Surplus provincial land fast-tracked for long-term care home projects

Long-term care home projects put on fast track

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Surplus provincial land will be fast-tracked for long-term care home projects in three suburban cities of the Greater Toronto Area. The Ontario government has released a bid package, via CBRE brokerage services, offering three land parcels tied to requirements for a total of 896 new long-term care beds.

Purchasers must agree to develop and operate long-term care homes for a minimum of 30 years and meet all applicable licensing requirements. The sites will come with an attached Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to permit long-term care uses on a 16-acre site in Oakville and an 11-acre site in Vaughan. The MZO for a 40-acre site in Aurora, which is already zoned for institutional uses including long-term care, will allow for residential development in addition to the stipulation for a 128-bed long-term care facility.

Prospective development proponents are invited to submit bids that include applications for a project-specific construction funding subsidy — an operating grant of up to $23.78 per bed per day for 25 years — and a development grant to cover a portion of eligible project costs, also based on a per-bed formula. “Investors and non-profit organizations may also be eligible for favourable loan programs,” the bid package notes.

None of the sites is located more than four kilometres from a hospital, with the Oakville parcel notably just a few blocks from Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. In addition, the bid package highlights steady population growth in the three cities and the “demonstrated demand” for long-term care spaces, which is in keeping with a province-wide waiting list of more than 38,000 applicants as of March 2020.

Since the MZOs do not prohibit other land uses that the existing municipal zoning already allows, the bid package notes that the sites also provide developers with opportunities for “complementary mixed-use where appropriate”. Along with fast-track development approvals and financial incentives, additional flexibility is hinted.

“To ensure development can be expedited on the sites, consideration will be given to all possible implementation options to enable certainty and quick development timelines,” it states.

“We are delivering on our commitment to transition our seniors from waitlists to modern long-term care homes, providing a warm and safe environment with the quality of care they deserve,” says Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care.

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