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Local journalism initiative

King Council refuses approval but wishes to help Augustinians with future plans

The king’s councilors were in a catch-22 with a recent request. The council thrust itself with a disdain for a zoning ordinance at the ministerial level while endorsing the idea of ​​a local project. With few options available to them, the owners of Marylake asked the city council to sponsor an MZO to advance their plans for a large senior citizen complex on their large property north of King City. MZOs are not the preferred planning tool for municipalities, and King’s councilors agreed they didn’t like this route. However, they sympathized with the owners of Marylake who have ambitious plans for the facilities needed. This project will not only fill a large void, but also save the Brotherhood from extinction. The council decided not to approve the request for an MZO but agreed to organize and hold a round table discussion with all stakeholders in the hope that some common ground could be found. According to the staff, the Minister of Local Affairs and Housing has the discretion to issue an MZO without consultation or complaint procedure. MZOs can and (theoretically) issue a zone permit for any type of development without having to follow local OPs or upper-level guidelines. The Augustinian Fathers (Ontario) Inc. inquiry is focused on the redevelopment and revitalization of their property in 14260 Keele next to Villanova. AFOI proposes an “Augustinian Village”, a master plan that includes long-term care and senior housing facilities. It would also provide nursing and even hospice care. The concept is a “Continuum of Care Village” that promotes the concept of aging on the spot. The whole idea arose out of the need to fund the renovation and expansion of the current sights on the property. These include a retreat center, a monastery, the famous Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, a monastery and Henry Pellat’s historic barn. Quinto Annibale said on behalf of AFOI that they are at a crucial crossroads in their history and that the success of that plan will determine their future. Their 65 year history on the property could come to an end if help is in sight and they literally wither. They have resources for maybe two more years of operation, Annibale said, noting that the King Township site is the last remaining Augustinian estate in Canada. They formed a lay panel to examine solutions and sustainability. Your current plans and the need for an MZO are critical to its continued existence. In total, it will take around $ 30 million to upgrade all of the buildings, including $ 10 million to restore Pellat Barn, one of the largest historic barns in Ontario. He said they “turned every stone” to find alternatives, but the restrictive zoning in the Oak Ridges Moraine prohibits any development. That is why the MZO is the key to securing your future. Annibale stressed that her goals are in the public interest and that this application will not set any precedents in terms of zoning. The village concept of your senior citizens is urgently needed and supported by the residents. Natural beauty is at the heart of the property, and protecting the environment is its priority, he said. You plan to use existing building floor plans and make the least invasive changes to respect the ORM. He said AFOI would welcome a historic designation on the barn in order for it to be preserved. He said they weren’t looking for a shortcut, but admitted that this seems like their only route. Some councilors have expressed support for the concept, but all have been concerned about the MZO and the environmental impact on the ORM. City councilor Jakob Schneider said the senior complex was “music for my ears”. He cited a personal example of trying to find shelter for his grandfather. The idea of ​​aging in place is “fantastic” and this project is “a big step in the right direction”. City councilor Jordan Cescolini, who also told a family story, approved the idea and secured much-needed housing for seniors. It would be a “dream” to host a village like this in King, he said. One resident said that if the community endorsed the MZO, they would give the province carte blanche to plan. A Nobleton man who deals with senior housing gave the project unequivocal support. The AFOI proposal would provide housing close to home and maintain family relationships, which would give seniors a “glimmer of hope”. Mary Muter of the Kingscross Ratepayers’ Association said they were concerned that this development would disrupt nearby wetlands and affect the quality of water, plants, wildlife and wells for Kingscross residents. Democracy is at stake and the council cannot support the MZO, she said. Another long-time resident said major projects were an attack on the ORM. And another man said the impact on the watercourse would affect thousands of people downstream. Resident and former councilor Susan Lloyd Swail said the AFOI master plan needed a lot more thought. The ORM plan, she said, is clear in its prohibition of development outside urban areas. The scope of the extension and the buildings is “inconsistent” with what is allowed in the ORM. The property is nowhere near “ready to be shoveled” and she is concerned that AFOI will be able to sell the land to major developers once the permits are granted. Susan Walmer, CEO of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust, said the AFOI is actually looking for an acronym for planning. The proposed development is massive and would definitely have an impact on the “rain barrel in southern Ontario”, as the ORM is called. She suggested that the developers of the AFOI approach provide the necessary funds to restore the buildings. King Township, she said, has always been an environmentalist. A representative of the affected King Township Citizens (CCKT) said the community had processed applications thoroughly in the past. The MZO bypasses important ecological and hydrogeological assessments. Another resident said such an MZO would be an affront to a proper planning process. Councilor Bill Cober said that every proposal, every project, is seen differently. He is familiar with the property and said he was proud to have the Augustinians part of the King community. He said he saw value in both positions and supported senior housing options as well. Councilor Avia Eek said while the arguments are compelling for seniors, King’s latest official plan calls for certain zoning restrictions. Projects must comply with the OP and current provincial guidelines such as the ORMCP. City councilor Debbie Schaefer also sees a need for senior citizen accommodation, but as an environmentalist she is bound by laws such as the ORMCP. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said the community sympathized with the Augustinians. However, King has always been about extensive public consultation and input. He admitted the project has merit, but they would do the citizens a disservice until all aspects are fully investigated. He proposed the round table and added that both MP Deb Schulte (Senior Minister) and MPP Stephen Lecce offered their support. At this point it is important to maintain the local planning context, which Councilor David Boyd said is paramount if the MZO is not supported. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, King Weekly Sentinel

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