David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
September 2021
Welcome to Fall in Richmond Hill
Welcome to fall! I hope that everyone had a great summer. This fall feels a bit different to me. Like every fall we get back into a more normal rhythm of life, but this fall does not yet feel quite "normal". In any case I would encourage everyone to keep following public health protocols and get vaccinated if you are eligible to, and have not yet done so.

Thanks to the participants in the Richmond Hill Monarch Tagging Challenge. The final data has not yet been submitted but we have, as a community again this year, helped to contribute some citizen science to efforts to protect this iconic species. Thanks also to Susan for the banner photo this month. This photo shows one of her Monarchs tagged and ready to make the journey to Mexico.

Council has resumed its regular cycle of meetings and as always I would encourage you to participate in any way you see fit. As always this e newsletter is designed to keep residents informed about the activities of Council and issues that are impacting our community. Outlined below in this e newsletter are a number of opportunities to provide input to help shape the future of Richmond Hill.

Below in this edition are also articles about a number of issues including changes that are being made to increase customer service when accessing City of Richmond Hill services, some exciting changes that are now complete at the Dunlap Observatory Park, an advanced notice on an important step we are about to take seeking public input on the Mill Pond Park Master Plan, and ongoing progress at safely opening more municipal services and facilities after the Pandemic shutdowns.

Also below there are details about a number of events that are taking place in the near future. This weekend there will be an Art Walk featuring beautiful art from a number of local artists. The event will take place in the Village Core so you can support local artists while also supporting local businesses.

I am also pleased to announce that we have invited Dawn Hill, a Residential School survivor, to help us mark the new National Truth and Reconciliation Day. Ms. Hill is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of Mohawk Village Memorial Park, a not-for-profit charity run by a group of residential school survivors. This important event will be enlightening for residents and will help us all better understand the history of Residential Schools in Canada. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Mohawk Village Memorial Park.

As always, I welcome a call or an email from anyone if they have any comments or questions about information contained in this e newsletter or any other community issue. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090.

Banner photo - Monarch Watch tagging on Cana Lily. Photo courtesy of Susan a participant in our Monarch Tagging Challenge and a member of the Richmond Hill Horticultural Society.
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Mayor Dave Barrow Announces Retirement
On September 14, Mayor Dave Barrow announced that he is retiring from his role as Mayor of Richmond Hill. I have very much enjoyed working with “Dave” as a citizen first and then as a colleague on Council.

There was no one that I knew that lived and breathed his home town of Richmond Hill more than Mayor Barrow. His dedication and caring for his community was evident in his leadership for many years as a councillor and for many years as Mayor. I truly wish Dave all the best in his retirement. Mayor Barrow was always respectful and caring to everyone and will I miss working with him as a colleague!

Statement from Mayor Barrow.
It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement from Richmond Hill Council, effective September 15, 2021.

After serving as Mayor of Richmond Hill for 15 years, and dedicating more than 35 years of my life to our wonderful community, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
I was grateful to return to Council last week, after having been away for several months. However, following that meeting, and after much consideration, I have decided to step down from my duties to allow more time to focus on my family.

I’d like to thank Members of Council, City staff, Members of Regional Council and all those who have helped me support the city and its residents and businesses every day. I especially want to acknowledge the staff in the Mayor’s Office who have worked tirelessly alongside me for so many years. Your dedication and care has made a difference in people’s lives and I have appreciated our time together.

I love Richmond Hill. It has truly been an honour and a privilege to serve this great City.

I wish everyone happiness, good health and success in the future.
Dave Barrow
Mayor
Richmond Hill Modernizes to Deliver More Convenient Customer Experience
The City of Richmond Hill is continuing its transformation journey, making it easier for City residents, businesses and other stakeholders to get the services and information they need. These changes will speed up service delivery with the addition of more than 50 new digital services.
 
