing”, even in Residential Urban areas, are those built by the Ontario Housing Corporation.

There are no exceptions to the general provisions to Rural Institutional zoning, for the lands surrounding the Mary Lake property, in By-Law 74.53 or the Conformity By-Law.

In the Conformity By-Law, in 2005, the Township incorporated the following Section

Adding the following subsection following Section 6.52, “Uses Restricted”

“Major Development: Oak Ridges Moraine

i)            Unless specifically permitted by this By-law, major development is not permitted on lands located within the area defined as Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Area.

ii) Notwithstanding the above, expansion to an existing institutional use within the area defined as Oak Ridges Moraine Plan Area shall be permitted provided Section 6.60 “Institutional” is complied with.

iii) Notwithstanding the above, major development comprising the construction of a building for agricultural use may be permitted in the area defined as Oak Ridges Moraine Plan Area provided a site plan application under Section 41 of the Planning Act is approved by Council. The site plan shall demonstrate that that all requirements of the Oak Ridges Moraine Plan and the Township of King Official Plan including those relating to major development have been met. In addition the permitted uses and performance standards of the applicable zone in By-law 74-53, as amended, shall be complied with”.

Inserting a new subsection following Section 6.59:

6.60 “Oak Ridges Moraine: Existing Institutional Uses

Nothing in this Zoning By-law applies to prevent the expansion of an existing institutional use within the area defined as Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Area, provided:

a. The performance standards set out in Section 21.2 (Institutional Zone) are met;

b. There is no change in use;

c. A Site Plan approval is obtained under Section 41 of the Planning Act if the expansion is proposed within an Oak Ridges Moraine Feature Protection Zone or its corresponding 120 m Area of Influence, a Landform Conservation Area, a Wellhead Protection Area or an Area of High Aquifer Vulnerability (all as defined in this By-law) or if the proposal comprises major development (also as defined in this By-law) demonstrating that the expansion will not adversely affect the ecological integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan Area.

For the avoidance of doubt, in this subsection the expansion of an existing institutional use means that there shall be no change in use. Such expansions shall be subject to Section 21.2 and, where applicable, 21.6 of this By-law.”

H:\ORMCP\Zoning By-law\Final By-law revised 2007\ZBL ORM Final Adopted Version.letter.size.doc 14

Specifically related to lands zoned as Rural Institutional Uses, as is the Mary Lake property,

“21.6 Institutional Rural Settlement Zone (IRS) No person shall undertake any development within the Institutional Rural Settlement (IRS) zone other than the expansion of an existing institutional use in accordance with Section 6.60 ”Institutional” of this By-law that would result in a total gross floor area for all buildings on the lot exceeding 500 square metres without an amendment to this By – law.

So, there is no evidence that “long-term care home” was an existing use, prior to the November 15, 2001 cut-off point for determining uses within the municipality, so the proposed amendments fail based on Section 6.60(b). In addition, even if the Township were to accept, though it should not, that a long-term care use was valid, Section 6.60(a) mandates that the maximum height for any institutional use is 11 metres, or, effectively, 3 stories. There is no such limitation written into the proposed new amendments, nor is there the necessary limitation to 500 square metres, to conform with Section 21.6.

The Township has no ability to add further new uses to land uses with the boundaries covered by the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, after the Conformity By-Law was passed and accepted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The Township has no ability to amend the Conformity By-Law to, retroactively, include any new uses. The Township has no evidence that a licensed long-term care home was in place, on that property as of, or before, the effective date of November 15, 2001 and, in the absence of any introduction of proof to the contrary, then “long-term care home” is, clearly, a new use, and no amount of “interpretation” would permit the inclusion of the proposed new use.

It should be noted that the Premier, himself, has made it clear that he will permit no lands to be removed from the protection of the Greenbelt. Adding new development potential to Greenbelt lands has exactly that effect and should be seen as running contrary to the stated policies of the province.

