Friday, July 12, 2024

Concern About Proposed LTC Facility

Letter to the Editor

To the editor,

It has come to our attention that peopleCare are requesting a number of exceptions to existing planning and municipal guidelines to build a facility on the old Meaford Community School grounds (186 Cook St). Our neighbourhood is very supportive of the building of additional senior care facilities. None of us are taking a “not in my backyard” approach even if it will literally be in our back (or front) yard! But we are concerned about a number of the exceptions they are requesting.

Additionally, we also believe the municipality who are hosting one Zoom meeting, are not providing adequate opportunity for Meaford residents to “a” be made aware, and “b” express their delight or dismay.

Principle in the complex of proposed buildings (Long Term Care, two blocks of townhouses, and Senior Residence apartment) is a six storey, 25-metre-tall senior apartment building. This building may have to be built on additional material to ensure separation with groundwater – so it could be taller than just 25 meters as experienced from street now. Typical Meaford height limits are 11 metres or 3 stories. There is a convoluted exception pathway to five stories in Meaford but it is a “bonus” on a “bonus” system as I understand it. The sixth story is a further exception requested of our council members. Our primary concern with the peopleCare building is, it will become the dominant building in Meaford.

PeopleCare are a successful Southwestern Ontario company who have similar facilities across Ontario. Online at least, none of the other facilities appear to be more than 4 stories – why Meaford?

It is our view that it will distort our skyline, set precedents for building heights and disrupt the built Meaford aesthetic. All of this flies in the face of the Official Plan that states that Meaford Hall should have that special position in our beautiful town. This building will dominate the skyline and our view of Meaford from the land and sea -Georgian Bay. It will not be sympathetic to the existing built and physical environment. The proposed structure will dominate the immediate vicinity. As you come down the escarpment a six stories apartment complex will be the visual center of Meaford.

In other jurisdictions public input is deemed critical. In this case only those houses within 120 metres received notice of this proposal. Many choose not to read that flyer (their miss, their loss) or were located outside the 120 metre catchment. Surprising number of people in Meaford have no idea what may be coming at them. My neighbours and I have repeatedly asked councillors for more public hearings on this subject and so far, we have received only limited support. We are told the Planning Act of Ontario only requires one such session. So, where the city sponsored multiple sessions for consultants/meetings on the re-design / repair Memorial park, this colossal building merits only one session. Does not make sense to us.

The Public Meeting regarding the Official Plan and Zoning Amendment is slated for Monday, July 6, at 5 pm. To participate or listen in, contact the Town Clerk (msmith@meaford.ca). I would also suggest that we need to express your opinions to council on what happens in our town. We all see and support the need for more and better elderly care. This could be great for Meaford as long as it doesn’t come at too high a price for this town. Six stories -in our view- is too high a price.

Along with our neighbours we are working to increase awareness and engage our community to ensure the municipality does the right thing. We would hope the larger community could be made aware via the Meaford Independent.

Yours faithfully

Alan and Kim Reid

With our Collingwood St. neighbours Alex and Barb Hector, Anita and Mike Hunter, and Maddie Dolegowski

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