April Snow Showers hopefully bring May Flowers
Spring seems slow to arrive in Richmond Hill this year. Even if the thermometer does not indicate it is spring the fact that Easter, Passover, Nowruz, and Holi, to name a few, all took place recently means that spring and a time of renewal are soon upon us. I think that, after a long Canadian winter, it is safe to say Richmond Hill will welcome spring when it finally arrives!
In this e newsletter there is exciting news about the end of the Ontario Municipal Board, and news about a number of neighbourhood Clean Up Green Up initiatives that are about to happen during April.
There is also information about the upcoming Strides for Stroke Walk/Run in Ward 4 and information about how you can participate to support our Mackenzie Health Hospital. Be aware of temporary road closures on May 5th in the Mill Pond/Heritage Estates area that are related to this event.
For all gardeners and aspiring gardeners, there is information below about a gardening workshop as well as information about Richmond Hill's ever popular Doors Open event later in May.
I would like to thank the volunteers and especially the many hundreds of guests that came out last month to celebrate spring at the 2nd Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. It was a real delight to share this truly Canadian tradition with so many residents of our Town. Stories and experiences about maple syrup were shared by people who have lived in Canada for many years, and also by those who I hope have made maple syrup a part of a new tradition. It would be my hope to make the Maple Syrup Festival a tradition in Richmond Hill, in the years to come.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email at any time. My email address is
, my cell number is 416-346-3090 and my office number is 905-771-2480.
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Banner Photo - First flowers of spring in Richmond Hill
Council News and Highlights
1. Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold Program (MIOTC) Open House
I had the pleasure of attending a celebration at the Jaffari Islamic Centre (just across Bathurst in Vaughan), marking 20 years of Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold (MIOTC) serving homeless in York Region. This organization offers a warm space and meals each winter night at eleven church, synagogue, and mosque locations across Southern York Region. Each location houses the program for one night a week on a rotating basis. In Richmond Hill, St Mary's Anglican Church generously donates their time and space.
MIOTC is a wonderful program that engages over 1500 volunteers and provides a positive experience for those in need of shelter during the cold winter months. Every time I attend one of the MIOTC events I come away thinking the volunteers and faith groups also "benefit" from being able to perform the generous work that they collectively do in helping those in need in our community. One of these very young (7 yrs old) volunteers named Lily Shai is pictured above with Mayor Barrow, her mom, and Richmond Hill resident and program Director, Rehana Sumar.
2. Another Successful Season for the Richmond Hill Centre for the
Council was pleased to receive the annual report highlighting the successful 2016/2017 season for the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (RHCPA). Artists who graced the stage included Our Town Our Talent (Opening Night), comedian Brent Butt, Tokyo Police Club, Zero Gravity Circus and many more. The Family Series featured Peter Rabbit, Toopy and Binoo, Pete and Cat and others that kept children and their families entertained. The Education Series continued to bring the theatre to the classroom through various performances, including Anne of Green Gables, Suessical and Queen Nu's Bully Free Zone. Summer camp programs were also filled to capacity with more than 500 registered campers. Outside of the theatre, the RHCPA also presented shows at Jazz in the Plaza, Richmond Hill's Canada Day celebrations, Concerts in the Park and more. This year, the RHCPA also held community engagement sessions to learn about how to provide better service to the Richmond Hill community. Details of the 2018/2019 season will be available to the public on May 8. For more information about the RHCPA, visit
3. Richmond Hill Supports Cultural Initiatives for a Vibrant Community
Council received a presentation from staff outlining the achievements of Richmond Hill's Cultural Plan in 2017, its sixth year of implementation. The presentation showcased the wide variety of projects and initiatives undertaken by staff, including the launch of Park Stories, the second intake of the Community and Cultural Grant Program, progress on the implementation of the Festival and Events Strategy and the Museum Feasibility Study, continued support for youth engagement in culture (resulting in the third Hill After Dark event), the launch of the Artist in Residence program and premiere of the second installment of Richmond Hill: Cultural Icons featuring RH Thomson, Farley Mowat and Elvis Stojko.
