Background: On 1 November 2022 the developer Michael Rice offered to gift land at Bathurst in the protected Greenbelt in the Township of King to Southlake for a new acute hospital. This was three days before the Government publicly announced it would be opening-up parts of the Greenbelt to development. King and Southlake have long insisted they have no records of that meeting. 

Drawing a line

On 27 November 2023, Southlake’s former Chief Executive, Arden Krystal, sought to draw a line under the year-long controversy about building a new hospital in rural King Township. 

In exasperation, she declared:

“I have exhausted all disclosure and have no further details.”

Follow-up meeting

In late December 2023, I learned that King Township and Southlake planned to have a “follow-up” to the 1 November 2022 meeting on 19 December 2022. 

It was subsequently re-scheduled to 24 January 2023.

I asked King and Southlake for sight of the records of this important meeting.

Invitations only

Yesterday, 4 April 2024, King released its records, consisting of invitations to the hour-long meeting at King Municipal Centre. Nothing else.

There is no agenda for this follow-up meeting. No minutes. Nor any reports of any kind. It was another one of those ethereal gatherings of important people, discussing consequential matters, where there are no records. Everyone present apparently commits everything said to memory.

Mayor Steve Pellegrini, who fabricates, presides. King’s Chief Administrative Officer, Daniel Kostopoulos, is there too with Southlake’s Chief Executive, Arden Krystal, and the hospital’s Vice President of Capital Facilities, John Marshman.

Who said what to whom remains a complete mystery.

Records unnecessary

Arden Krystal believes there are many instances where record keeping is simply unnecessary. She explained what happened on 1 November 2022:

“During the November 1, 2022 meeting, discussions remained hypothetical and high-level with no commitment to action. It was merely a discussion of potential opportunities since the land in question was in the Greenbelt and, therefore, unavailable in its current state. Even if the land had been available, we were not in a position to provide meaningful commitment as Southlake had not even convened its formal strategic process for redevelopment.”

Original reasoning

Plainly, much of Arden Krystal’s original reasoning no longer applies. The first meeting of Southlake’s Land Acquisition Sub Committee was held on 5 December 2022 and Southlake convened a meeting on 16 January 2023 specifically to discuss the “Bathurst & Davis Drive Opportunity”, the location of the hospital and how and where a new long-term care facility would fit it.

On 1 March 2024, I asked Southlake for sight of all records of that meeting on 24 January 2023. 

Playing it long

They tell me I should expect a reply by 1 May 2024.

We shall see.

Southlake and King both play it long, keeping information close to their chest, hoping we lose interest and go away.

That’s how the system works.

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