Through the pandemic, the City boosted its efforts to create digital service offerings, providing more than 50 new online services in the past year, allowing users to access the same or better service virtually from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Online services include applying and paying for building permits or inspections, noise exemption permits, sign permits, tree permits, road occupancy permits, site plan and other development applications and marriage licences.

Account holders can now apply online for pre-authorized debit payment plans for water and property tax bills. Residents can also purchase items online such as garbage tags, dog licences and tow truck licence plates.

16th Annual Strides for Mackenzie Health
On Saturday, September 25, 2021, I will be again be participating in the Strides for Mackenzie Health. This is a cause that is important to our community and means a lot to me.

This exciting event raises funds that help support Mackenzie Health's highest-priority needs, including equipping the new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, enhancing patient care at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, and preparing for unexpected emergencies like COVID-19.

It’s been a challenging year for everyone, but we’re all in this together! I’m hoping you can contribute to my campaign, or join my team and help me reach my fundraising goal!

Your support will help patients and families in our community and beyond. Please click on the link below.

Back Yard Chickens?
Richmond Hill's Animal bylaw is due for a review. I have had calls recently from a number of residents who would like to be allowed to keep chickens on their property. At the present moment, under our current bylaw, this is not generally allowed.

During any bylaw review I would expect a public input phase to discuss any changes and I would also expect a thorough review of best practices in other similar jurisdictions.

I think with that model being followed we will be confident we are making any changes well and ensuring we do what we can to address any concerns from neighbours no matter what changes end up being made.

Through my research I am aware of the challenges and potential conflicts that keeping backyard chickens could create if it’s not done properly. To be successful there would need to be strict rules around the activity.

While I do not believe the Animal Control Bylaw review is being brought forward imminently, I have heard from a few people on this topic and I appreciate the input from folks like you and also that this Liberal article got the ball rolling on this topic

Please let me know if you have comments about this issue.
2021 Richmond Hill Village Art Walk
Join us in celebrating local artists and their work on Saturday, September 18, 2021
11a.m. to 6 p.m.

Locations:
  • Elgin Barrow Arena, park space by Church Street,
  • Heritage Center, Amos Wright Park and,
  • Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, outdoor plaza

For the past 16 years, the City of Richmond Hill has offered the Studio Tour as part of its commitment to the arts, culture and support of local artists. In 2021, the Studio Tour will be replaced with a 1-day outdoor art show. This Art Walk show is an excellent opportunity for local artists and artisans to showcase and sell their work at one of three locations in downtown Richmond Hill. For more information please visit Art and Studio Tour - City of Richmond Hill
City Restores Observatory's Natural Heritage and Beauty
Richmond Hill is making strides in the development of the Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory (RHDDO) Park, with the completion of significant restoration work on the historic Observatory dome and administration building.

Over the past year, adhering to strict requirements for heritage restoration, intricate work was carefully carried out on the 86-year-old buildings to restore the exterior heritage features to their original state. This work included restoration of wood windows and doors, repairs and conservation of metal surfaces, replacement of metal roofing and flashing, and masonry and concrete repairs and restoration. Additional efforts were made to preserve the structures for the future, such as the installation of new foundation waterproofing and drainage systems, upgrades to existing municipal services, and upgrades to electrical systems. The restoration work is a key part of the RHDDO Park Master Plan, and was completed on time and within budget.

The City is also making progress on other projects identified in the first phase of the plan, setting the foundation for the advancement and development of this destination park that will attract visitors from all over the GTA.

Woodlot restoration work already underway will preserve and enhance the natural areas on the parkland and restore the woodlands to a healthy forest. More than 8,000 trees and shrubs have been planted and fencing has been installed to protect newly planted trees from browsing deer and allow tree growth.

Later this year, the City will embark on building a 2.25 km trail system so residents can enjoy more of the natural beauty of this park during all seasons.

