David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
November 2020
Building our Community Together

I have always appreciated that in a vibrant community it is crucial that its citizens provide input into the decisions that will shape the future of the community. This is a constant and ongoing process. I receive calls and emails daily from residents on a range of subjects and this feedback remains important for me to be able to make decisions based on the needs of the community. Below in this e newsletter are a number of specific opportunities that are currently available for residents to provide input related to three important issues that are currently under review by our staff.

Richmond Hill staff is currently looking into the issue of housing affordability, the future of Rumble Pond Park South, and Short Term Rental Accommodation. On these three separate matters our staff has asked for input from residents. Details about how you can be involved by providing your thoughts are outlined below in this e newsletter. I would very much encourage residents to take some time and let our staff know what you think. All three of these issues are important and the decisions and policies that come out of these processes will help to shape the future of Richmond Hill.

In addition to the three issues outlined above, there is ongoing work on Richmond Hill's Official Plan update and our Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw and these will present additional opportunities for public input on these very foundational plans. To learn more about the Zone Richmond Hill initiative click here, to learn more about the Official Plan Review click here (there will be an Official Plan Committee update meeting on November 24th that the public is welcome to tune in to). As you may recall both of these processes began just before the COVID Pandemic.

Also below in this e newsletter is information about a motion designed to help control and respond to traffic issues on our residential roads that I brought forward to Council in October. This motion was deferred until the November 25th Council meeting as some members of Council requested more information and a staff report about this issue. It would be my expectation that Council will make a decision on the motion at that time.

Finally I wanted to thank everyone who spent some time tuning in to the first ever Ward 4 Environmental Webinar that took place in October. We had four great speakers providing practical information about what we can do individually, and as a community toward improving our local environment and we had a great turnout of viewers for the live webinar. There is more information below in this email about how you can still watch the webinar in case you missed it live.

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.

David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Help grow our Urban Tree Canopy!
Trees provide many benefits to our community: improved air quality, shade and wildlife habitat, and higher property values. Despite challenges, Richmond Hill succeeded in increasing its tree canopy cover (the percentage of land covered by trees and shrubs) from under 25% in 2010 to almost 30% in 2016. 

You can help our canopy cover continue to grow by taking advantage of the Backyard Tree Planting Program! A partnership between Richmond Hill, York Region and LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests), this program provides local expertise to help you select and plant the right trees and shrubs for your yard. 

LEAF offers Full Service Backyard Tree Planting, Do-it-Yourself Tree Planting, Native Garden Kits, and shrubs at subsidized rates. Staff have adjusted work procedures to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.

To find more information and to place an order, visit www.yourleaf.org or call 1-888-453-6504.
Council Launches Urban Forest Management Plan
Did you know Richmond Hill’s urban forest is made up of approximately 2.6 million trees on public and private property? That means 29.1% of all land in Richmond is covered with trees!

We need to maintain and increase the health of our urban forest especially as we experience growth pressures. We also know we are forecasted to experience more extreme weather due to Climate Change, and a healthy urban tree canopy can assist in buffering the impacts of severe weather.

Richmond Hill's new Urban Forest Management Plan, which was approved by Council in June, will prepare us and strengthen our ability to manage and maintain a healthy urban forest in the future.

The City’s urban forest encompasses all trees and woodlands on both public and private land. It serves to create a healthy and resilient community by cleaning the air and water, reducing flood risk, conserving energy, counteracting urban heat stress and increasing property values.

For more information and access to the plan, visit RichmondHill.ca/UrbanForestPlan
Planning for a Resilient Community
Resilient Richmond Hill is an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning for the impacts of climate change. Richmond Hill is preparing a Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) to better understand how we use energy, and to identify opportunities to conserve energy, save costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 600 community members and stakeholders have participated so far in Resilient Richmond Hill engagement activities and contributed their input to help develop the CEEP. The Plan is expected to be complete in early 2021.

