David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
July 2020
Happy Summer Richmond Hill

To paraphrase the late Stuart McLean - 'Summer is laid out for us like a white line down the centre of a Prairie highway'. Warm weather and sunny days lie before us for the next few months and at this point in the summer we have the promise of lots more to come. I have always really loved summer and I think everyone will agree that this summer in particular has the promise to provide a welcome change to the isolation that we have all been asked to endure during this COVID-19 Pandemic. I hope that everyone can get outside and enjoy the summer weather!

At the same time, while summer allows us to get outside and enjoy the great weather and some further freedoms that confined inside spaces have not allowed, we must still be vigilant to ensure that we are continuing to adhere to all Public Health Protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Summer is here but the virus is not taking a vacation! We must continue to practice all health protocols to ensure our continued success in keeping Richmond Hill’s infection rates in check. To get up to date information about COVID-19 in our community please visit york.ca/covid19 .

On the topic of COVID-19 the Region of York Council recently passed a bylaw that will require people to wear masks in most public spaces beginning July 17th. This requirement will be consistent across all nine York Region Municipalities, including Richmond Hill. There will be exemptions for anyone who can’t wear a mask but generally this bylaw will require wearing a mask whenever it is prudent to do so while shopping or doing business. I very much support this initiative and I am glad that it has finally been passed. I fully realize that wearing a mask is, at the very least uncomfortable and inconvenient for all of us, and for some it’s impossible, but it is a temporary measure to help us get back to normal more quickly and without a further shutdown of our lives and our economy. 

Throughout this pandemic it has been clearly demonstrated just how connected we all are to each other. As such it is also clear that we are all in this together and that we will only get out of this terrible situation by working together, being kind to each other, and being patient as we move towards the goal of getting back to normal. I have included more details about the Mask Bylaw and links to the York Region website about other in place Public Health protocols in an article below.

On a lighter note, Richmond Hill Council recently passed my motion to proclaim August 22nd as Flight of the Monarch Day. I have been fascinated by Monarch Butterflies since I was a child. My brother and I, and more recently my son and I, over the years have collected and raised thousands of caterpillars and watched them transform to butterflies. If you are looking for a fun and educational activity to do with the kids this summer I would encourage you to give raising Monarch caterpillars a try. 

In celebration of Flight of the Monarch Day I have ordered 100 Monarch Butterfly tags so that any Monarch Butterfly raised in Richmond Hill can be tagged by citizens before releasing it on its journey to Mexico. An organization called Monarch Watch oversees this tagging program and then tracks any tag sitings or recoveries during the Monarch's migration to central Mexico.

I would like to challenge my fellow Richmond Hill residents to collectively tag 100 Monarchs between mid August and September this summer. To support citizens who would like to take on this task, I will also be giving away a children's book about how to raise and tag Monarch butterflies (while supplies last) by local Monarch butterfly expert and author Carol Pasternak. The book is titled How to Raise Monarch Butterflies - A Step by Step Guide for Kids. Details about how to get a book and some tags from me can be found below in this e newsletter. 

As always I have also provided information below in this newsletter regarding other important news regarding Council decisions and activities over the past month. It has always been important for me to keep constituents informed. I know this is crucial for a healthy local democracy and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this e newsletter. I always welcome a call or an email from anyone if they have any comments, questions or concerns. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090. I wish everyone all the best, and look forward to being able to speak to residents face to face soon!

Banner Photo - A summer day in Upper Mill Pond Park
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Richmond Hill 2020 Arts Awards
Virtual Presentation
The Richmond Hill Arts Awards profile cultural success stories by recognizing artistic talent and community contribution to the arts sector in Richmond Hill. 

Artists in any discipline including performing (theatre, dance, music), visual, literary, and media arts, textile, craft, and community arts may be nominated.

Last month the virtual presentation of these awards was hosted on Facebook with host Freya Abbas. The video presentation can be viewed here

As the Chair of the Cultural Leadership Council I would like to Congratulate the 2020 Arts Awards Winners!

Youth Arts Awards winner: Jackie Han, origami artist.

