The Mayor of King, Steve Pellegrini, today revealed that the Township facilitated the in-person meeting on 1 November 2022 between Michael Rice and Southlake Hospital which resulted in Greenbelt land being offered to Southlake for a nominal fee.

This was three days before the Government first publicly announced that certain lands in the Greenbelt (including the Rice lands) were to be opened up for development.

Mayor Pellegrini told me earlier today: 

“Rice Group reached out to the Township initially to meet regarding their lands in King. Subsequently, the Township facilitated a meeting with the Rice Group and Southlake Hospital.” 

Mayor Pellegrini is sticking to his story that the Province can build a hospital anywhere it likes. He insists:

“The Province does not require removal of land from the Greenbelt to build a hospital. They may build provincial infrastructure on any land that they deem suitable.”

If he is following the advice of professional planning staff in his own municipality then it puts them at odds with the Region’s Chief Planner, Paul Freeman, who says:

“a hospital would be considered institutional and directed to settlement areas given the agricultural designation on the subject lands.” 

On 1 February 2023, Mayor Pellegrini told Newmarket Today they had been looking for a new site for a hospital since 2019 and had explored the area for that reason. He said a different landowner had offered land in that vicinity.

I am waiting to hear from the Municipality how they went about looking for a suitable site in King.  How did they “explore the area” and who was involved in the search? The Mayor says a different landowner had offered land in the vicinity? Who was that landowner and was he or she prepared to gift Greenbelt land to Southlake? Will he tell the Integrity Commissioner even if he won’t tell me?

Although King does not have any records relating to the 1 November 2022 meeting Southlake does.

We wait to hear more.

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My email to Mayor Pellegrini on 24 January 2023:

Dear Mayor Pellegrini

Last month I filed a Freedom of Information request with your municipality asking for sight of records held by the Township relating to the commitment given by the landowner of certain Greenbelt lands in King to provide the necessary lands for the Southlake Regional Health Centre for a nominal fee.

This commitment was reflected in the motion you moved at the Committee of the Whole on 7 November 2022 which was carried unanimously.

On 20 January 2023 the Township clerk, Denny Timm, told me that no responsive records were located but he was able to tell me that the "nominal fee" commitment was conveyed verbally to you during an in-person meeting with Rice Group and Southlake representatives on November 1, 2022.

Would it be possible for you to let me know who called the in-person meeting on 1 November 2022 and for what purpose? 

And did you ask the landowner for his evidence that the lands south of Miller’s Side Road, east of Dufferin and west of Bathurst were developable?

As this is a matter of public interest I very much hope you will feel able to share this information with me.I should be most grateful.I am copying this to Mr Timm.

Gordon Prentice