LTC in Marylake, many reasons against

TORONTO – Protests continue follow one after the other at the intersection of Keele St. and 15th Sideroad. It is the entrance way to the Shrine at Mary Lake. The construction/expansion project to demolish the Marylake Augustinian Monastery and “build” the St. Rita at Mary Lake Long Term Care Home (LTC) is raising the ire of local residents in King Township.

They held rallies on October 19, 20 and last Thursday, October 26. Another protest is scheduled for Thursday, November 2, from 2:30 to 4 p.m., at the same location. To say that the protesters are furious is, as they say, an understatement. But, why is the “no” to the construction of a Long Term Care facility in Marylake so strong? What motivates these residents to stand so firmly against the new project?

Many are driven by the practical, environmental issues associated with safeguarding the Greenbelt and the Oak Ridges Moraine. Nancy Hopkinson of Nobleton Village, King Township, says, “It’s really wrong to build an LTC on the Oak Ridges Moraine where there has never been one before. It’s against [all] the regulations.” If she is right, then the strong suggestion is that it is illegal. She added, in a written statement, “We shouldn’t expand the borders of King City Village Community Plan; they (developers) are not supposed to extend the borders of the village anymore. This is even more important because [the Monastery] is not just on the Greenbelt, but on the Oak Ridges Moraine on the Greenbelt!”

Alan H., also of Nobleton, pointed out that the transportation and public accessibility arguments are without foundation. “Recently, we did walk up from the GO station to Marylake; and, even though we were walking pretty fast, it took us 45 minutes,” he said.

The proposed new long-term care home is not close to public transport and walking during inclement weather would make it even harder.

On the surface, this flies in the face of claims by the builders and their representatives… [who] …previously… had communicated to the municipality that staff, volunteers and families could conveniently walk to LTC in Marylake from the GO station in the village of King City.

Structurally, that would seem difficult I, if not impossible. King Township’s Rural Zoning Act (RZA) does not permit the construction of long-term care facilities in rural areas, Alan argues, “there are no water and sewage services, and it has become clear to everyone during the Covid-19 pandemic that staff shortages are worse in LTC homes without easy access to public transport.” Moreover, also playing a role in the opposition of the residents of the area is the lack of transparency in the matter; the whole process so far is very vague. There are no concrete answers.

“I’m not against LTC homes if we need it, but not on the Oak Ridges Moraine and not based on lies,” says Helmut Kruger who lives north of Marylake in rural King Township. “They are not allowed to build on the Oak ridges Moraine unless it [meets two conditions] is a pre-existing business that has been operating since the Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Act and it continues to be operative. The Monastery was never a long-term care home. They based their argument on the false claim that a pre-existing LTC Home was there, at the monastery, which is absolutely not the case.”

Someone may have to address these claims or risk confirming their veracity.

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