The goal of the Cultural Plan is to enhance and promote cultural activity and creative expression within Richmond Hill between 2012 and 2022. The outcomes of the Plan's implementation help create a more vibrant Richmond Hill by respecting the past, developing a sense of identity and place, and looking to the future. It also provides opportunities and places for people to connect and get involved in their community. For more information about the Cultural Plan, visit
4. Richmond Hill's Cultural Summit
Richmond Hill's Cultural Summit awards were presented to Julia Zolota for a Youth Artist Award, Shonna Foster for an Emerging Artist Award and to Andrea End for a Mid-Career/Established Artist Award. Congratulations to the award winners for their leadership within Richmond Hill's artistic community.
5. PFLAG Stand Proud York Region Annual Gala
PFLAG is an organization supporting York Region's LGBTQ2 community and their families. They are a volunteer led group providing resources and an education network while bringing together all members of the community. In March I had the pleasure of attending their their annual gala raising funds for the organization and the excellent work they do in our community. Thanks to co-chairs Amanda and Michael, pictured to the right, for the annual invitation.
6. Richmond Hill Offers its Support for Humboldt Saskatchewan
At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 9th, Richmond Hill Council rose and held a moment of silence for the victims of the terrible tragedy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. I am pleased that we did this, and appreciate Mayor Barrow taking the time to write an email of support to the Mayor of Humboldt on behalf of the residents of Richmond Hill. This terrible accident has linked so many people from across the country. Anyone who has played competitive hockey can relate to the tragedy.
I remember as a child each winter being locked in a seven game playoff with Coldwater Ontario, the most distant town on our loop, and given our team's typical winning percentage we never had the home ice advantage. My mom was never happy about this driving in the dead of winter, and as a child I never understood her concern. As a parent I do now understand. It is a parent's worse nightmare that they keep hidden from their kids as they happily drive them to play a game that as a country, we love. While the love of hockey and travelling to other towns to play is now a very important part of my adult memories my thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Humboldt and all the communities in Saskatchewan.
Richmond Hill and their green and gold clad hockey players stand shoulder to shoulder with you and hope that this support will, in a small way, provide solace in this time of grief.
Ward 4 Development Applications - Update
There are a number of development applications active in Ward 4 that continue to generate significant interest from residents. This newsletter section is intended to keep everyone informed and updated about the status of these applications. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all active development applications in the ward, but a brief synopsis of select applications. Information that is new since the last newsletter is marked as "**NEW**" Please feel free to contact me at
if you have questions about applications described below or questions about an application that is not included here.
1. 44, 48,54 and 60 Arnold Cres.
This development application was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by the applicant. The hearing wrapped up in March 2017 and a decision from the OMB will be expected soon.
2. 129, 133, 141 Arnold Cres and 230 Major Mackenzie Dr. W.
This property is owned by The Acorn Development Corporation. At this time the developer is in the later stages of completing an application for
redevelopment of this site
. I will host a meeting for the neighbourhood residents as soon as any plans by the developer have been finalized and an application has been submitted to our Planning Staff. I have been informed that this meeting may happen as early as this fall. Please stay tuned to this e newsletter for more information as it becomes available.
3. South Brookside Tertiary Plan
A plan that will guide any development on the lands to the north of the KDA, south of Brookside, known as the Tertiary Plan area, is currently being developed by our Planning Staff. It is also important to note that the owner of most of the lands in question has appealed the development application related to those these lands, to the OMB.
Recently a meeting was hosted for residents to hear about some potential concepts for the South Brookside Tertiary Plan that will guide future development of these lands. All comments and input from this meeting was received by our Planning Staff to help guide the formation of the final plan that is expected to come before Council in May. If you were not able to attend this meeting you are still welcome to send your input to myself by email.
4. 35 Wright St.
The proposed application at 35 Wright St. seeks to amend the Zoning By-Law to permit a 6 storey office building to be constructed on the subject lands.
I hosted a Residents' Meeting in February, where public input was gathered. The next step in this process was a Council Public Meeting held in March. Several residents expressed their views related to the proposal. I am particularly concerned about the lack of parking in the plan and the height of the proposed building. Our Planning staff will take away all of these comments and continue the planning process. In the future a staff report will come to Council with a recommendation regarding the application.
One of the notable features of this property is the listed heritage building that exists on the property. Before any development permissions that would include the removal of a heritage listed building would be granted, it is a requirement that the heritage listed property be assessed by our Heritage Planning Staff. This assessment would then include a recommendation by staff to either allow the building to be demolished, or a recommendation to designate the building under the Planning Act as a Heritage building. Designation under the Planning Act would negate any possibility of demolishing the building.
