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LETTER: Greenbelt land should not be sacrificed for new hospital

York Region's top planner, Newmarket mayor among voices raised against new Southlake hospital being built on environmentally sensitive land in King, letter writer says
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Newmarket Today welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This is a copy of a letter to Township of King Mayor Steve Pellegrini and councillors.

Re: Newmarket blogger uncovers evidence for Greenbelt investigation, Feb. 2

Did you, Mayor Pellegrini, realize when you were working behind the scenes trying to get the new Southlake Regional Health Centre built in King Township that York Region’s chief planner, Paul Freeman, is against this site? He asks why Greenbelt land must be sacrificed for a new hospital when there are sites within the existing urban boundary. He points out that the 2022 York Region official plan added significant new urban lands north of the Newmarket boundary and in proximity to the planned rapid transit and existing GO station.

Did you read that Victoria Podbielski, spokesperson for Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, has said that if Southlake doesn’t bring forward a hospital plan that the province is satisfied with, the government is prepared to return the land to the Greenbelt?

Are you aware that the 265-acre Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve on Bathurst opposes the King land being taken from the Greenbelt for development? Tharanya Ravikumaran, nature reserves co-ordinator, explained that developing the King land at Bathurst and Green Lane is “likely to cause irreversible harm to one of the last remaining remnants of mature forest and diverse ecological habitats in this region.”

Do you know that Newmarket Mayor John Taylor has “significant concerns” with development on the King site?

Are you aware that this land parcel of land is not just Greenbelt land, but also includes Oak Ridges Moraine? These lands are important for the water purification that happens underground and for absorbing rainwater so that other areas do not get flooded.

In light of all this news, King council should immediately rescind their motion in support of building the new Southlake Regional Health Centre in King and encourage the province to protect King’s Greenbelt and King’s Oak Ridges Moraine.

Nancy Hopkinson