David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
July 2021
Summer in Richmond Hill

It seems like there is finally hope for a more “normal” summer. The COVID-19 vaccinations numbers in Richmond Hill and Ontario are on the rise, the infection numbers and hospital admissions due to COVID-19 are on the decline. Ontario and Richmond Hill have begun to open up and will continue in that direction as more progress is made and it is safe to do so. More details on Richmond Hill's plans are contained below in this e newsletter and I would encourage everyone to learn more as the situation evolves by visiting richmondhill.ca for updates.

Also below in this email is news about public consultations that are taking place regarding an update to Richmond Hill’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Plans as well as our Environment Strategy. All of these plans are important and offer the foundation for many investments and policies that guide parks, culture and recreation programming. These important investments ultimately make Richmond Hill a great place to live. I believe it is important to have plans like these that closely reflect the needs and aspirations of our citizens. As such I would encourage everyone to participate in the process to help ensure our plans reflect the needs of our community members. On that note, I hope everyone has a chance this summer to get out and enjoy the summer weather - perhaps in one of our parks or open spaces .

There is also more information below about some innovative programs that are being offered by our staff including Concerts in the Parking Lot, a drive through Ribfest, and Movies in the Parking Lot. All of us look forward to getting back together, live and in person, like we have in the past for events like these, but for now these activities offer a chance to get out and enjoy the summer safely and in compliance with all COVID-19 Public Health measures.

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 - A Summer day in Upper Mill Pond Park
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Richmond Hill to enter Step Two of Reopening Plan
The province has announced that Ontario will move into Step Two of its three-step Roadmap to Reopen on Wednesday, June 30 at 12:01 a.m. To view what is currently open and what's coming soon please click here.

With each step, we will work as quickly as possible to reopen municipal facilities. Due to the uncertainty of timing and the release of new health and safety guidelines, we thank residents in advance for their patience as we work to get services and amenities fully up and running.

Until the main Municipal Offices and Operations Centre re-open to the public in September, residents can continue to access many City services online, by phone or by appointment.

Updates and information on the City’s response to COVID-19, including Richmond Hill’s full reopening plan and 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.
Help Make Richmond Hill an Age-Friendly City
Residents aged 55+ invited to give feedback

The City is launching an Age-Friendly Community initiative, to help provide a safe, supportive environment for older residents now and in the future. As part of this initiative, residents 55 years of age and older will have multiple ways throughout the summer to provide input.

An online survey is available now until July 16. The survey asks residents for their thoughts on living in Richmond Hill in three specific categories: social participation; respect and social inclusion; and civic participation and employment.

In addition to the survey, City staff will be connecting with residents through online focus groups later this summer. Those who wish to take part in an Age-Friendly Community focus group are encouraged to email adults55+@richmondhill.ca.

Residents who prefer to complete the survey through a live telephone interview can leave a message at 416-427-3623 to arrange an appointment. Results of the research will be shared in fall 2021. It will inform the action plan of Richmond Hill’s first Age-Friendly Community initiative, which is a key project under the Council Strategic Priority “Strong Sense of Belonging.”

Residents can visit RichmondHill.ca/AgeFriendly for more information and subscribe to the page for updates..
Ward 4 Community Conversations
In June, I hosted a great conversation featuring an informative discussion with our knowledgeable representatives from York Region Food Network. We learned about Planting in Small Spaces and were inspired to make the most of the spaces we have available to us for gardening. We also heard ideas for companion plantings in container spaces and learned tips for healthy soil.
Thanks to all that joined the Zoom call and to Kate Greavette, Jessica Tong of the YRFN.

On July 14th I am thrilled to welcome "Monarch Crusader" Carol Pasternak for the Launch of the 2nd annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Monarch Butterfly Tagging Challenge. I hope you can join us! To register for this meeting visit https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/ward-4-community-conversations/ 
Help us Build a More Sustainable Richmond Hill
Achieving a more sustainable environment in Richmond Hill is a community effort and together we’ve made great progress in protecting our local environment. Building on that positive momentum, the City is inviting the community to help update its Environment Strategy to consider emerging issues, current trends and priorities.

Approved in 2014 following extensive community and stakeholder consultation, Richmond Hill’s Environment Strategy, Greening the Hill: Our Community, Our Future, identifies short, medium and long-term actions on how air quality, water resources and land resources can best be managed.

The update is proposed to focus on 10 key environmental themes where local governments and communities have an impact:
• Energy, • Transportation • Water Quality and Quantity • Water Conservation
• Sustainable Land Development • Natural Heritage and Urban Forest • Invasive Species • Wildlife • Local Food and Pollinators • Waste

Each theme will include a goal, objectives and a series of actions that together will help achieve Richmond Hill’s mission to become a more environmentally sustainable community and contribute to our climate change objectives.