For more information about this initiative, visit RichmondHill.ca/ResilientRH.
Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke Run/Walk
Thank you to all that supported The Ward 4 Richmond Hill Strides for Stroke Team! The event collectively raised over $200,000 this year for Stroke care at Mackenzie Health Hospital and has raised over $2M since the event began 15 years ago.

It was a beautiful day for a walk. My wife Michelle and I took our 5KM route through Pioneer Park and Mill Pond Park and the scenery was beautiful!
There is a discussion group for fathers of special needs children who meet online about once per month.

To learn more including meeting zoomlink, dates & times, please sign up for their list by clicking here. You can also find the link on my website by clicking here.
COVID 19 Support From Richmond Hill and York Region
The City of Richmond Hill and York Region are committed to working together for the health and safety of all our residents. There are many resources available to you as we navigate changing COVID19 restrictions. Comprehensive information can always be found on the City of Richmond Hill's website here  or the Community Support page on the Region of York's Website click here.  We would like to offer you a 'quick reference' list of some of the content.

On the City of Richmond Hill's website, you will find:
·      lists of what's open, closed, changed or cancelled including City programs and services
·      the current recommendations to keep yourself safe and healthy
·      information about the current data relating to York Region, flu shots and Community supports
·      lists of resources for local businesses

On York Region's Community Support website, some of the information you can find includes:
·      information for tenants, homeowners, landlords and property owners
·      links to many supportive organizations for those experiencing significant barriers such as poverty, homelessness and food insecurity
·      to access or information on social and community supports and services, visit 211oncovid19.ca
·      support and information for seniors, care givers, newcomers and disabled individuals.
·      links to many Provincial and Federal programs designed to support and assist in these challenging times.
Sidewalks for Bathurst Street between Shaftsbury Avenue and Gamble Road 
I have had many calls from residents over the past few years related to the absence of sidewalks on Bathurst Street between Shaftsbury Avenue and Gamble Road. That section is a missing link for those wishing to walk or cycle in the area and is a particularly important route for students attending St Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School.

In response to this community need, a sidewalk and street lighting are currently being installed along the east side of Bathurst Street between Shaftsbury Avenue and Gamble Road. These improvements will benefit pedestrians and cyclists, as it will create a continuous sidewalk from Highway 7 to King Vaughan Road providing more connectivity for travellers along that stretch.

Work has begun and is anticipated to be completed by late November 2020. Bathurst Street will remain open to traffic and access will be maintained, however, a temporary lane closure of one northbound lane may be required between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Saturday for construction. Safety is a priority so please slow down through construction areas.

Please note: this work may be rescheduled due to weather conditions or delays related to COVID-19 and Public Health guidelines. York Region will provide advance notice whenever possible.
TRCA: Fall and Winter Online Learning Opportunities and Programs 
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has new e-Learning resources available this fall, along with engaging online seminars, family programs, and volunteer opportunities! 

TRCA has always been a great supporter of our local environment and environmental education. During the COVID pandemic these educational opportunities continue with online offerings. I would encourage everyone to check them out!

To learn more and to sign up please click
Richmond Hill Council News
Rumble Pond Park South Trail and Bridge Improvements - Public Consultation
Richmond Hill is planning to repair and replace features within the Rumble Pond Park South Trail system, which includes the playground, pathway, bridge crossings and steps. We are also including an option to relocate the playground to Pleasantville Park. 

Please visit our website to review the proposed playground design and location options as well as the trail upgrades. Residents are encouraged to provide feedback through the online comment form. Our staff will be accepting comments until Monday, December 21. Construction is proposed for 2024 pending budget approval.

For more information please visit RichmondHill.ca/ParksDesign
Environment Education Webinar Hosted by Ward 4 Councillor David West
Thanks to all who attended the Richmond Hill Ward 4 Environment Education Webinar on Sunday, October 25th.