On September 12th, 2017 the Heritage Richmond Hill Committee (HRH) considered
a staff report, and endorsed a recommendation from our Heritage Planning staff that the house be designated and not allowed to be removed. This recommendation will need to be passed by Council at a future Council Meeting. This is a significant step, because if the existing Heritage building is designated, the original proposal submitted by the applicant will not be possible. However, a proposal that works to incorporate the existing building into a redevelopment may be possible.
I will keep residents informed of next steps and the date for a future Council meeting related to this application when it becomes available. Click
for a link to the HRH staff report.
5. 251, 253 and 259 Oxford Street
The applicant is seeking Council's approval of its Zoning By-law Amendment and draft Plan of Subdivision applications to permit the construction of 14 single detached residential dwellings on its land holdings, with access from a new public road from Oxford Street. It is proposed that two lots would have frontage on Oxford Street, and twelve lots would front the proposed new public road.
There was a statuatory Council Public meeting on March 28th to discuss this application and seek public feedback. If any residents have further feedback please feel free to write your thoughts down and send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. **NEW** 11488 Yonge St and 49 Gamble Rd. (south west corner of Gamble and Yonge)
For the past several years there has been a live development application at this location. The applicant was originally facing some challenges reconciling the application with the existence of a floodplain in this area. They have been working with our Planning Staff and the TRCA to address these concerns, and others. It is my understanding that some progress in coming up with an acceptable proposal has been made, but unfortunately the applicant has chosen to appeal the application to the OMB. This represents a common occurrence lately as many applicants have chosen to appeal to the OMB before the OMB is replaced by the newly created LPAT (there is more information about this issue below).
I am quite disappointed with this appeal. This move, in my opinion, does not allow our planning staff and the public an adequate opportunity to provide meaningful input on the revised application. I will keep residents informed of any new issues related to this application as they become available.
The End (or at least the beginning of the End) of the OMB
On April 4th of this year an important change in Ontario took place. This change received relatively little fanfare, however, it promises to have a lasting and positive impact for municipalities like Richmond Hill. On April 3rd, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) development appeal system was allowed to end, and a new land appeal system known as LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunal) designed to replace the OMB, came into force and effect.
From now on, when a dispute occurs between a development applicant and the municipality and/or residents, the application will be appealed to LPAT not the OMB. The new system will generally mean that more consideration will be given to the elected municipal council's decisions on planning matters.
Unless the decision of council was made contrary to the municipality's Official Plan and the Regional and Provincial planning documents, the new appeal body will have limited power to overturn Council decisions or provide a partial or modified approval that is different to the Council's decision.
Under the OMB system, a decision by Council could be replaced or approved in a modified form, by the OMB. Under the OMB system this has frequently been allowed to happen even in situations where Council's decision was consistent with the municipality's Official Plan as well as Regional and Provincial Planning documents, but disregarded by the OMB. Under the new LPAT system a Council decision cannot be overturned unless the Council decision is not consistent with the municiplity's plans, the Region of York's plans or the Province's plans. Further LPAT cannot provide a modified approval of the application as the OMB has been able to do in the past.
LPAT has a much more straightforward mandate. LPAT has the authority to rule that the Council decision was in conformity with the in place planning regulations, in which case the Council decision will stand. Alternatively LAPT can rule that a Council decision is not in conformity, in which case the decision of council will be referred back to council for another decision that does conform to the Official Plan.
Furthermore, under the new LPAT system, hearings will not start from scratch (known as de novo) like they did under the OMB. Under the LPAT system, all information presented up to the date of application will be considered, and thus the Council's rationale for the decision and staff's recommendations will be seriously and thoroughly considered should an appeal occur. This alone is important because local rationale contained in a decision by council will now play a much more important part in a final decision by LPAT. In general, there will be more emphasis on complete applications and justifications by applicants up front at the time of the application, rather than on-going justifications and modifications that occur right up to, and including during the hearing itself. For more complete information on the new LPAT please visit -
It is very unfortunate that many applicants have recently rushed to exercise their right to appeal to the OMB before the final deadline. Throughout Ontario there has been a significant increase in appeals as the OMB deadline approached. Under the transition rules these appeals are grandfathered under the old OMB rules. As a result, the current OMB now has a significant backlog in the queue. This alone seems proof positive that some in the development industry see the new system as favouring local municipal decision making.
