King Township Council Meeting - May 15, 2023
Monday’s council meeting was lengthy (ending at 3am!) as there were several presentations plus a couple of hot topics with many passionate deputants addressing council. Following is a condensed version of events but you can watch the nine hour video here - remember that this link will only be live for two weeks.
• Community Fireworks in Nobleton - Instead of setting off private fireworks, residents are being encouraged to attend the Nobleton Victoria Day Fireworks display on Monday, May 22 at the Nobleton Arena. For the best views, attendees are welcome to sit in the field behind the Nobleton Arena at 15 Old King Road. The show starts at dusk.
The day will also feature a parade at 11 a.m. and a fair with live entertainment, food and retail vendors from noon until 4 p.m. A midway with rides runs from noon until 9 p.m. The band The Practically Hip will provide live music starting at 7:30 p.m.
• Schomberg Agricultural Fair – The 173rd Fair runs May 25th to 28th. Rides start on Thursday and run through the weekend with the popular Demo Derby on Friday. The Grand Parade is on Saturday and starts at 11am. https://schombergfair.com/
• King City Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival - June 10th - Join us for non-stop entertainment, a variety of food trucks and craft beer sampling! 12:00pm to 9:00pm at Memorial Park - 25 Doctors Lane. https://www.kingcraftbeerandfood.com/
• Wood Chip Giveaway - Saturday, May 20th - Bring your shovel and buckets and help yourself to free woodchips at Cold Creek Conservation Area, open Monday to Sunday between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. The woodchip pile is located in the south-west corner of the Visitors Centre Parking Lot. It is self-serve, while quantities last. For more information, email email@example.com or call 905-833-6555.
• Stormwater Management Rate - May 24th from 6:30 - 8:30 - The Township of King manages stormwater using systems such as culverts, ditches, storm sewers and retention ponds. The combination of aging infrastructure, new regulatory requirements and the effects of climate change means that many capital projects are required to keep the system operational. To fund these projects, the Township is implementing a Stormwater Management Tax Rate. Public Information Centre -. https://speaking.king.ca/stormwater-rate
• Children's Puppet Show and Tea party - May 27th, 2023 from 11 am to 12 noon - Children and adventurers alike are cordially invited to our Alice in Wonderland Kids' Puppet Show & Tea Party at the King Heritage & Cultural Centre. Dine at the Mad Hatter's table, indulging in kid-friendly teas and treats, while participating in an interactive "Alice in Wonderland" puppet show presented by Heritage puppeteer Wendy Gale. A puppet-making craft activity is also included in the festivities!
• Mackenzie Health Presentation - Altaf Stationswala, CEO of Mackenzie Health
Mackenzie Health is 60 years old and is now comprised of two hospitals: Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital & Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. The latter opened in June 2021 and was intended to serve the needs of the community for 10 years, but they are already full and looking to expand.
While many may think of SouthLake as King's go-to hospital, it turns out that 50% of King residents who go to a hospital go to Mackenzie Health.
While the government funds a portion of the hospitals' costs, it is up to the Mackenzie Health to fundraise the rest and they are asking for the support of the King community.
• 2019-2022 Corporate Strategic Plan
This was the first Corporate Strategic Plan that King has done and the results were impressive with staff achieving a 37 of 38 Key Actions. Following are the infographics highlighting the various successes over the last four years.
In addition, staff reported on a variety of Community Benefits that were targeted and noted that 78% are trending in the desired direction. Following are some highlights:
• Economic Development Report
Half-way through the implementation of the 2018 - 2022 Economic Development Strategy, the pandemic created a significant disruption. Staff re-focused efforts to provide timely help, guidance and information as necessary to the local business community, namely to some of the hardest hit businesses in the retail, restaurant and tourism sectors.
Notwithstanding the refocused priorities, progress was made on the Strategy's action items including: refreshing and implementing a new Community Improvement Plan; Community Tourism Plan; and continuing the Main Street Revitalization Strategy activation. Several grant programs were leveraged to continue, and enhance, services through Rural Economic Development (RED), Central Counties Tourism Fed Dev Tourism Relief Fund (TRF) and York Region’s Covid recovery support fund.
Proposed Scope of Work for the 2023-2027 Economic Development Plan:
• Set the foundation for King to achieve the York Region Official Plan Integrated Growth Management Policy growth targets, including significant growth goals for King City.
• Build resiliency in the King Economy in the face of uncertainty pertaining to climate change, global heath crises, cloud security and economic uncertainty through fostering both King’s physical and digital economies.