Learn what we can all do together to make our Richmond Hill environment better - the webinar recording is available on my website at davidwest-richmondhill.ca/events

You can also visit our Partner Resource Centre for more ways to get involved and make a positive environmental impact and test your Environmental knowledge with the Kahoots quiz!
Richmond Hill Builds Housing Solutions for the Future

Residents invited to help create options for more affordable housing

The City of Richmond Hill is asking for public input as it develops a new strategy to address current and future housing needs in the community.

I believe that one of the most pressing issues for most GTA communities at this time is affordability of housing for our residents. We know there are significant challenges faced by many looking to purchase or rent a home in Richmond Hill. The Affordable Housing Strategy will focus on middle-income households, and will consider a variety of options to increase the supply of attainable housing in the private housing market. This could include regulation, permitting secondary suites (basement apartments), financial incentives for new construction and/or renovations, and more.

When complete in 2021, the Affordable Housing Strategy will provide guidance and tools for the City to work in partnership with the building and development sector, as well as the not for profit sector and other levels of government, to create more affordable choices for residents in Richmond Hill. Recommendations from the Strategy will also inform future decisions related to the City’s Official Plan and Comprehensive Zoning By-law which are presently under review.

The City is seeking your feedback on options to create more affordable housing choices in Richmond Hill. An online survey will be available starting November 6 at at RichmondHill.ca/AHS

Also there will be a virtual Affordable Housing Strategy Public Open House related to this subject on November 5th. Preregistration is required and all the details can be found by clicking here.
Cedar Springs Stormwater Management Facility Rehabilitation SWMF 16-8
Richmond Hill is currently conducting a Feasibility Study with respect to the Cedar Springs stormwater management facility located at 24 Cedar Springs Drive. The study area is shown in the map above.

The study will evaluate options to rehabilitate the existing stormwater management facility and correct existing deficiencies.

As part of the feasibility study, multiple field investigations will be undertaken by the City’s consultants on City-owned property to determine the current condition of the pond.

These investigations will include:
• Topographic and Bathymetric Survey
• Natural Heritage Surveys
• Archaeological Investigation

It is anticipated that these investigations will begin October 2020 and are expected to be completed by the end of the year or early 2021.
Uncollected Waste Left at the Curb Subject to Fines
As part of its commitment to keeping the community safe and clean for everyone, the City of Richmond Hill is reminding residents not to leave waste at the curb outside of scheduled collection days.
The City receives regular complaints from the community about others leaving uncollected waste at the curb for prolonged periods of time. Items often left at the curb outside of waste collection days include, but are not limited to furniture, toilets, garbage bags, construction material, hazardous and electronic waste. Typically, this is a result of a move out, renovations or upgrading items in the home.
When complaints are received, City staff will investigate the property and provide the resident with an educational notice (in the form of a door hanger) noting that the waste must be removed from the curb immediately. If the resident does not comply within 48 hours, they could be subject to a fine of up to $100 for being in contravention of the City’s Waste By-law
Residents are reminded that:
·        Waste must be placed at the curb no earlier than 6 p.m. on the evening prior to collection and any uncollected waste and empty containers must be removed from the curb by 9 p.m. on collection day.
·        Richmond Hill’s current garbage limit is three bags or items per collection day. If you have more than three items, you must use garbage tags for the extra items to be collected. Garbage tags can be purchased at the Operations Centre and all Richmond Hill libraries during modified business hours.
·        A garbage item means a garbage bag, bundle, garbage can (max. 125L or 33G) or a piece of furniture (max. 150lbs and/or 1.83m in length).
·        Electronic, hazardous and construction waste is not accepted in the curbside collection program. These materials must be taken to a York Region depot for disposal. Visit York.ca/WasteDepots for locations, hours of operation and a list of what’s accepted.
·        Large appliances are collected for free by appointment. Call 905-771-8800 or book online at RichmondHill.ca/Appliance.
·        For safety reasons, toilets set out at the curb must be separated into two pieces (tank and bowl) unless it is a one piece toilet and separation is not possible.

