All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Monday, December 11th, 2023

Sale of land at McFarland Home property premature

by Pat Zolf
I strongly support the idea of creating an aging in place community on the McFarland lands. This 25 acre jewel of a site is the ideal place for developing an attractive  residential community housing seniors with a variety of needs….ranging from independent living to long term care.

But first of all we need to look at planning options for the overall development of the entire 25 acres site before we start selling off portions of the site on a piecemeal basis. And we need to obtain input from  residents and from the various affected senior communities on the needs of County seniors in order to ensure this Aging in Place community is being developed from the ground up and not from the top down. This should be a community based initiative… serve real community needs.

The report mentions that the Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finance has advised that  there will be a need to expand the McFarland Home in the future and that this property sale could limit the options available for future expansion. Why would Council want to limit the options for the future expansion of the beloved McFarland Home ?

Clearly the sale of this parcel is premature.

That one page concept attached to the report was simply designed  to show the province that it’s possible to accommodate a new Picton hospital on the site. The concept is just lines drawn on a piece of paper. It’s not a concept that has been thought through in any way in terms of accommodating various types of Aging in Place housing.

The attempt to rush through this piecemeal sale by declaring this the statutory meeting ( in other words no chance for further discussion  at Council) when the report was released only last Friday and the meeting is tonight is insulting to the public. In addition,  the ad in the newspapers was misleading in saying  “seniors housing ” was to be built here. Now we all associate the term “seniors’ housing” with places like  Harmony House, the Wellington legion manor, etc.   But that not what’s being proposed here.

Exactly what’s being proposed here is a secret…I was unable to obtain any information as to the proposed use from the writer of this report or from her bosses….and yet this is the statutory meeting to solicit public comments. Again this is insulting to the public! The company named in the proposed sale has a history of building retirement homes and condos for seniors. Is this what they’re proposing to  build here?

This  valuable  site is owned by all of us and it has the capability of becoming an extraordinary showplace of how an attractive Aging in Place community can be developed.

But how do we get there? Certainly not by selling off bits of land on a piecemeal basis!

A.  Council should initiate a planning study with consultants who will:
1. assess the needs of seniors in the county for the various levels of housing that might  be     accommodated on the site, including:
a) expansion requirements of the McFarland long term care facility,..we  lost 80 long term care beds in Picton Manor and     are waiting to hear from the LINH  regarding the number of  beds we might be offered;
b) a retirement home for independent living and/or with assisted living facilities;
c) affordable rental apartments  for seniors;
d) development of condo apartments for seniors;
e) possible community centre

2. develop various site planning options which would accommodate these needs , in     consultation with the various stakeholders in the seniors’ community ( see below)

B. Set up a committee which would include the Administrator of the MacFarland Home, the Administrator of Community Care for Seniors, the Manager of Social Housing for Prince Edward  County and Lennox and Addington, the Manager of Planning Services, a representative from Quinte Healthcare and a representative from the Affordable Housing Working Group. This committee would encourage input from the broader County community on the needs of  seniors and liase with the  consultants on the plans for housing  on the site.

I believe this approach would be an important first step in translating this Aging in Place concept into a community initiative  rather than an initiative driven by the private development industry and a Council frantic for revenue sources. Let’s do it right.

Pat Zolf

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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