Once the backlog works its way out of the OMB system decisions made by councils like ours will become much more locally based, and any new appeals will be heard under the new LPAT system.
I am proud to have been be an active part of this change. In February of 2016 I moved a motion at Richmond Hill Council that helped to bring about this positive change (to view the motion visit http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/ontario-municipal-board-omb-reform/). At the same time, a number of other municipalities also passed similar motions or endorsed Richmond Hill's motion. This province wide action lead to the formation of our Municipal Leaders Group that was formed to advocate for OMB reform. A Municipal Leaders Summit was also convened that produced our list of recommendations to the Ontario government for reform of the OMB (to view the report visit - http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/omb-reform-municipal-leaders-summit-recommendations-report/ ). It is interesting to note that many of these recommendations were captured in the new LPAT legislation.
Thanks to colleagues from 16 municipalities including Aurora, Newmarket, Markham, Cambridge, Kitchener, Guelph, Welland, Georgina, Uxbridge, Vaughan, Whitby, and Burlington who worked together to see this change come to fruition.
I am proud of the contribution that we made, and I am excited to see this leadership translate to more control over the built form of our communities in the future. After all, the citizens of a community and its elected leaders know their towns and cities far more than an unelected body like the OMB. Local decision making should rest within a community and the damage that has been caused for decades by the OMB had to end.
2nd Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4
Maple Syrup Festival
A very well attended Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival was held on Saturday, March 24 at Elgin West Community Centre and the Sugar Bush of Twickenham Park.
Many Richmond Hill residents came out to celebrate spring with their neighbours, enjoy pancakes with real Maple Syrup, and the sunny spring weather in Richmond Hill.
Special thanks to all the volunteers and our staff who helped to make this event a success! It was an honour to share this spring tradition that has been in my family since the 1800's with my community.
Brookside Road Closure at Yonge Street
Starting Monday March 12, Brookside Road, at Yonge Street, will be closed for approximately three weeks as crews trench across Brookside to conduct utility relocations and installations. As a result, there will be no thru traffic to Brookside from Yonge for the duration of this work.
work dates*: Monday, March 12, 2018, for approximately three weeks
work hours*: 7am-7pm, with closure in place 24/7
what you need to know:
- Access will be maintained to businesses and properties near the work area.
- Access to Early Years Daycare Centre, located at 11130 Yonge, will be maintained from Brookside.
- Access to 11108 Yonge will be maintained from Yonge and Brookside.
- Detour signs will be in place to guide motorists and pedestrians around the closure.
- Paid duty police officers will be on site to help direct traffic as needed.
- Due to the nature of this work, at times there will be noise.
- Some weekend and overnight work may be required.
sidewalk and crosswalk impacts:
- Sidewalks and crosswalks around the work area may be temporarily closed for the duration of this work. Directional signage will be onsite to guide pedestrians around the work zone.
- To learn about the challenge of relocating utilities, click here.
*Please note: As with all construction projects, some work may be re-scheduled due to weather. We'll provide advance notice when possible. Watch
for last-minute updates.
As always, please contact us if you have any questions about the rapidway construction.
Sindiswa Moyo | Community Liaison | 289.338.6733 |
Leslie Pawlowski | Community Liaison | 905.505.1430 |
Free Gardening Workshops
On Street Parking Study
On April 6th Richmond Hill staff hosted a Public Open House to discuss the possibility of allowing overnight, on street parking in Richmond Hill. Thank you to all the residents who came out to the Open House and expressed their opinion, and also to the hundreds of residents who have provided input so far, by way of emails and surveys.
n order to refine any final recommendation, that will ultimately be made to council in the late spring or early summer, our s
taff has begun to narrow the field of possibilities and has asked for more input to expand on the information received so far . A second survey can be accessed at
, and I would encourage you to participate.
Up to this point I have heard that residents would be satisfied with a system whereby a particular street could apply to allow paid permit on street overnight parking if a minimum of 50% of the residents of the street participate in expressing their opinion about this potential change, and of those, over 70% are in favour of allowing this change.
This would mean that a significant majority of those living on a given street would have to agree to the change before it would be considered. Further the proposed process would allow this change to be revoked at a later date using a similar method if the majority opinion of the homeowners of a given street changes.