Emerging Arts Awards winner: Dr. Jessica Tse, Clarinetist

Min-Career / Professional Arts Awards winner: Joan Burrows, Canadian Playwright

Culture Builder: Ben Lee, Watercolour artist and founder of Dynasty Watercolour Association

For more information about the winners, visit the Arts Awards webpage

Neighbours for the Planet - "Beating the Climate Crisis" 
A local Environmental Citizens Group called Neighbours for the Planet will be hosting an Online Webinar Event entitled Beating the Climate Crisis on Tuesday July 28 from 7-8pm. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/beating-the-climate-crisis-tickets-112258137110   

Evidence of the climate crisis is all around us. From raging wildfires, to melting glaciers, to severe weather events and rising sea levels, we are all affected. The solutions are at hand.

Please join Monica Woodley and Stuart Cumner from Neighbours for the Planet for a slide presentation to learn more about the climate crisis and solutions. And most importantly, what you can do to help!
The slide show is largely based on one of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Slide presentations. It will be followed by a Q & A session.
The event can also be found on   NftP's events calendar.
Virtual Canada Day Celebrations In Richmond Hill
I hope you were able to join us for Richmond Hill's first ever Virtual Canada Day Event. Traditionally Richmond Hill hosts an award winning live and in person Canada Day events but given the COVID-19 circumstances, this year's event was held virtually. It was a great success.

It was clear that even COVID-19 did not stop us from celebrating Canada as many folks tuned in to watch. During the show the presentation of our national anthem with so many different citizens joining in virtually was a highlight for me!

Both the morning and evening shows are still available on our website so if you missed it on Canada Day you can still watch by visiting RichmondHill.ca/CanadaDay

While in between Richmond Hill's morning and afternoon Canada Day show I had the pleasure of virtually attending the Dawoodi Bohra of Canada's Virtual Canada Day Flag Raising. The event featured a simultaneously flag raising event across Canada, from Montreal to Vancouver and Richmond Hill's mosque hosted this event.

Richmond Hill is home of the oldest Bohra Mosque in Canada (located at 8929 Bayview Ave.) and I was happy to join all of the Canadian Dawoodi Bohra Jamaats on Behalf of Anjman e Burhani Toronto, to bring greetings and wish all a very safe and happy Canada Day!
Richmond Hill Council News
Richmond Hill offers More To Do in Stage Two
The City continues to take a gradual and phased reopening approach to protect the community and staff from the risk of COVID-19. At a meeting on June 24, Richmond Hill Council received presentations outlining the Stage 2 reopening plan for recreation services, as well as more help for local

This year, summer programming looks a little different in Richmond Hill. The City is happy to provide a variety of recreation options to keep children active, engage their imaginations, and unleash their creativity while at home or in a physically distant environment. City staff have developed three exciting summer experience options while keeping health and safety the top priority:

Virtual programming (July 20 to August 28) – Online programs for ages 4 to 14 include theatre, Junior LIT, art, dance, poetry and a parent/caregiver and child program. Participants will interact with instructors through Zoom, learn new skills and work towards a goal such as a virtual performance, art show, poetry session and more

Activity kits – Parents can purchase arts and crafts kits and/or a nature-themed activity box that they can do at home with their children.

Phyllis Rawlinson Park Adventure Program (Tuesdays and Thursdays/July 20 to August 28) – Recreation staff will lead participants through nature activities, as well as arts and crafts specifically designed for kids to have fun while maintaining physical distancing. Parents/caregivers will be required to stay on site and be available to help their child with the activities and/or personal care if needed. Program registration and activity kit ordering begins online on Tuesday, June 30 at 7 a.m. for residents. Limited spots and kits are available. Activity kits will be distributed through curbside pickup at Oak Ridges Community Centre beginning July 13. Details are available online at RichmondHill.ca/RecGuide .

The City has also begun reopening splash pads. Ten locations are now open, with Lake Wilcox, Rouge Crest, Crosby Park and Richvale Athletic Field to follow soon. Residents are reminded to practice physical distancing,wash their hands regularly and do not congregate in groups of more than 10. Splash pad locations and opening updates can be found at richmondHill.ca/SplashPads .
Staff also announced that wedding ceremonies and funeral services for groups of up to 50 people will be permitted at Richmond Green.