• Broaden King Township’s non‐residential tax base by 2051 through both assertive tax assessment management plans and increasing the number of medium sized businesses (100‐499 employees; currently 12 businesses).
• Help the three King Township villages become complete communities with all the economic amenities to foster quality of life, including ability to shop and dine local, aging in place, and having health related services.
• Foster King’s rural economy to be vibrant, with prosperous farms, abundant locally grown food, a thriving equine economy, and a popular tourist destination for GTA residents.
• 270 Burns Boulevard, 31 Winter Road, King City
This proposal generated lots of feedback from the affected residents and though it was supported by staff it was ultimately not approved by council.
The issue put to council was whether or not a home should be put on a section of property that was created in 1986 as part of a subdivision process (highlighted in red). The lot has some useable tableland and has frontage onto Burns Blvd, but environmental features including an abutting wetland and a wooded area makes the access off Burns Blvd unusable.
The lot has a Site Specific Policy in King's Official Plan which recognizes that there is some developable land and "should access become available to the site without intrusion into any environmental protection area or buffers, consideration may be given to the redesignation of that table land area."
The proponent owns both the proposed new lot and 31 Winter Road (highlighed in yellow below) and has suggested severing a portion of 31 Winter Road to create a driveway (dotted red line in bottom image) to access the lot in behind his property off of Winter Rd.
Several residents spoke on the matter and council heard that 100% of residents on Winter Rd were against the proposal and that they were supported by residents of the surrounding community on Collard Dr, Scott Cres. and Burns Blvd. They noted that opposition was based on several issues including that the proposal for a 26ft driveway frontage lacked uniformity and conformity with the design of the neighbourhood which has frontages that measure 189ft and more with expansive curb appeal. One resident noted that there are countless decisions by the Ontario Land Tribunal and the Ontario Municipal Board which affirm the authority of council to reject the application where it does not respect the form and character of the neighbourhood. It was also pointed out that it was important to balance communal interests over individual interests.
Ultimately, council agreed with the residents with the Mayor noting that "It lacks conformity. We struggle trying to maintain our existing neighbourhoods and I sympathize with the residents."
• Winter Maintenance Report
The Transportation Services department provides winter maintenance covering an area of 360 square kilometers, the largest municipality by land area in York Region. For the 2022/2023 winter season the Township had a team of 19 full-time and part-time staff, along with contracted services, to maintain just under 500 kilometers of rural and urban roads and sidewalks.
Currently, urban roads are treated with a 50/50 salt and sand mix but residents have asked to have straight salt to avoid messy roads. The Public Works Department estimated that this would increase the town's material costs by almost $390,000 plus facility upgrades to accommodate the change. Recall that raising the taxes for the entire township by 1% results in $320,715 so a larger tax increase would be required.
Staff were also asked to investigate the cost of having all windrows removed. As previously noted, the Township delivers windrow removal services on a registration basis for seniors and those with disabilities who do not have someone under the age of 65 in their home. The service is free of charge and triggered for snow fall events >10cm on regular work days (Monday through Friday). In order to provide full windrow removal services the Township would need to tender a new contract as the Township does not have the equipment or in-house forces to deliver this additional level of service. The estimated cost of windrow removal service township wide on an annual basis is over $3 million dollars. Contracted services would also incur additional costs for infrastructure damage/repairs (curb, sod, pavers, etc.) as well as the potential need for additional staff to provide quality assurance for the work performed.
Council is not considering either service upgrade but it is helpful to have this information available when residents ask for these expanded services.
I seconded a motion brought forward by Councillor Debbie Schaefer to appeal a decision of the Committee of Adjustment regarding a Long Term Care home at the Mary Lake Monastary.
As noted in the resolution, "The effect of the appeal is to “stay” the Committee of Adjustment approval, giving Staff time to call a public Council meeting at which the proponent will be asked to provide its complete case for compliance with the Long-Term Care Homes Act 2007 justifying its claim of being an existing, legal non-conforming continued use and furthermore that residents will be given the opportunity to present their own positions;"
As the property in question is on the Oak Ridges Moraine, there are specific regulations that must be followed. Though there are several considerations, a key one is whether the care offered to the Augustinian Father's who live on the property constituted the "Existing Use" that is, according to the Oak Ridges Moraine Plan, a prerequisite for the proposal to proceed.
After hearing from a multitude of concerned citizens, Council convened into closed session to hear legal advice. Council asked the town's lawyer to address a number of the concerns raised by the citizens and as a result Councillor Schaefer and I agreed to withdraw the motion. Council was satisfied that King's lawyer will issue a letter addressing several of the concerns raised by residents outlining the town's position.