David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
June 2021
Happy Summer to Everyone!

Vaccination numbers and COVID-19 infection numbers are finally moving in the right direction. We must all still remain vigilant, but Ontario has just recently released a reopening plan for the province. As a result, and after many months of varying degrees of COVID-19 lockdowns, Richmond Hill will also be able to reopen municipal facilities and amenities in accordance with the provincial plan and all necessary Public Health protocols. It goes without saying that this is very welcome news. Council received a report from our Acting City Manager about how and when various stages of this reopening will occur. Some of the details about this plan are contained below in this e newsletter.

Also below in this e newsletter there is a great deal of information below about other items of interest for residents as well. To name two of these items - the Mill Pond Park Master Plan process has begun and there is an opportunity for the public to submit feedback on the future of this very important Ward 4 park. With warmer summer weather upon us I would hope that residents have a chance to get out and enjoy this iconic park, but you can also participate in a self guided tour of the Mill Pond park and take part in a survey while you are there. All feedback collected during the coming months through this survey and other upcoming opportunities for public input will be used and valued by our Parks Planning staff and myself to map out future revitalization.

Additionally below there is important information about the Gypsy Moth caterpillar infestation that GTA communities including Richmond Hill are presently enduring. The European Gypsy Moth is an invasive species that has been in North America since the late 1800's and has been causing a great deal of concern lately for residents. There is more information below in this e newsletter on what has been done, and what needs to be done by all of us to help control this invasive species.

Canada Day celebrations are being planned for Richmond Hill again this year. This much loved event will look different this year once again but our staff has put together a good line up of entertainment to celebrate Canada. Included in this year's presentation is a drive in concert. For full information please visit  RichmondHill.ca/CanadaDay

On a final note, at this time of year I want to send my congratulations to all graduating students. In a year where graduation ceremonies may be different than in the past, it is perhaps more important than ever to mark these significant milestones in our young people's lives. If you know of a graduate this year please make an effort to give them a shout out!

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 issue about our community. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090.

Banner photo - GREENING THE HILL: Our Community, Our Future
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Richmond Hill Entering First Step of Reopening Plan
The province has announced that Ontario will move into Step One of its three-step Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, June 11 at 12:01 a.m. As a result, residents should be aware of the following as this plan pertains to Richmond Hill:

What’s currently open
·        Summer Camp registration (in-person and virtual). Camps start Monday, July 5
·        Parks, trails and off-leash areas
·        Outdoor amenities such as playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, skate parks, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts
·        Splash pads
While the main Municipal Offices (225 East Beaver Creek Road) remain closed to the public (but we hope to open the offices in the fall), residents can access many City services online, by phone or by appointment.

Coming soon
·        Summer Virtual Recreation Program registration begins June 9. Programs start Monday, July 5
·        Sports fields/courts for permits (training only, limited capacity) effective Friday, June 11
·        Waste bin online sales with home delivery begins Monday, June 21
·        Drive-in/Drive-thru events

Richmond Hill’s reopening plan
We’re looking forward to welcoming residents back! Our gradual, safe approach to reopening City facilities and services will begin shortly and information and specific details about these plans will be communicated through Richmond Hill's social media channels and the website at www.richmondhill.ca so I would encourage everyone to stay tuned!

Help keep our community safe
As we slowly begin to reopen, residents are reminded to:
·        Practice physical distancing
·        Wear a mask or face covering indoors, as well as outdoors if you cannot physical distance
·        Stay home if you’re sick, even with mild symptoms
·        Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible

Updates and information on the City’s response to COVID-19, including a complete list of what’s open and closed, is available online at RichmondHill.ca/COVID19.
16th Annual Strides for Mackenzie Health
Get set for the 16th annual Strides for Mackenzie Health — on Saturday, September 25, participants can run or walk their own route in support of Mackenzie Health. This fun community event is the ideal outdoor activity for the entire family — all ages and fitness levels welcome! As I have done for the past number of years, I will be participating in this event and hosting a team.

HELP US REACH OUR $300,000 FUNDRAISING GOAL.
The fight against COVID-19 continues and our front-line workers are counting on you. We've never needed you more.

DON'T SNOOZE ON OUR EARLY BIRD RATES!
Registration fees go up July 31!  Click this link to join my team - The Richmond Hill Ward 4 Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers -

Check out the great perks and prizes. To visit our website to see how you can win, click on the link Strides for Mackenzie Health 2021 (akaraisin.com)

Together, we can make great strides and bring the ultimate care to our community.
Windham Parkette Playground and Bridge Replacement
Construction is underway for the removal and replacement of the playground and pedestrian bridge at Windham Parkette located at 60 Naughton Drive. Construction is schedule to be completed by Fall 2021, weather permitting.