How you can participate
Residents, businesses and community groups are encouraged to share their ideas for a greener, more sustainable community through the online survey, available now through July 15 at RichmondHill.ca/Greening.

Participants will also have the chance to win a $50 Hillcrest Mall gift card. Community workshops on the Environment Strategy Update will take place this fall. To be notified about event dates, email us at greeningthehill@richmondhill.ca to be added to our mailing list or subscribe to RichmondHill.ca/Greening for updates.

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 throughout the summer please click here.
Notice of Temporary Road Closure HARRIS AVENUE From Grange Drive/Settlement Crescent east to Yonge Street 
Metropole Developments Inc. has requested a road closure of Harris Avenue from 41m East of Grange Drive/Settlement Crescent to Yonge Street between July 5 to August 31, 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 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.
Keeping City Infrastructure Reliable for years to come
Asset Management Plan guides effective, efficient maintenance and repair

Richmond Hill Council has endorsed the 2021 Asset Management Plan, further delivering on its priority of fiscal responsibility through the responsible management of City infrastructure and assets.
Guided by the Asset Management Plan, City staff track, manage and optimize the quality and reliability of its infrastructure assets, which in turn deliver crucial services to the community. The plan outlines the City’s approaches for the efficient and cost-effective maintenance of City roadways, sidewalks, bridges, recreational facilities, watermain pipes, stormwater management ponds, and sanitary and storm sewers to ensure our community stays safe and services are maintained. The plan also takes into consideration changing demographic trends, growth and the City’s Climate Change Framework.

While required under provincial regulation to be completed by July 1, 2022, the City completed the Asset Management Plan in-house a full year ahead of schedule. The Asset Management Plan was developed using an award-winning, web-based system created by City staff, which helps identify when assets will require maintenance to ensure minimal service disruption to residents.

Residents can learn more about the condition of City-owned assets and how we plan to manage them in the future, by visiting RichmondHill.ca/AssetManagement.


Tim Hortons and Cosmo Music Present - The Summer Series!
This season our Summer Series brings Richmond Hill to life with drive-in concerts and movies, and drive thru Ribfest!

Concerts in the Parking Lot
Back for another season, our drive-in concert series starts in July! We have an exciting line-up of performers planned for Thursdays until September at the Richmond Hill GO station parking lot. Registration starts July 2 for the first group of concerts. View the schedule and add your favourites to your wish list.

Drive-Thru Ribfest
One of the most anticipated events of the summer is back! The delicious rib signature menu you love will be available this year in a drive-thru format! Browse the online menu and book a time slot to pick up your favourites from the drive-thru event at Elgin Barrow Arena from July 23rd to 25th, enjoying your take away at home. Register today!

Movies in the Parking Lot
Take your family to a pop-up drive in at Hillcrest Mall and join us for a night time family movie. Registration for the first two drive in movies starts August 9. Create your wish list today.
Visit RichmondHill.ca/SummerSeries for the full event schedules.

Staycations
Extend your time in Richmond Hill! Explore some of our curated itineraries designed to create amazing summer memories for you and your family.
Mackenzie Health Hospital now has two locations to serve our Community
On Sunday, June 6, Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital fully opened to serve our community.

Mackenzie Health now encompasses two full-service hospitals — each with a full-service emergency department, specialized programs and core services like surgery, medicine and critical care – in addition to our community-based locations and services.

For more information please visit -http://www.meetmackenziehealth.ca/
Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests Available for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses
To support businesses during this difficult time the Richmond Hill Board of Trade in partnership with the Ontario and Canadian Chamber Network, Ontario and Canadian governments, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative.

Businesses with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community. For more information click here. To order your kits, click here.
Richmond Hill Council News
Controlling LDD Moth in Richmond Hill
The LDD moth (also known as Gypsy Moth) outbreak that has impacted most Central Ontario communities has been a significant problem for Richmond Hill as well. Our staff have taken steps to mitigate this impact and Council passed a staff report this month to take further measures. To view the full staff report visit https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=41977

Some facts about LDD moth
·         LDD 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.
·         LDD 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 LDD 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 LDD 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 LDD 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
Affordable Housing Strategy
Council has been working on an Affordable Housing Strategy since May when the Draft Strategy was considered at a Special Council Meeting. It was my hope that this strategy would be endorsed by Council at the July Council meeting so that our Planning Staff would be able to do further refined research into the various tools available to municipalities to help provide more housing that is affordable to more people.

