On 1 November 2022 the developer Michael Rice offered land in the protected Greenbelt to Southlake for its proposed new acute hospital.  

Neither Southlake Regional Health Centre nor King Township admit to having any records of that consequential meeting at King Municipal Centre.

Hospitals (and municipalities) have a duty in law to keep records.

We have some graphics from Rice’s presentation but nothing else. 

No need to take notes

Southlake’s former Chief Executive, Arden Krystal, who was there with the hospital’s Director of Capital and Facilities, John Marshman (photo below right), said it was just an initial meeting and there was no need to take notes.

But, without records, how was this multi-million dollar gift of land reported to Southlake’s Board and, specifically, to its Land Acquisition Sub Committee which had been charged with the task of identifying possible sites?

That is - or should I say was - the enduring mystery.  

Word of Mouth

I asked Southlake - via Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner - how this incredibly generous gift of land was reported to the Board. I am told it was by word of mouth.

The Land Acquisition Sub Committee met for the first time on 5 December 2022. The co-chair, John Marshman, reported from memory on what had happened at the meeting over a month earlier. 

He spoke to “known opportunities” (Agenda item 8) but there is no supporting documentation. Southlake tells me that none of the many redactions in the agenda and in the accompanying slide presentation contain any records from the 1 November 2022 meeting – neither maps, plans, graphics nor anything else.

Known Opportunities

All we have are the partially redacted minutes from the 5 December 2022 meeting which (at point 8) refer to “Known Opportunities”.

• The Co-Chair discussed the known opportunity to build a new Southlake in King Township following proposed amendments by the Ontario government to the Greenbelt.

• It was noted that the municipality has provided a preliminary endorsement of the site to build a new hospital.

And that’s it. 

Which rather begs the question: What were these known opportunities? And how did the Land Acquisition Sub Committee get to know about them? 

Did the known opportunities include the offer of land from former Southlake Board Member and land agent John Dunlap? What happened to that?

Michael Rice and the Long Term Care facility 

Michael Rice refused to meet Ontario’s Auditor General as part of her investigation into the Greenbelt scandal but he chose to meet the Integrity Commissioner, David Wake.

In paragraph 289 of his report, the Integrity Commissioner tells us:

“With respect to the King Township site, Mr Rice and his employee (Mr McGovern) told me they were interested in the hospital option, as they anticipated they would be able to potentially develop medical buildings, a long-term care facility and other long-term assets on land that was in the Greenbelt and not necessarily available for other types of development.”

Was any of this – the ancillary medical buildings and long-term care facility - discussed at the 1 November 2022 meeting? Without records we have no way of knowing.

But if Rice didn’t mention it, why not?

And if he did mention it, shouldn’t that have been reported to the Southlake Board?

We know Southlake held a meeting on 16 January 2023 to review the “Bathurst and Davis Drive Opportunity”. (See graphic below)

The first item on the agenda at item 1(a) refers to the size of the building and the quantity of parking required and at 1(b) the LTC fit. 

What does LTC mean in this context if it is not a reference to Long Term Care?

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