For more information about the history of the RHDDO and the City’s Master Plan for the area, visit RichmondHill.ca/RHDDO.
Toronto and Region Conservation Campgrounds and Upcoming Fall Programs
Did you know Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has two unique family campgrounds within the Greater Toronto Area? Visit: CampingToronto.ca

Connect with nature this September!
Join us online and in-person at a community event or program.

Earn high school volunteer hours! 
Take action and earn high school volunteer hours at home and in your community!

The Fall virtual session is starting September 14. Register today to complete the virtual At-Home Modules to earn up to 11 high school volunteer hours.
Outdoor environmental stewardship events are taking place throughout the fall. Register for an event to earn additional high school volunteer hours.

Conservation Parks Memberships aren’t just for the summer – fall is beautiful too!

See the full calendar of events for more things to do!
Mill Pond Park Master Plan
Thank you to the many people who provided input on the first stages of the Mill Pond Master Plan. This process is collecting public input that will guide any future improvements and renovations to the beloved Mill Pond Park. So far a record amount of input has been collected but we are not finished yet.

Our Parks Planning Staff will be launching further virtual public consultation in late September (current launch is targeting Sept. 27th). Please stay tuned to this enewsletter and https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/things-to-do/mill-pond-park-project.aspx for details about how to participate in the next round of input and to see what staff has heard from resident so far.
STEAM Project 2021
It was a great day at the STEAM project in Richmond Hill last month. I was thrilled to be asked to speak to a wonderful group of students about my Richmond Hill Monarch Tagging Challenge and what Richmond Hill is doing to protect pollinating insects and Monarchs.

After my presentation we released and tagged and released 2 Monarchs. It was a great learning opportunity for the students. Thanks for the invite and for the tour of this great Richmond Hill summer camp for kids! Visit https://www.thesteamproject.ca/ for more information.
Notice of Extension of Road Closure - Harris Avenue East of Grange Drive/Settlement Crescent to Yonge Street) Metropole Developments Inc.
Metropole Developments Inc. has requested a road closure of Harris Avenue from 41m East of Grange Drive/Settlement Crescent to Yonge Street between August 31, 2021 to November 5, 2021. The requested closure is necessary as part of development of lands owned by Metropole Developments Inc. known as 0, 40 and 60 Harris Avenue (File D06-14105) and 25, 45 and 61 Harris Avenue (File D06- 17039).

This closure is necessary to allow the construction of new municipal sewers, watermain and road reconstruction within the Harris Avenue road allowance through Servicing Agreement (File L03-19004) and Site Alteration Permit (SA-2019-088). The development lands and limit of construction are shown on attached Appendix A. The closure is recommended to expedite the construction of municipal services and to provide a greater degree of safety to both the general public and contractors during the construction period.

The Developer’s Consulting Engineer has provided an acceptable Traffic Control and Detour Plan and will be posting required signage indicating the dates of the road closure. All efforts will be employed to minimize inconvenience to the public during this time. All emergency services, parking enforcement, schools, and transit services will be notified of this closure.
Fundraising Speaker Event in Recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day
In recognition of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2021, the City of Richmond Hill and the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts are honoured to invite residents to a virtual fundraising event featuring guest speaker and residential school survivor Dawn Hill.

Ms. Hill is a retired teacher and current Secretary/Treasurer of Mohawk Village Memorial Park, a not-for-profit charity run by a group of residential school survivors. The group’s mandate is to build a memorial park dedicated to all the children who attended the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School over its 142 years.
 
The speaker event will include a one-hour presentation followed by a live Q&A session. Participants will have a unique opportunity to hear first-hand Ms. Hill’s story and gain a deeper understanding of the personal impact of the residential school system.

Date: September 30, 2021
Time: 10 a.m. – noon
Location: Virtual (Zoom)

Tickets: $10 – Available at RHCentre.ca. Under the Speaker Series - you may click on this link Speaker Series (rhcentre.ca). All proceeds to go to Mohawk Village Memorial Park.
 