It is disappointing that the planning staff in your municipality did not reject the Mary Lake proposal, out of hand. The planning deficiencies, particularly the inability to provide definitive evidence of an “existing and continuous” use as a long-term care facility, should have made rejecting that proposal a very rapid proposition. Instead, without producing any evidence that it was an “existing use” as required by provincial legislation and your own by-law, they have proposed the addition of long-term care home to the lands at Mary Lake. We encourage you to reject any proposed amendments to the Rural By-Law which would affect the Mary Lake lands, or, in the minimum, postpone any consideration of these changes under the documents requested, by your residents, under the Freedom of Information Act, that were utilized by the developer to influence the actions of your planning staff, have been made public.

Township Summary

Steve Gilchrist spoke on behalf of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust (ORMLT) noting they believe very strongly that the Rural Zoning By-law is premature, at least to the extent of considering any changes which affect lands within the Greenbelt. Mr. Gilchrist noted specifically the rezoning and possible development of the Marylake Monastery lands is contrary to the clear and numerous directions provided by the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP), the Greenbelt Act, and the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement, and the proposed amendment to add long-term care home as an approved use to this property when it has no proof that any license has been granted as a use under the Nursing Homes Act, 1990, should not be permitted. Mr. Gilchrist spoke further on; the Conformity By-law, major development in the Oak Ridges Moraine, permitted uses identified in the ORMCP, and the province’s mandate to protect the Greenbelt. Mr. Gilchrist asked that Council reject any proposed amendments in the Rural Zoning By-law which would affect the Marylake lands or in the minimum, postpone any consideration of changes until documents requested by residents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) producing evidence of an ‘existing and continuous use as a long-term care facility’ have been made public.

Deputation to Council re Rural Zoning Bylaws  6 Dec 2021

Mayor and Council,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this vital Rural Zoning Bylaw draft.  I am before you this evening to submit that the exemption of a Long-Term Care home should not be added to King’s new Rural Zoning Bylaws.

If I have misunderstood some basic info, then please set me straight.

A major aspect is whether an LTC was functioning at Mary Lake before the creation of the ORM and now meets the regulations of the Long- Term Care Act.

King staff apparently considers that it does.

At issue amongst the public is that the public is “in the dark” re how this zoning decision that an LTC had periodically operated at Mary Lake was made by staff several years ago.  Yes, there is a very persuasive, biased letter from the Fathers that argues that an LTC has operated there for many years.  However, we have no idea what other evidence was used to reach the decision.  Were any experts re LTC, nursing care, physiotherapy, pharmacy care, occupational therapists, nutritionists, mental heath, rehab, etc., etc., consulted?  For example, a pharmacy dispensary is listed as a one of the services.  Was this anything more than a medicine cabinet administered by dedicated nuns?  The public has no idea!  Does the staff have proof?

I know of at least one request for an explanation concerning this staff ruling that was sent 10 months ago.  No justification has ever been received.

Were any counter arguments considered?  If not, why not?  Do any records of consultations remain?  Was there any legal input?  Your concerned voters need to know how the decision was made.

Perhaps everything complies with the Act.  We have no evidence that this is the case.

No-one expects King staff to be experts in LTC.  Well-intentioned errors can happen.  But such important decisions should be re-considered in light of further evidence and research. 

Many King residents wish there to be a fulsome, open, two-sided re-consideration of the issue of the past existence of a full LTC on the site.  How does this relate to the standards of today and the post-pandemic future?

Could staff please explain why this exemption is being proposed?

I request that until this important issue is solved, no exemption be given for the Mary Lake facility.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

LCol (ret’d) Susan Beharriell

Township Summary

Susan Beharriell asked that long-term care facilities not be included in the new Rural Zoning By-law and asked for an explanation as to why the property owned by the Augustinian Fathers (Marylake facility) has been identified for exemption in the proposed by-law and asked that no exemption be given for the facility until justification of their “pre-existing use” has been clarified.