STORM’s Letter to Editor re Marylake

Letter to the Editor - King Weekly Sentinel

STORM hopes Chamber will reconsider its support

The following letter, to Michelle  Frauley and the King Chamber of  Commerce, was submitted to the Weekly Sentinel.

I’m writing in the hope you will  reconsider your support of the Long-Term Care Home being planned for  Mary Lake.

Sustainability is a notoriously  difficult term. What is termed sustainable development for some is unstainable for others. For us at Save  the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM),  the sustainability of a given development is determined by reviewing  the ways in which a project conforms with every aspect of the Oak  Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan  (ORMCP).

In this regard and in the opinion of  STORM, there are two major ways the  planned long-term care home at Mary  Lake fails to comply with the ORMCP.

Firstly, the ORMCP is premised  on smart growth that balances social, economic, and ecological needs.  One of the ways in which new development can proceed is by legally  substantiating an "existing use." If  the developer can prove that the proposed development’s use pre-existed  the creation of the ORMCP, that prior  cultural use is given precedence over  the conservation plan.

In the case of the development at  Mary Lake, we believe the proposed  use does not meet what is considered  an existing use. By our understanding, the Shrine at Mary Lake is a  small-scale private facility providing short-term care to certain clergy  Letter to the Editor  members of a religious order. The use  being proposed is a large-scale longterm care facility to serve the general  public.

Secondly, we feel the size of the  development at Mary Lake is well  beyond what is permitted within the  Countryside Area designation. By the  ORMCP, pre-existing development  within the Countryside Area designation allows for a minor amount of  expansion (500 m2).

The project being proposed at Mary  Lake is roughly 3700 m2 – well beyond what is permitted by small-scale  institutional uses. A development of  this size is better suited to the current Settlement Areas and not in the  Countryside Area which is designated to encourage agricultural food production and other rural uses such as  outdoor recreation.

As part of a dynamic planning process that was meant to direct urban  growth while balancing the needs of  future generations, the Oak Ridges  Moraine, the Greenbelt, Niagara Escarpment, and Protected Countryside  areas work in unison to protect some  of the most ecologically and hydrologically significant areas in Southern Ontario. When brought together  these conservation plans keep our  air clean, provide drinking and irrigation water, provide habitat for flora  and fauna, and create a refuge from  the sprawl, smog, and noise of the urban centres.

It is our opinion that the proposed plan for Mary Lake does not comply  with the ORMCP and should not be  supported by the community of King.  Certainly, King needs long-term care  beds, but those beds should be created  in full compliance with the policies  put in place to protect the sustainability of Southern Ontario. The residents of King have always been some  of the most dedicated stewards of the  moraine.

Please uphold this legacy by demanding that the proposed development at Mary Lake conforms to the  ORMCP in both letter and spirit.

Robert Brown
Chair, STORM Coalition