In addition, the City continues to support local businesses by allowing new patios, patio expansions and outdoor sales and display areas on privately-owned land. Guidelines are available at RichmondHill.ca/HelpforBusinesses .

The main Municipal Offices remain closed to the public. However, the Access Richmond Hill contact centre is available to respond to general inquiries by email at access@richmondhill.ca or by phone at 905-771-8800 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For updates on City services, what’s open and what’s closed, visit RichmondHill.ca/COVID19
Masks will be mandatory in York Region
I am pleased that York Region Council finally passed a motion making mask use mandatory in most indoor spaces by most people (some exemptions apply). This move reflects the wishes of many constituents who have reached out to me in the past few days asking for mandatory mask use to be implemented in York Region.
There are many reasons for mask use during this current pandemic, and many of these are important public health reasons. I would also add the move for mandatory mask use provides consistency of expectations for businesses while adding much needed confidence and certainty for consumers when shopping in our community.

COVID-19 has not gone away even though our infection numbers have thankfully decreased lately. It is in all of our interests to remain vigilant and protect ourselves and our fellow citizens!

To read a good summary of the new initiative contained in an article written by Kim Zarzour from York Region.com please click here .

To visit the Region of York Website and learn about the details about the new Mandatory mask Bylaw please click here .

Statement from Mayor Barrow in Support of Regional Face Mask and Coverings Decision

The health and safety of our staff and the entire Richmond Hill community continues to be our top priority.

Following a unanimous vote at York Regional Council yesterday, effective July 17 until November 30, business owners and operators in Richmond Hill and throughout York Region must have a policy in place to prohibit people from entering enclosed public spaces if they are not wearing a face mask or covering.

These new rules will also apply to all indoor City of Richmond Hill facilities, such as community centres, once they have re-opened to the public. Exceptions will be provided for those unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, children under the age of 5 and those who require accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

I am very pleased this action was supported by all members of Regional Council. I’d like to thank York Regional Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji for his recommendation and the guidance provided by York Region Public Health. I strongly believe a unified approach to the use of face masks and coverings will further protect our communities from the risk of COVID-19.

Over the past several months, our community has done such an incredible job in doing their part to stop the spread by staying distanced and following public health guidelines. I have heard loud and clear the calls from our residents who want masks to be required. I believe Richmond Hill residents will embrace this as the next step in our journey to both save lives and safely re-open.

Consistent with the City’s approach throughout the pandemic, we will take an educational approach to help more people understand the benefits of wearing a face mask or covering in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. I encourage everyone to view the information provided by York Region Public Health at york.ca/mandatorymasks to learn about the proper way to wear and dispose of face masks to protect yourself and others.
We have come so far as a community, but it is not over yet. It is critical we continue to take every precaution possible in our fight against this virus, as we do our best to move forward in our new post-pandemic environment.

By working together, we are getting through this.

Dave Barrow
Richmond Hill Drives Economic Recovery Through Innovation
Helping our local economy recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic is of paramount importance. I have been proud to serve on the Recover Richmond Hill Task Force in order to help facilitate this recovery. The Task Force recently released is recommendations to Council and it was passed unanimously.

The intention of these recommendations is to help drive and stimulate a quick economic recovery. The Recover Richmond Hill Action Plan can be viewed here. The Plan outlines 10 actions the City is taking to help Richmond Hill businesses thrive in the post-pandemic environment.
Innovation and entrepreneurship feature prominently in the plan, which includes:
  1. Providing micro-grants of up to $5000 each to help small businesses implement recovery plans. The program runs in partnership with York Region and the province of Ontario.
  2. Launching a Municipal Business Innovation Contest and Innovation Showcase, providing small businesses an opportunity to partner with the City of Richmond Hill on innovative products and services.
  3. Creating a Local Innovation Centre to support entrepreneurs, incubate new businesses and accelerate business investment.
  4. Developing a Shop Local campaign including a Shop Safe Downtown program, in partnership with the Richmond Hill Board of Trade and the Village of Richmond Hill BIA to encourage residents to shop local and in the historic downtown
Richmond Hill Council also passed a Temporary Use By-law to pave the way for local restaurants and cafés to create or expand outdoor patio space to welcome patrons back safely. Restauranteurs can visit RichmondHill.ca/Patios to learn how to quickly gain approval for their outdoor space.
Throughout the pandemic, staff have been providing one-on-one support through more than 350 consultations with the local business community and online resources. As part of the action plan, the City will also be establishing a business support hotline over the next few weeks to help connect businesses with reopening and recovery programs. 