City to Reopen Additional Recreational Amenities
The City of Richmond Hill is happy to welcome residents back with more recreational opportunities. As our gradual, safe reopening continues, City staff have been working behind the scenes to prepare additional facilities and activities for residents to enjoy, in addition to the many facilities, amenities and programs already available. Dates and times subject to change due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

To see when additional facilities will reopen and what programs will be offered please click HERE.
2021 Fall Richmond Hill Virtual Speaker Series
Yet another exciting season of guest speakers...Enjoy six enriching talks each Thursday from Sept 23 - November 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. For more information on each speaker and to purchase tickets please visit Home (rhcentre.ca)
 
Richmond Hill Council News
City Plan 2041 Next Steps
The City of Richmond Hill is launching its Official Plan Update, City Plan 2041, with an aim to establish Richmond Hill as one of the GTA’s most prominent and successful communities.

There will be an Official Plan Update Committee meeting on Sept. 21. More consultation events will take place this fall.

The following article appeared in the August 12 edition of the Liberal. Richmond Hill releases latest updates on City Plan 2041 (yorkregion.com)

Public input our Richmond Hill Planning Staff has received from our various public consultation sessions on the OP Update has now been posted to the City’s website.

What We Heard
Throughout last Spring, the City Plan 2041 team held a number of workshops, surveys, and engagement events as part of Phase 2 of the Official Plan Update project. LURA Consulting has prepared two What We Heard reports which summarizes the feedback we’ve received from these engagement opportunities. The first is focused on the feedback from our Business community, while the second is related to the emerging Centres.

Planning for Change playbook
David Dixon, our visionary urbanist, and Stantec’s Urban Places have prepared a Planning for Change report. This report will act as a “playbook” and will inform the Official Plan Update, provide guidance to Council and Planning staff to successfully implement the Official Plan, and adds additional perspective in terms of a path to take for planning complete communities.
All three of these reports are available on the Official Plan Update webpage, located under the “Phase 2” dropdown.

Upcoming Engagement Opportunities
As we progress through Phase 2 of the Official Plan Update project, the next step will be preparing a Key Directions Report. This report will identify areas of the Official Plan that require change, and identify direction for that change. These directions will be discussed at the Official Plan Update Committee meeting on September 21, 2021 and the Key Directions report will be brought to Council in November. Staff will be holding more consultation events in the Fall, details of which will be announced soon.
City Asks Residents For Input On Making Parks More Enjoyable
The City of Richmond Hill is seeking input from residents to help improve the rules for visiting City parks and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone using a park.

The Parks Use By-law covers a variety of topics from activities allowed in parks, to levels of noise, to permits needed for group use of parks. Parks are defined as any City-owned greenspaces, playgrounds, sports fields, courts and trails available for public use.

Home to 147 magnificent parks and over 150 kilometres of trails, Richmond Hill is full of unique and award winning amenities for everyone to discover and enjoy.

Should drones be allowed to be flown in City parks? What about the use of e-bikes and electric scooters? Should the City be adjusting the hours that parks are open?

These are just a few of the questions asked in the online survey. Feedback will help the City review and revamp the by-law to better reflect the needs of the community.

We want to hear from you!
Help guide the improvement and development of the Parks Use By-law by sharing your thoughts through a short, five-minute online survey. To learn more and to take the survey, visit RichmondHill.ca/ParksUseBylaw.
Upcoming Events
2021 Richmond Hill Village Art Walk

Saturday, September 18, 2021
11a.m. to 6 p.m.

Locations:
  • Elgin Barrow Arena, park space by Church Street,
  • Heritage Center, Amos Wright Park and,
  • Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, outdoor plaza

For more information please click the Learn More button.
A Speakers Event in recognition of National Truth and Reconciliation Day

In recognition of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2021, the City of Richmond Hill and the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts are honoured to be hosting this virtual event featuring guest speaker and residential school survivor Dawn Hill.

This on-line event will include an approximately one-hour Zoom webinar presentation beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by a Q&A session. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click the Learn More button.

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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