Nunziata asks province to fiddle sale of HR Hospital

Frances Nunziata has asked, at the last minute, for City Council to ask the province to control the sale of the Church Street campus of the HRRH. Her motion asks that it be turned into a Long Term Care Facility and a Child Care Centre.

The motion makes a convincing case: there is a shortage of senior care, and “With baby boomers aging and life expectancy increasing, we will see an increase in the demand for long-term care facilities.”

Nunziata’s motion says selling to a “private developer would be short-sighted. This site would be ideal for a Long Term Care Facility, something which the community has repeatedly indicated their support for. A Child Care Centre would also be ideal for this site”.

The city and the hospital are litigating (or settling) the matter now. The terms of the settlement are to be presented at this meeting of council.

Update: 

The motion has been adopted. It’s not binding on the province, however.

The secret future of the hospital site

The Toronto Star has a detailed article on the legal conflict over the Church Street hospital site.

Frances Nunziata, despite her support of other high-rise developments in Weston, seems to have sensed changing public opinion.

Some residents are concerned that the hospital will sell “to the highest bidder” [Nunziata says] who will build townhouses or condo towers — increasing density and traffic in the area.

“The community wants a long-term care (facility), seniors’ residence, a child-care facility, they don’t want the hospital to sell it to a developer to build residential,” she said.

The deed “really was sort of a trump card for us, for the city and the community, because we want institutional uses on the land. It’s really the use of the land the community wants to leverage.”

The secret legal settlement offer will be considered—also in secret—at the next City Council meeting, on November 3. The settlement will only be made public if it is approved by council and only with the permission of the City Solicitor.

HRRH closes

The Humber River Regional Hospital closed this weekend. On Sunday morning at 6 am, the Church Street site shut its doors for the last time.

The hospital has moved to a new building at Keele and Wilson.


(Skip to 12:00)

The move, like the hospital, has been contentious. The future of the Church Street site is uncertain; the hospital board would like to sell it to pay a portion of their part of the bill (which is $200 million) but the city has a claim on some of the land.

Laura Albanese distanced herself from the move in a recent email circular, which included a very interesting passage:

The Province of Ontario does not own the land on which the HRH Church site is located. It is owned by the hospital…. Hospital leaders, including their Board of Directors, must take into account the overall public interest when making decisions .

If true, perhaps the Board might be held to a higher standard than pure profit and the land, perhaps, could be used for something other than another high-rise.

The hospital was contentious long before it closed, however. It was for a time one of the worst hospitals in Canada, and tried to hide the fact.

Still, it tried hard to improve over the past 8 years, and many people, myself included, feel attachments to it for the health care it provided us.

Video by “Across the Board”

InsideToronto on Humber Hospital sale

Weston residents are upset about the potential sale of the Humber River Regional Hospital, says InsideToronto, in a long piece.

According to Dominik Kurek, the city will fight to own the land covered by an old deed, which could thwart an easy sale of the site. The hospital is suing the city for the right to sell

The councillor hosted the meeting to update the community on the court process, saying the city intends to stake its claim to the 1.25-acre portion of the hospital’s 11 acres of land located on Church Street. The Town of Weston had sold the 1.25-acre parcel to the hospital in 1948.

Laura Albanese, however, was “grilled” by the audience for the province’s part.

Laura Albanese, fourth from right, cutting the ribbon on the new site

Upcoming meetings. Big time: Correction

Three important meetings are happening this week. On Monday, October 5 at 7 pm, Frances Nunziata is hosting a meeting on the upcoming fight for the future of the Humber River Regional Hospital site. At issue is a lawsuit between the city and the hospital about what can be done with the land. The meeting will be at Weston CI.

That same night, Tuesday night, the federal candidates are expected to debate at the Weston Mount Dennis Community Place Hub at 1765 Weston Road. All candidates have been invited to participate, and it will be very interesting to see if they all attend. At the last two debates, neither Ahmed Hussen (Liberal) nor James Robinson (Conservative) attended.

The development at John Street will discussed on Wednesday, October 7, at Weston CI. Time: 7:00 pm.

City planning will be there, and feedback will be passed along to the Etobicoke York Community Council. The development includes 396 rental apartments in a 30-storey tower, 39,000 square feet of self-storage, 12,000 square feet of community outdoor space (including the Farmers’ Market), and a 8000 square foot cultural hub.

Selling off taxpayer assets.

This week (Monday) we will have a meeting concerning the land, some of which was donated to the town of Weston for what became Humber River Regional Hospital back in the 1940s. We will also have a residents’ meeting (Wednesday) to hear citizen input regarding the Weston Hub on John Street. In both of these cases, taxpayer funded entities sold or are looking to sell valuable public land to developers. The Toronto Parking Authority sold off the old GO Station parking lot with little fanfare and now HRRH effectively wants to sell its entire site to developer/s.

On the one hand, we have been told by Councillor Nunziata and others, it’s essential for a tower to be built as part of the Weston Hub on the GO site but according to Inside Toronto, she is quoted as being opposed to one on the hospital site,

“The people from the community are very concerned because it is an 11-acre site, it is zoned institutional and they were concerned the hospital was going to try and sell it to the highest bidder and build towers, residential, which they didn’t want.”

I would guess that those same citizens of Weston aren’t cheering about a 31– 30 storey* rental tower on the old GO parking lot but it looks like they’re getting one. Why is the HRRH site any less vulnerable? Answer: it’s probably not.

As the old saying goes, there is only one taxpayer. Why are (often hard fought) public assets compromised by the need for taxpayer funded agencies to raise cash? Surely our cities deserve better and more deliberate planning than this?

One more thing… Farmers Market traders have been concerned for a while that because their new site is so much smaller, they won’t have room for their vehicles. Superimposing the approximate new space allocation (black line) over a satellite view of the Market in full swing is quite telling and may explain traders’ anxiety. This much smaller space may work well with stalls selling selling pickled artisanal mushrooms and the like but it probably won’t be the same for many of our current traders who need their current freedom to spread out.

Farmers Marketl space allocation after the Hub is built.
Farmers Marketl space allocation (black line) after the Hub is built.

Parking may be an issue too as that will be in the lower part of the green space at the bottom of the image.

*Update: Etobicoke York Council minutes have changed (from the original agenda) to now state that the Hub rental apartment will be 30 storeys. Hopefully it was just a typo on the part of clerical staff.