Pickering Council rejects proposal for Afro-Caribbean long-term care facility

Sacha Singh

The Pickering Council recently voted against supporting a developer’s request for a minister’s zoning order (MZO) for the construction of a 128-bed long-term care home in the northeast part of the city. The facility, proposed by Kathleen Williams of Atlantic Mas Foundation, was aimed at providing affordable housing, residences for older adults, and retail and office space for the Black, African, and Caribbean communities.

The council rejected the staff’s recommendation to support the MZO request, citing three main concerns: lack of consultation with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, potential environmental impacts, and insufficient infrastructure.  Mayor Kevin Ashe does not agree with the decision.

However, developer Sacha Singh of D&S Group argued that they had already responded to all three points raised by the council during the January 23rd council meeting, and had received support from over 60 commenters in favor of the long-term care and the MZO. Singh also pointed out that, after years of consultation, all seven indigenous nations, including the Mississauga of Scugog, approved the expansion of the urban boundary to include the property as residential homes with community and living areas. The Envision Durham Report was finalized by the Durham region on November 10, 2022.

The council’s decision, and the concerns raised, have sparked some controversy among members of the Black and Caribbean community, who may view it as racially motivated or neglectful of their needs. While a long-term care home catering to their specific needs would be seen as a positive step, it is crucial to address all concerns raised and ensure that the development is sustainable, environmentally responsible, and respectful to all communities involved.

The recommendation to all parties is that they should work together to address the concerns raised by the council and the community, and ensure that the development is carried out in a responsible and sustainable manner.