LTC at Marylake Monastery

On Feb. 8th Council agenda there is a staff report recommending a strategy for moving forward on the previously expressed interest of the Augustinian Fathers (Ontario), Inc (AFOI) to have a long term care facility (LTC) at Marylake.  The recommendations have surprised me; and given the information provided in the report I have signifcant concerns.  To recap history:  in December there was request for endorsement by Council to endorse a MZO to enable creation of a LTC, along with other facilities  (e.g. hotel, retirement village) at Marylake.  Council rejected with a 6/1 vote endorsing a MZO and recommended the estalishment of a roundtable to consult and discuss details of potential future uses and options.   (click here on minutes and go to page 4.)   As reviewed in the report, the latter has not occurred; and what we, Council, are now being asked is the following: i) accept that an LTC can be built there and be in compliance with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP), ii) delegate authority to Director to approve the site plan application when it is submitted.  The significance of the latter is that neither Council nor Public will know the basis for determining that the impact on the environmental features at Marylake are insignificant and hence that the LTC should be permitted.

As you will see from reading the report a roundtable was not established. Instead Planning Staff, TRCA,York Region and AFOI met to discuss a strategy for building a LTC.  This was done on the basis of Staff’s assessment that such would not be prohibited by ORMCP as the proposed LTC is to be built on same footprint of current building(s) and that there has been long term care activities going on, to some degree, since the 1950’s; the significance of the latter is that this implies that it is not a new use/activity but rather is an expansion of current institutional.  I need to understand better this “history;”  to be blunt, I want to see the evidence.  As a steward of the ORM I think we need to understand this better as this interpretation/acceptance will be used as precedence in the future at other sites across the ORM.

I am shocked to read in the report that Staff concluded that creation of a LTC at Marylake was feasible, in terms of zoning, in December 2019.  As AFOI claims that there is a timing urgency I do not understand why they have waited until January 2021 to present their current proposal; why did they waste our collective time with the MZO proposal in December?  To accomodate them Staff is recommending that this very important site plan application should not be presented to Council!

I will close this post saying that I continue to be skeptical about the wisdom of this proposal in terms of it producing a fiscally sustainable LTC which is respectful of residents and staff.   Since the December report I have been researching the question as to how do we achieve the caliber of facility that is surely desired.  Here are some learnings from “Physical Environments For Long-term Care” edited by Pat Armstrong and Susan Braedley.   Dr. Amstrong is a Canadian sociologist and Distinguished Research Professor at York University. In 2007, Armstrong was awarded the Ontario Health Coalition’s Ethel Meade Award for Excellence in Research in the Public Interest.  Professor Susan Braedley is Assistant Professor with the School of Social Work at Carleton University.  Below are some excerpts:

  • Location is often a neglected issue in planning for and organizing long term residential care. Yet the ‘where’ of long-term residential care (LTRC) plays an important in the overall quality of life for residents, family, volunteers and workers. A residence’s site  location shapes relationships with the surrounding community for residents, visitors, volunteers, families and staff.
  • Real estate costs and prevailing attitudes that older adults deserve ‘peace and quiet’ in pastoral landscapes have biased the location of LTRC homes away from busier urban cores.  In our research we found these suburban locations were often detrimental to residents’ quality of life.  Newer suburban care homes, despite attractive exterior designs, often prove more challenging for residents wishing to get outside, precisely because of their locations.
  • In contrast, being situated within the dynamic heart of a city adjacent to a large, historic downtown market emerged as a key locational advantage for one older Ontario care home we visited. Residents, staff, and family members told us how much they enjoyed easy access to shops, restaurants…
  • No group valued access to stores, food, people and transit more than the growing population of younger, mobility impaired residents.
  • One Canadian home is nicely situated overlooking a park with a stream, and with abundant birds and animals, including deer, all fed by the staff. Residents can certainly be seen viewing nature out their large windows or out in the park area itself, but they congregate more frequently on the other side of the facility, keeping watch on the busy main thoroughfare and the shopping mall across it. They and many of the residents of other homes welcome the sight and sound of traffic.

Council is not being asked to assess the quality of and LTC; but we are being asked to enable the building of one.

4 Responses to “ “LTC at Marylake Monastery”

  1. David Lance says:

    I am curious what the Catholic church thinks about this. The Pope. Maybe CBC can ask them…him? What about Greenpeace, Environmental Defence, David Suzuki.org?
    Maybe sending details out to all media will sort out who in their ranks really care.
    Can the Federal Environment ministry help?

    Thank you for raising concerns so greed does not trump human lives, safety.

  2. Ian Hilley says:

    Debbie:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    This is the MZO in a different form.

    Please can you share what taxes the Fathers pay today & what the LTC facility will generate?

    I hope some of your colleagues on Council will demonstrate maturity & objectivity & cast aside emotional reactions they displayed at the December meeting of Council, in assessing this item.

  3. J. Bruce Craig says:

    Debbie, thank you for your thoughtful commentary regarding the AFOI’s proposed LTC. I believe there are important questions that need to be answered and details that need to be clarified, before Council agrees to the request from the AFOI to support this proposal and commit to beginning the site plan process “as soon as possible.”
    There is the important question of the scale of the proposal and the services required, the impacts on the adjacent sensitive environment including the remarkable large kettle lake and provincially significant wetlands on the Oak Ridges Moraine. The question of water and wastewater servicing is very significant. To the best of my knowledge, policies in provincial plans do not allow the extension of full municipal services beyond settlement boundaries. How will a 188 bed facility be serviced?
    A complete application needs to come forward with these details for Council and public scrutiny and input, part of the long established planning process, before approvals are given.
    I request that Council take their time in not rushing, and ensure full public consultation, a complete application received with the necessary consultant reports and clarity on meeting the provisions of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and King’s Official Plan.
    We will do well to consider this very significant proposal by following the steps in a full planning process.

    • Debbie says:

      Bruce, A couple things. 1. Please send an email to [email protected] with your request and/or register to make a deputation. 2. Our new approved OP (but not in force) does make provision for services to several institutions adjacent to King City urban area provided that the institutions pay for such, there is capacity and it meets criteria identified in terms of impact on environment. See new OP 6.12.1 and 8.3.2. In the KCCP such was permitted for CDS and Seneca. In new OP Villa Nova and Marylake Monastery was added in response to input received in early stages of creating new OP i.e. in 2019. As I write this note it strikes me that new OP is not in force; I wonder why this provision would be allowed prior to it being in force?

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