Additional links...
Council Approves Updated Noise Bylaw
Noise is an issue that must be addressed in any environment, but especially in an urban environment like Richmond Hill. Almost any activity that we undertake on a daily basis produces some level and type of noise as a byproduct of that activity. Like with any pollution, noise needs to be regulated so that people can carry out their daily activities in a reasonable manner while limiting the disturbance caused to neighbouring residents.

As we have grown and will continue to become a more urban environment, it became apparent that it was time to review and update the Noise Bylaw to reflect a more modern standard for various types of noise. Most importantly a new Bylaw needed to reflect public input from residents and their thoughts concerning noise in our environment.

Over the past months our Bylaw Policy staff have conducted public consultations about noise concerning what citizens would like included in new rules regulating noise.

I am in support of this new bylaw and in fact I seconded a motion made by Councillor Chan some time ago, to initiate this review.

As with noise itself, the bylaw is quite detailed and complex but a few of the key directions that are captured in the new bylaw are:
  1. incorporates quantitative regulations (e.g., prohibits noise levels using decibel measurements);
  2. sets standards based on more generalized classifications of noise;
  3. includes updated exemptions and an updated process for approval of Noise By-law exemptions;
  4. clarifies the applicability of regulations to amplified sound heard inside residential dwellings;
  5. eliminates use of “Quiet Zones” but continues to focus protection on residential areas;
  6. adjusts timing restrictions for some noise types;
  7. does not include idling regulations as idling will be addressed in a stand-alone by-law (see accompanying report SRCS.20.16) and,
  8. incorporates offences into the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (“AMPS”).

To read the detailed staff report outlining the changes to the Bylaw please visit https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=33592 .

Flight of the Monarch Day Proclaimed and a Special Challenge for Residents
I saw my first Monarch Butterfly of the year today! Ever since I was a child, I have had a real appreciation for this “miraculous” species. The Monarch I saw today was slightly battered given his long voyage from some place in the Southern United States, likely Texas. It would have been his parents that overwintered in Mexico before they migrated to Texas in the early spring where the Monarch I saw today would have been born.

The Monarch I saw today would have been on a mission to migrate back to Canada to continue the 4 generation cycle that makes up the migration of this species from Canada to Mexico and back each year. It will be the grandchildren of the Monarch that I saw today that will make the journey back to Mexico beginning in late August this Year.

Richmond Hill passed my motion to proclaim Flight of the Monarch Day as August 22nd. This event will celebrate the beginning of his grandchildren’s fall migration back to El Rosario, Mexico. To celebrate this day Richmond Hill Environment staff will host virtual events in partnership with the Toronto Region Conservation (stay tuned for more details).

I am proud of Richmond Hill for signing the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge in 2016 (and the Bee City Pledge in 2018). Due in part to these motions that I put forward, our community has become that much more environmentally friendly for Monarchs and pollinating insects as well.

Since 2016 the actions contained in these pledges have helped Richmond Hill and individual citizens plant approximately 2000 milkweed plants and many native species including flowering plants that support Monarchs and pollinating insects. The initiatives have also helped to make milkweed available to residents through programs like the Healthy Yards program and my 1st Annual Richmond Hill Ecofest last year, and it has helped to restore about 50 acres of public land so that plant species like milkweed can support insect species that depend on these plants.

I am also pleased that each year Richmond Hill has hosted many public programs and educational opportunities that help educate the public about the Monarch Butterfly. These programs better equip people to take positive action in their daily lives, and in their gardens, to help the Monarch come back from near extinction in 2013.

When you see a Monarch Butterfly this summer I hope that you can reflect on the miraculous life that it leads and the wonders of nature that its existence represents. I also hope you can tune in to the programming that is available on August 22nd to celebrate the Flight of the Monarch Day (stay tuned for more details).