Visit RichmondHill.ca/Waste for more information about Richmond Hill’s waste collection program.
Richmond Hill’s Support Spurs Success of Local Young Entrepreneur
The Summer Company program provides foundational support to start and grow a business. Richmond Hill’s Summer Company program has supported more than 150 local young entrepreneurs since it began in 2004. Richmond Hill’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Joshua Gao, created an exciting fashion brand this summer that caught the attention of customers and investors alike.

With the support of the City’s Summer Company program, Gao earned more than $40,000 in revenue and received $24,000 in private funding for his clothing brand Orange Juice The Brand. Congratulations Joshua! For more information visit the City's website by clicking here
Richmond Hill Considers Regulating Short-Term Rental Accommodations
I am pleased that Richmond Hill is moving forward on exploring options to regulate short-term rental accommodations. We are seeking your input through an online survey.

Short-term rental accommodation occurs when private individuals rent out their house or part of a house, condominium or apartment, such as a room, for short periods of time (generally 30 days or less). This is often handled through platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com that act as host sites for coordinating short-term rental accommodations.

Currently, the City’s Official Plan and zoning by-laws do not specifically address short-term rental accommodations, nor are they regulated by a licensing regime. The City occasionally receives concerns from residents about short-term rentals with respect to noise, parking and property standards. We are now looking at options to address these concerns.

Tell us what you think. Richmond Hill residents are encouraged to complete a short, online survey about if, and how, short-term accommodations should be zoned. The survey is available at RichmondHill.ca/ZoneRH and runs until November 18, 2020.
York Region Council Approves Greenbelt Development Request

On October 22, 2020 York Regional Council passed a motion "to reiterate its request to the Province to develop a process allowing municipalities to access site-specific strategically located employment lands for employment use only, if deemed necessary through a Municipal Comprehensive Review".
Further York Council also asked the Province to "consider the extension of Great Lake based servicing as an option to service settlement areas within the Greenbelt Plan and Oak Ridges Moraine Plan areas".
I remain very concerned with this move as these protected environmental lands serve a very important function in our environment and should be protected in perpetuity.

I am also unconvinced that there is a pressing need to open up these lands for employment at this time. There is unused employment land in Richmond Hill's inventory that can be used to satisfy our employment needs into the future. I remain of the opinion that opening up environmentally protected land is not advisable or necessary.

I was further concerned that in the same meeting that York Region Council approved the motion to request the Province allow protected land to be potentially used as employment land, they passed a motion to allow a parcel of land in Richmond Hill that was originally designated as employment land to be converted to residential use. This land is located at the corner of Major Mackenzie Drive and Highway 404.

Given that this land is right next to the highway it would have been perfect as employment land and would have helped to fill the needs for employment land in our community instead of opening up protected land on the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Fortunately, it is my understanding that the Provincial government has remained firm in its position to deny any requests to open up Greenbelt lands to development but given York Region Council's motion it will be ultimately up to the Provincial Government to decide. It would be my hope the province will deny the request.

There have been many news articles published about this issue and I have supplied links to three of these below.

Please click here to read a recent article in the Liberal by Kim Zarzour.

An Article titled Memo to Ontario: "Just leave the Greenbelt Alone" appeared in the October 13 edition of the Toronto Star...click the link below to read it.

Aurora's Mayor Tom Mrakas opposed this motion and posted this on his website on October 26 following the Regional Council meeting.
Member Motion - Controlling Traffic on Local Streets

Traffic issues on local roads are the single most frequent concern that I receive from residents. As Richmond Hill has grown over the past 7 years the frequency of these concerns has also grown. I think it is very important that our Traffic Engineering Staff be supplied with the tools, policies, and procedures that are up to date and available to respond to traffic related concerns.

To respond to this need I presented the following motion to Richmond Hill Council in October. Council opted to defer this motion to the Council Meeting on November 25th, but I am hopeful that after receiving requested information from staff about the pressing need for this action, Council will ultimately pass the motion.