Many municipalities across Canada struggle with the issues of housing affordability and I am quite aware that the solutions to this complex problem are not simple. However I do believe that the draft Affordable Housing Strategy would serve to move us towards solutions.

Unfortunately the staff reccomendation to endorse the draft strategy failed at Council. I was very dissapointed to see this happen but I will continue to work towards urgently finding solutions to this problem. Below is further information about the issue and the proposed strategy.

An affordable Housing Strategy will serve the millennials, the seniors, recent immigrants, and people who work in Richmond Hill. Essentially, the Strategy will help to accommodate a wide range of people and at the same time, support a robust labour force. Ensuring that these households have suitable and affordable accommodation benefits all residents in Richmond Hill. Having access to affordable housing means that people are commuting less and have more income that can be used towards other essential / non-essential local purchases. Providing affordable housing attracts business investment when employers know that their employees can settle locally. Furthermore, these households are more likely to have positive health outcomes, which would reduce their reliance on social services to assist with their daily lives.

Who Will Benefit from an Affordable Housing Strategy? 
People of all age groups and background at some point or another in their lifetime will
likely need affordable housing. The Affordable Housing Strategy Background Study found that millennials aged 25 to 44 years old need more affordable rental or ownership options. This particular age group is delaying household formation by living with their parents, or they are leaving the City to settle elsewhere. The Background Report also found that older adults and seniors need affordable housing to be able to age in place and remain within their neighbourhoods. In addition, new residents to Richmond Hill who are recent immigrants also tend to need affordable housing. From an economic development perspective, the research also found that the majority of individuals employed in industries with moderate incomes commuted from another municipality to work in Richmond Hill. This suggests they are unable to find affordable housing in the City.

To view the Richmond Hill Affordable Housing Strategy Report please click https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=41394.

To view SRPI.21.052 Request for Endorsement – Affordable Housing Strategy staff report please click here.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement for Richmond Hill
June was National Indigenous History Month in Canada. This month marked some very grim discoveries of the remains of children buried in unmarked graves at two residential schools in Canada. This discovery is shocking beyond words and many Canadians have come together to mourn the death of these innocent young lives. Further many people have come to a greater understanding of the reality that the residential school system in Canada represented.

For many years, and especially since the public consultations for the 2015 Truth and Reconcilliation report, it became obvious to more and more Canadians that the residential school system was not intended to educate children. It was designed, in the words of one of its founders Duncan Campbell Scott, “to get rid of the Indian problem”. Many have referred to this residential school system as a tool for what is now widely recognized as a cultural genocide. It has also become obvious to many that this residential school system, along with a number of other systems, including the Indian Act have been responsible for racism and discrimination toward Indigenous people in Canada.

For much of June Richmond Hill flew all of our flags at half mast in solidarity with other municipalities across Canada to honour the lives of the deceased Indigenous children. Council also finally approved a staff report that directs staff to create wording for a Land Acknowledgement that Council can use to begin Council meetings. My hope is this will begin in the fall.

I fully realize that no single act, in and of itself will correct any of the harm that has been inflicted on Indigenous people in Canada, but the Land Acknowledgment is a good first step to honour Indigenous people, create a greater awareness about what really took place in Canada’s past, and the discrimination that is still happening today.

I was happy to move this motion forward. I look forward to staff reporting back on this Land Acknowledgement and also on further actions that we, as individuals, as a municipality, and as a country, can take that are outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

Parks, Recreation and Culture Plans
The City of Richmond Hill sought input and ideas from residents through an online survey until July 9 to help plan its future parks, and guide recreation and culture opportunities for the next 10 years.

The feedback from residents will help inform decisions about urban parks, connectivity between open spaces, multi-use recreational facilities, festivals and events, and continuing to support the diversity of cultural opportunities that reflect the unique character of our community.

When complete in 2022, the updated Parks Plan and a new combined Recreation and Culture Plan will outline strategies and actions to support residents’ evolving needs and also help inform the City’s Official Plan Update. This is just one of the ways the City is delivering on Council’s priority to balance growth and green and demonstrating its commitment to being environmentally sustainable, culturally vibrant, economically strong, financially responsible and engaged with the community. Please visit https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/Parks-Plan.aspx for more information.
Upcoming Events
Ward 4 Community Conversations

Please join us for the 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.
TRCA Summer Programs

Join the TRCA online for interactive virtual programs. Learn about pollinators, native plants and bats, and how you can participate in community science programs like All About Bats! To sign up for this and learn about other exciting programs 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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