I will be marking Flight of the Monarch Day with residents as well. I would like to challenge citizens to get directly involved in raising Monarch Butterflies and in participating in a citizen science tagging program. If you are looking for a fun family activity this might be a good choice.

Flight of the Monarch Richmond Hill Monarch Butterfly Tagging Challenge
I have ordered 100 Monarch tags from a citizen science organization called Monarch Watch. I want to challenge my fellow Richmond Hill residents to help me tag 100 Monarch Butterflies in Richmond Hill in August.

If you would like to participate in this challenge to tag Monarch Butterflies before releasing them on their journey to Mexico, I will supply you with the tags and all the information you need to get started.

If you have never raised or tagged a Monarch Butterfly and don't know where to start, don't worry, I am available to help you through this process. I also have a limited quantity of books by local Author Carol Pasternak called How to Raise Monarch Butterflies - A Step by Step Guide for Kids. This book is available for free for those who want to learn how to do this. I can arrange delivery of the book and the tags - all you need to do is find and raise some Monarch Caterpillars!

The activity is a great one for kids and parents. It's a good opportunity during this pandemic for kids and families to get outside and learn more about the natural world while participating in some citizen science.

For more information please visit my website at https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/flight-of-the-monarch-day-richmond-hill-monarch-butterfly-tagging-challenge/ watch this short video at https://youtu.be/R2skLBiln9Y , or call me or send me an email.

Additional Resources and Links

To receive a free native plant and milkweed kit for your garden (while supplies last) visit this link - https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/pollinators.aspx
Planning Application received for 10684 and 10692 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill Planning staff has received an application for 10684 and 10692 Yonge Street (on Yonge St. between Oxford St. and Elgin Mills Rd.) proposing a 28 storey apartment building on the subject lands with a residential density measured by Floor Space index of 4.15.

The Official Plan for this land allows for a maximum of 15 storeys and a Floor Space index of 2 so the application as proposed, significantly exceeds the limits set out in the Official Plan.
I share a number of concerns with area residents about this proposed development. The limits set out in the Official Plan are important to respect in any application. These limits guide development in a given area but they also ensure that both local neighbourhoods and the wider community are protected by ensuring roads and other infrastructure in the wider area function properly.

The process moving forward will include a thorough analysis of the application by our Planning and Transportation Engineering staff as well as an opportunity for the residents of the area to make their views known to Council as well as myself.
A Council Public Meeting where the public would be formally invited to provide comment to all of Council regarding the application has not yet been set but it is expected that the meeting may be called in the early fall. At that time I would very much encourage everyone to make their views known to Council by speaking at the meeting and/or writing your thoughts to the Clerk at  clerks@richmondhill.ca  so that all of Council can be aware of your concerns. 
After the Council Public Meeting all comments from the public and from members of Council will be given back to our Planning Staff for their analysis along with all the details of the proposed development. A staff report and recommendation to Council will then be presented at a future Council meeting where Council will make a decision to approve the proposal or deny it.

It would be my hope and expectation that a significantly modified and more appropriate application that respects the Official Plan may be able to be negotiated with the applicant instead of this current one. 

Please feel free to each out to me if you have any questions or comments.

Flood Farmstead Park Almost Complete
This new park located on Harris Avenue and Rhine River Street (south of Jefferson Sideroad and west of Yonge Street) is almost complete. The park was named after the Flood Family who owned a farm on the grounds where the park exists today.

The park will include a junior and senior playground, multi-sport court, shade structure, walkways, seating areas and tree plantings.
Our Parks Staff anticipate opening the park by end of July when the remaining items have been completed. The seeding along the west and under the mature evergreens will be completed in the fall when the weather cools down.

Unfortunately the playground will remain closed until the Provincial emergency order has been lifted due to COVID-19.

Upcoming Events
Beautiful Native Plants

On Line Webinar by TRCA
July 15, 2020 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30

Strides for Stroke to benefit Mackenzie Health

For more information please click on the link.

Contact Me
Phone:  905-771-2480
Mobile Phone:  416-346-3090
225 East Beaver Creek Rd, Richmond Hill,
ON L4B 3P4, Canada. 905-771-8800
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