Council

Gift of Land? Responsibly Taking Time to Look at the Details.

Questions
Written by Patti Foley

Former Caledon mayor Marolyn Morrison weighs in on the “gift of land” issue that has garnered a lot of attention lately. Morrison explains that there were “strings” attached to the “deal” and the due process required to work out those details would be what prolonged the possible acceptance of the land by the Town. Morrison’s letter (below) was added to the Correspondence section of today’s Council meeting. 

Dear Councillors; Clerk Town of Caledon, Carey deGorter; Peel Federation of Agriculture:

I have decided to write this letter today because Mr. Bryon Wilson has chosen to disclose our discussions that he had asked Councillor deBoer, Mr. Barnes and myself to keep confidential. I felt complelled to clarify mistruths he shared in this delegation.

Mr. Wilson did meet with Councillor Nick deBoer, Mr. Barnes (the Towns former CAO) and myself to discuss “gifting” 17 acres of land to the Town for a future hospital. He was specific in that it had to be a hospital. He also requested that it remain confidential and did not want us to share this information until he had talked with his family and had everything lined up. He said that he would get back to us. He never got back to us and at no time did he make a formal offer to the Town of Caledon while I was Mayor. After the last election I did sit down with the Mayor Elect Allan Thompson and disclosed to him the potential “gift” of land that Mr. Wilson had spoken of and suggested that he follow up on it.

Being a former Board Member on the Chinguacousy Health Services Board, the group that held the lands for the Brampton Civic Hospital, I am well aware of the process for a new hospital. The LHIN, Local Health Integrated Network, is responsible for siting any new health facility. So I took it upon myself to delegate their Board of Directors to ask that they do some forward thinking on where the next major health facility would be sited in Peel Region. The LHIN did the work and were going to bring it to the newly elected Council in Caledon, after the 2014 election.

There seems to be some confusion regarding Mr. Wilson’s “gift”. I ask you, if it is a straight forward gift, which means no strings attached, why is it taking so long to process? Well it is not a straight forward “gift”. It has STRINGS or else I believe that everything would be public. The Town doesn’t have to handle this “In Camera” because it should not include confidential negotiations because it is a “gift”. Well folks If there are truly no strings attached and this is merely a “gift” meaning Mr. Wilson wants nothing in return, then why are there such lengthy negotiations between the Town and Mr. Wilson’s solicitor? Why is it taking months, going back and forth and why, if it is a pure “gift” is this being held In Camera.

Serving as Caledon’s Mayor for 11 years and as a Regional Councillor for 9 years prior to that, I can tell you that it is the Town’s responsibility to be thorough and to look out for the best interest of the entire municipality. There should be nothing to hide here; make the offer, the full offer public….after all…if it is a true “gift” Mr. Wilson should want nothing in return.

I fully support Council asking Mr. Wilson to make these negotiations public, because if it is truly a “gift” with no strings attached then there is nothing to hide. Asking residents if they would like a health care facility in their community, without them knowing the details is very misleading. If Councillors Groves and Shaughnessy believe so much in accountability and transparency, they too will support the information being made public and if anything in return is being demanded by Mr. Wilson they should support it being made public so that the residents can make an informed decision on this issue.

Sincerely

Marolyn Morrison
Former Mayor of Caledon
2003 – 2014

About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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2 Comments

  • Former Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison is absolutely correct. Not only was Mr. Wilson’s donation of land not a “gift”, he was apparently oblivious to the fact that his demands for it to be used for a hospital could not possibly be accommodated – the province sets a minimum acreage for hospital sites of 50 acres and Mr. Wilson’s “gift” fell far short of that requirement.

    I had to research this file previously, and here is the exact quote from Mr. Wilson as submitted to the Region of Peel and recorded in their minutes as “Correspondence Received” :

    “Dividing the property will allow me to move on with my succession plans which need to happen soon as I am now 66 years old. If they reject this, I will accept this without complaint. I have been trying to do this for four years and would greatly appreciate any help to get a decision one way or another.” Bryon Wilson

    This insufficient “donation” of land for a hospital that could not be built until the 2040’s was not a “gift” at all, but a quid pro quo arrangement for a land severance deal from the Town. Sorry, Mr. Wilson, Ms. Groves and Ms Shaugnessy, but your story has no plot.

    And thank you, Marolyn Morrison for your continuing leadership.

  • Groves and Shaunessy have said (as I recall) that the “process” was not confidential. They did not say it was a “negotiation”, they did not say that there were several strings attached, nor did they say that anyone has contacted the Ministry of Health or the LHIN. True to form, they are offering only half the story. One has to wonder, “Why now? Why all of a sudden?”