Ward 4 Community Conversations

I hosted a great conversation featuring our Richmond Hill Public Works Staff last month. Attendees heard all about the breadth and range of work that Public Works plays in our lives in a community like Richmond Hill. Thanks to all that joined the Zoom call and to our staff for sharing this great presentation!

On June 24th at 7:30, the topic will be Planting in Small Spaces and we will have the pleasure of having staff at the York Region Food Network to share a presentation on this topic. I look forward to hearing from them and learning how we can, as individuals and as a community grow local food and share the results of these efforts to "grow a stronger community". I hope you can join us for this Zoom meeting.


The Community Conversations scheduled for July:

July 14th: Launch of The 2nd annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Monarch Butterfly Tagging Challenge with "Monarch Crusader" Carol Pasternak

To register for the above sessions please visit https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/ward-4-community-conversations/
Mill Pond Park Revitalization Project
As part of the background research stage for the Mill Pond Park Revitalization project, a survey has been posted on the City’s website to seek input that will aid the City in making decisions related to outdoor and recreation facilities, trails, natural heritage enhancement projects, and other matters related to the planned revitalization.

Stakeholders are invited to either:
·        Fill out this survey from anywhere on your mobile device or from the comfort of your home; or
·        Take an enjoyable self-guided tour of Mill Pond park and fill out this survey along the way. Please stay local and follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols including practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask or face covering.
 
The survey is available at the following link:

Those who complete the survey by June 8, 2021 can choose to be entered for a chance to win a Healthy Yards Kit (must be picked up by June 12) or a $25 VISA gift card.


TRCA Webinars and Workshops
Looking for activities to do from May through to October that are fun for the whole family?

From across the watershed, TRCA hosts exciting webinars and e-learning activities, guided hikes, festivals and other seasonal events, educational workshops, and public consultations. Come explore nature, culture, and the environment in Toronto and the GTA!

To find out more and to register please visit their events page Events Calendar - Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
and for more summer fun and outdoor camp information please click on the link June 2021 - At Home With Nature 🍄 (mailchi.mp). TRCA’s 2021 summer camp registration are NOW OPEN! Hurry, spots are booking up quickly.
Richmond Hill Declares Emancipation Day August 1st 
I am pleased to report that the Richmond Hill Council unanimously proclaimed August 1st Emancipation Day in Richmond Hill. This proclamation is an important step in our journey toward one of the Council Strategic Priorities 2020-2022 identified, "a strong sense of belonging". 

For more information about the history of this important date and to view a virtual celebration from 2020, visit https://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/en/index.php/calendar?e=40967&d=
Richmond Hill Summer Camps are Back 
This summer, the City of Richmond Hill 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.
 
In-person camps
We are offering in-person camps for 6 to 12 year olds, focusing on outdoor activities, arts and crafts, and games. We are also offering a variety of specialty camps in theatre, dance, outdoor adventure, and heritage.
 
In-person camps will take place primarily outdoors (weather permitting). COVID-19 health and safety measures will be in place and capacity will be limited. In-person camps are expected to begin on July 5 as provincial COVID-19 regulations permit.

Virtual camps
We are also offering a great line-up of virtual programming for children this summer. From art camps, dance classes and engineering programs to film, animation and mad science camps, we have something to entice all creative minds.
 
P.A.R.K. Adventure Program
Our Park Adventure Recreation for Kids (P.A.R.K.) program is an opportunity for children to enjoy outdoor activities at different parks in Richmond Hill. The program includes a variety of activities such as arts, crafts, games, sports, and exploring nature during this 1.5 hour outdoor session. Parents or caregivers (18 years and older) must be on site for the duration of the program.
 
The P.A.R.K. Adventure program is expected to begin on July 6 if provincial regulations permit. Capacity will be limited.
 
How to Register
Resident registration opens at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 2. Non-resident registration opens at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9. To register and for more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/SummerCamps.
 
For updates on City services, what’s open and what’s closed, visit RichmondHill.ca/COVID19.

National Indigenous History Month
In Canada, June marks National Indigenous History Month. This month is an opportunity to reflect on the important contribution that all Indigenous people have made, and continue to make to our country. It is also an opportunity to reflect on a number of past injustices that Indigenous people have suffered during our history.