Councillor West Member
Controlling Motion Traffic on Local Streets

Whereas traffic safety is an important issue in all Greater Toronto Area (GTA) communities including Richmond Hill;

Whereas Richmond Hill’s population is growing and with this growth comes a commensurate increase in traffic volumes, it is therefore very important that municipalities like Richmond Hill are able to manage these increased volumes and respond to traffic issues when they arise over time;

Whereas there has been a noticeable increase in traffic related concerns from residents in the recent past, and especially during the current COVID-19 shut down period;

Whereas to address these increases in traffic concerns, Richmond Hill traffic staff and Council must be properly resourced to deal with the issues and meet the expectations of our residents;

Now Therefore Be It Resolved:
That Council send a letter to the Ministry of the Attorney General and to the Ministry of Transportation Ontario to expedite the permissions from the Province that need to urgently be put in place to allow the revenue from photo radar devices placed in school zones to be a part of the municipal Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) program so that the cost of this program will not be prohibitive to local municipalities like it currently is;

That the Traffic Safety Supervisor position that is already approved in a previous budget be hired immediately.

That as soon as this position is filled, Council direct staff to complete the long scheduled but not yet started, Traffic Operations Study which will bring forward sound and updated policies to expand and guide the range of traffic safety, traffic management and traffic calming measures that can be used as appropriate, and when necessary, to better control traffic on municipal roads.
Richmond Hill Makes It Easier to Get Waste Bins and Garbage Tags

Residents can now go online to purchase new blue boxes, green bins, kitchen containers and garbage tags, as well as pay to exchange broken Richmond Hill labelled blue boxes and green bins. New delivery by mail (garbage tags only) and curbside pickup options are also available.

Here’s how it works:
Garbage tags – order online for delivery by mail
·        Order and pay online at RichmondHill.ca/BinsAndTags.
·        Garbage tag orders will be mailed to you in seven to 10 business days.

Waste bins and garbage tags – order online for curbside pickup at the Operations Centre
·        Order and pay online at RichmondHill.ca/BinsAndTags. Orders will be available in one full business day for contactless curbside pickup at the Operations Centre (1200 Elgin Mills Road East).
·        Arrive at the Operations Centre during operating hours and park in one of the designated curbside pickup spots.
·        Call us from your car at the phone number posted on the curbside pickup sign. Have your order number ready.
·        We’ll bring your order to your car. You pick it up and go!

In person purchases are still available
·        Residents still have the option of purchasing waste bins and garbage tags in person at the Operations Centre.
·        Garbage tags are also available at all Richmond Hill libraries. Visit rhpl.ca for locations and hours of operation.

For exchanges, please note:
·        An $8.31 (including HST) fee will apply to help offset replacement costs.
·        Residents exchanging Richmond Hill labelled bins should bring the damaged/broken bin(s) with them to the Operations Centre when they pick up their online order.
·        If the damaged/broken bin is not Richmond Hill labelled, it can still be brought to the Operations Centre to be recycled, but the resident will have to purchase a new bin.
Visit RichmondHill.ca/BinsAndTags for prices, Operations Centre hours and more information
Upcoming Events
Hill Potters' Guild Online Sale - Preview November 5 to 6
Sale   November 7 to 8 

Shop for family, friends or you at our annual juried fall sale, now online!
Discover #handmade art and functional pottery for the holidays by #local potters from #Yorkregion.
Find inspiring #giftideas while supporting your #artscommunity. 

Richmond Hill invites you to Santa's Workshop Drive-Thru

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Entry time
6 p.m.
7 p.m.
8 p.m.
*The experience will last approximately 5 – 7 minutes
*The approximate wait time is 30 minutes to access the route due to the number of vehicles

Richmond Green Park

For more information and to register please click on the learn more button. Space is limited!

Richmond Hill MP's Food Drive

Saturday, November 21, 2020
10 am - 2 pm

Town Park
Elgin Barrow Arena
43 Church Street South

Critical Items Needed (but all donations of non-perishable food gratefully accepted)

For more information please click on 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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