There are a number of other issues and details that will still need to be thoroughly considered by our Transportation Engineering staff before a report comes before council. As such it is important that residents continue to participate in this process to ensure any decision reflects the wishes of the majority of the community.
York Region District School Board
Town Hall Meetings
Strides for Stroke -
Join My Team
On May 5th, 2018 I will again be running in the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke. This year I would like to invite any member of the community to sign up as a part of my Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers Team to support excellent stroke care in our community, have a fun time, and join your neighbours as we run or walk the 5 km course around the Mill Pond/Heritage Estates communities.
If you are interested in joining the Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers Team you can join at the following link
For more information please visit
DOORS OPEN RICHMOND HILL
Mill Pond Splash
YOUTH ACTION COMMITTEE
Elgin Mills Greenway Update
For those living in the area around Shaftsbury Avenue and Bathurst Street, you may have noticed some construction taking shape just to the east of the Elgin West Community Centre in the ravine. In order to respond to some significant Valleyland erosion a new engineered series of storm ponds, wetlands and trail and park amenities is being constructed. The tree removal process has occurred and construction will soon begin with a completion date set for spring of 2019.
A good summary can also be found in a recent article in the Liberal newspaper. This article also provides information about the project. The article can accessed at this link -
Great Things To See And Do Around Town
Looking for interesting things to do this month in our Community? Look no further - below is a listing of various community events that I would like to promote on behalf of the various organizers. For a complete listing please click on the links below. These links will take you to my website where the full details of the listing for each event can be found.
Mental Health First Aid Winter and Spring Trainings
RHPO 2017/18 Season
The Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 10th anniversary. We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with our audiences, while developing a very fine orchestra since 2008.
The 2017/18 Season will feature a balance of new repertoire and answer requests from audience members to
hear your favourites, recounting some of our
special moments over the years.
The 2017/18 Season celebrates the past and looks to the future, as we continue to explore our unique brand of entertainment that
utilizes the magic of theatre to support each concert program of quality symphonic music, offering the best possible concert going experience. Click here for more.
Training Option #2
Saturday and Sunday May 5 and 6, 2018- 9 AM - 4:30 pm
: CATA - Canadian Academy of Therapeutic Arts
120 Newkirk Road, Unit 12
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 9S7
: Susan Kagan and Jen Bromley
: $195.00 per person. Includes MHFA manual
One in three people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. As a result, this course was developed to help people provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health problem or is experiencing a mental health crisis. This 12 hour course teaches mental health first aid skills.
MHFA training will teach the participants to:
- Recognize the symptoms of mental health problems
- Provide initial help
- Guide a person toward appropriate professional help
- Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from becoming more serious
- Reduce stigma towards those experiencing mental health problems
Who should attend?
Everyone can benefit from MHFA Canada training - members of the general public, teachers, health services providers, university students, emergency workers, frontline workers who deal with the public, volunteers, human resource professionals, employers, community groups.
To Register Contact:
Kairos Blanket Exercise - April 28, 2018
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an experiential learning tool about the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Justice Ministries' staff from the Presbyterian Church in Canada will lead us through an adapted version of the Blanket Exercise which includes references to Presbyterian history. For more information click here.
Chorus York Presents: A Little Rock 'n' Pop
Chorus York, Richmond Hill's community choir, under the direction of Stéphane Potvin, invites you to Spirited & Jazzy, a matin
program of favorites from the world of jazz & spirituals, featuring composers such as George & Ira Gershwin.
The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on May 6 at Thornhill Presbyterian Church, 271 Centre St., Thornhill.
This is Chorus York's final concert in a series of four being presented as part of a second successful season. The choir will also be performing with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra for their annual last Night at the Proms on Sunday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. S
for details. Click here for more information.
Hill House Hospice - 20th Anniversary
Sunday May 6
Registration 9:30 | Walk 11:00 a.m.
Want to try running? Get ready for the Strides for Run/Walk
Join the Richmond Hill Country Club Running Team Today.
Click here for more information.
Ward 4 Community Corner - Your Shot
If you have a great photo taken in Richmond Hill I would love to feature it here. Send it to me at
to be in next month's e-newsletter!
Photos courtesy of Ward 4 Resident Chris Robart