This year the commemoration is made more significant by the heartbreaking discovery of a mass grave at the site of the Kamloops residential school in British Columbia. Flags at all City facilities were at half-mast for 215 hours (9 days) in June to honour the 215 children whose lives were lost at the school.

On June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, events take place across the country, highlighting the strength of present day Indigenous communities and their promise for the future. Indigenous Peoples Day is an opportunity to commemorate the achievements of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

In recent years the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report was released outlining 94 recommendations to help heal the relationship between Indigenous people and Canada. One of the underlying themes in this report is to create a better understanding and address the injustices that have happened in the past, and continue to happen to this day.

As a proud Canadian I believe it is important that we all do what we can to move forward the goals that are outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final report. One of the best ways we can do this is to remain well informed about the issues.

To listen to former Senator Sinclair's poignant message please click this link...
Major Mackenzie Drive West Watermain Replacement
The scope of work includes replacement of watermain, disconnection and reconnection of existing services and side street watermains and replacement of hydrants and valve chambers.
The construction is scheduled to begin in May 2021 and be completed by the end of 2021, weather permitting.

Project Location: Major Mackenzie Drive from Bathurst Street to Yonge Street, includes work on Elston Court, Don Head Village Boulevard and Bathurst Street.

To read the full notice please click here Major Mackenzie Drive West Watermain Replacement.
Temporary Road Closure of Arnold Crescent
High Point Place Laurier Homes (Richmond Hill Inc . Road Closure of Arnold Crescent (from 20m East of Elizabeth Street South to 70 m
West of Elizabeth Street South)

Revised Notice
High Point Place Laurier Homes (Richmond Hill Inc.) has requested a road closure of Arnold Crescent from 20m East of Elizabeth Street to 70 m West of Elizabeth Street South between June 28 to July 18, 2021.                      
 
The requested closure is necessary as part of development of lands owned by High Point Place Laurier Homes (Richmond Hill Inc.) known as Subdivision file 19T- 15006. This closure is necessary to allow the construction of new municipal services and road reconstruction within the Arnold Crescent road allowance. The subdivision is located at the south west corner of Arnold Crescent and Elizabeth Street South as indicated on the attached Appendix A.
 
The Developer’s Consulting Engineer will provide an acceptable Traffic Control and Detour Plan and will be posting required signage indicating the dates of the proposed road closures. 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.
 
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.
York Region Food Network
Looking forward to getting outdoors this summer? The Charitable Chef 'Summer Kit Series' takes the event off of Zoom and out to backyards, decks and grills.
Three (3) crafted summer kits highlight York Region's seasonal foods, with curated playlists. Each kit includes a meal for one including a seasonal preserve, appetizer, main course and dessert.
A summer cocktail or beer pairing can be selected to round out the meal. Interested in making your own preserves for later? Order a preserve kit for ingredients and instructions to complete at home.
Summer Starter Picnic Kit - June 22 -24
Summer Grilling Kit - July 20 - 22
Reap the Harvest Kit - August 23 - 25 -
Plant based menu
 
Your support will ensure that our community continues to benefit from fresh, affordable food, grown and prepared with love. Learn more about York Region Food Network’s food security initiatives here: www.yrfn.ca 
Richmond Hill Council News
Residents' Meeting for Proposed Development at Major Mackenzie Drive West and Arnold Crescent
I hosted a Residents' Meeting last month to discuss the proposed development for the lands at Major Mackenzie Drive West and Arnold Crescent. The meeting was well attended by area residents. During the meeting questions and concerns were expressed by the attendees. This meeting was also an opportunity for the neighbourhood to hear from the applicant in a less formal and more interactive format than we had in the Council Public Meeting in March.

There are clearly a number of outstanding issues that need to be addressed with this application, and this meeting was an additional step to have this dialogue with the applicant.

At the moment the development application has been referred back to Richmond Hill Planning Staff for a thorough evaluation with a recommendation for Council to consider. This report and recommendation is expected at a future Council meeting but this date has not been set at this time.

Thank you to all that attended the meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or concerns about this application. More information about this application can be found at https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/proposed-development-at-major-mackenzie-drive-west-and-arnold-crescent-3/


City to Recognize ‘UNBE-LEAF-ABLE’ Front Yard Gardens in Richmond Hill!
Richmond Hill Blooms is back and residents are invited to nominate attractive, colourful and well-maintained front gardens for recognition. Between Friday, May 28 and Friday, July 2 you can nominate friends, neighbours, relatives and even your own garden! 
 
The top front gardens will receive a plaque and recognition on the City’s website. Winning gardens will be announced this fall.  For more information about Richmond Hill Blooms, including how-to gardening videos and photos of last year’s winners, visit RichmondHill.ca/RHBlooms
Council Approves First Community Energy and Emissions Plan
As part of its commitment to balancing growth and green, Richmond Hill Council has approved the vision for a more sustainable, low carbon city and a community-driven plan to achieve it.

On May 26, Council approved the Community Energy and Emissions Plan, which will guide us in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving energy with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The community-driven plan is accompanied by a climate change toolkit which residents can use to reach out to each other and encourage climate action. Visit RichmondHill.ca/ResilientRH for more.
Controlling Gypsy Moth in Richmond Hill
UPDATE: With gypsy moth caterpillars now in their feeding stage.
 
·         Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of a variety of tree species such as oak, birch and maple.
·         The caterpillars tend to only feed and damage trees for a short period from June until mid-July.
·         The risk of trees dying is extremely low. Most healthy trees will regrow their leaves as the season progresses.
·         Gypsy moth outbreaks happen in cycles every 7 to 10 years and each outbreak can last a few years.

What the City is doing for trees on public property
In anticipation of the impact gypsy moth would have this year on our urban tree canopy, the City employed a number of different techniques to minimize damage to trees on City property and help reduce the spread in our community. 
·         This winter, City staff removed more than 65,000 egg masses on small to medium sized street and park trees using a portable vacuum and through manual scraping to reduce the number of hatched caterpillars in the spring. 
·         Watering will occur when heavy defoliation is seen on street trees until they have regrown their leaves in August.
 
The City will not be spraying pesticide
·         Spraying pesticide is costly, time sensitive and not feasible for a large spread out area such as a city
·         It is non-selective, which means it will kill all caterpillars, not just gypsy moth. This also has negative impacts on birds that feed on caterpillars.
·         Caterpillars still need to ingest the leaves in order for the pesticide to work, so trees will still suffer defoliation and there will still be caterpillars around for some time as it is not 100 % effective.
 
What residents can do for trees on their property
·         Residents can reduce the impacts of gypsy moth caterpillars on their property by applying burlap traps and/or sticky barrier bands to the trunks of infested trees. This gives the caterpillars a place to hide from the midday heat and makes them easier to remove. Once removed from the tree, place the caterpillars into a container of soapy water, let soak for 48 hours before bagging them and throwing them in the garbage.
·         Trees should be watered regularly to promote leaf growth. Extensive watering should occur in the mornings and evenings during the hot summer months when natural precipitation is low.
 
For more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/GypsyMoth.
Council Declines Inclusion of Online Voting in the 2022 Municipal Election
On June 9th Council considered a staff report that suggested Richmond Hill voters be offered the additional option to cast their votes online in the 2022 municipal election.

It was my hope and expectation that Richmond Hill would join over 150 Ontario municipalities that already successfully offer online voting as an option. It is important to note that online voting was offered during the 2020 School Board by-election that took place in Richmond Hill. The process ran smoothly and efficiently.

There are many reasons why I support a hybrid model with online voting and traditional paper ballots as options. The convenience that is offered by online voting, the past proven success that other municipalities have clearly had with this process, the likelihood that voter turnout will increase as a result, and the fact that online voting creates a greater deal of equity and choice for more voters, are some of those reasons that I mentioned in my comments supporting adding online voting, during the Council meeting.

According to Dr. Goodman, a leading expert on online voting that we hired to review the recent online voting during the 2020 school board by-election in 2020, over 96% of voters were satisfied or very satisfied with the experience.

Council also received a petition requesting online voting be enacted. This petition was signed by over 300 citizens.

To read the full staff report that Council considered please visit - https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=41197

Upcoming Events
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) Gardening for Birds, Butterflies and Beyond

Helping the environment starts in your own backyard. Learn how to attract and protect native pollinators, such as Monarch butterflies and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds with beautiful landscape features. For more information and to register please click the Learn More button.
Ward 4 Community Conversations

June's conversation will be - Planting in Small Spaces. To register, please click the Learn More button and scroll down.
Ward 4 Community Conversations

Please save the date! Launch of The 2nd Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Monarch Butterfly Tagging Challenge with Monarch Crusader Carol Pasternak. To register, please click the Learn More button and scroll down.


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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