David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
March 2021
Spring in Richmond Hill
Spring is in the air and the days are getting longer. I have always loved this time of year for many reasons. One of those reasons reasons, that my family has shared for a number of generations, is that spring signals the start of maple syrup season. As a kid I always loved to be in the sugar shack while the maple syrup was boiling and the sweet smell of maple was in the air. Five years ago I wanted to offer a Maple Syrup Festival to our community to celebrate this uniquely Canadian tradition and so the Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival began. This event has grown over the years to be a well loved and well attended community event. Unfortunately last year's festival was the first event in the city to be cancelled as it was to take place the week after the first COVID-19 lockdown was announced.

With the COVID-19 restrictions still in place we have decided to hold the 5th annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival virtually this year on March 21st. More information and instructions on how to participate in the fun family activities that we have planned and details about how to register for the webinar can be found below. I hope you can join us and celebrate Spring together but apart.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank so many people for participating in the recent Official Plan Update Meeting that took place in February. The turn out for the virtual meeting was excellent! Richmond Hill Planning staff and myself have so far received a great deal of excellent feedback from residents about their vision for Richmond Hill's future. The Official Plan Update process will continue for many months and there is more information about future ways to participate described below. It is very important that we move forward in the process of updating our Official plan that citizens make their voices heard to help shape the future of our community.

Finally there are a number of development applications that are currently in process in Richmond Hill. I have particular concerns about two of these development proposals which are scheduled for Council Public Meetings. Both of these applications are quite large and considerably exceed the development permissions contained in our current Official plan. I hope that you will be able to participate in these meetings and can send feedback to Council, the applicant and our Planning Staff by email or by speaking to Council at the upcoming meetings. The full detail on how to participate and about the applications themselves are listed below.

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 Its spring and its Maple Syrup Season. I hope you can join us in celebrating the 5th Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. Details are contained below and by visiting https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/maple-syrup-festival/
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
COVID-19 - Vaccinations now available for 80+
Effective March 1st,York Region residents age 80+ - born 1941 or earlier, will be able to book an appointment online for their COVID-19 vaccination.
Richmond Green Vaccination Clinic will be open to residents who are in the 80+ age group commencing Monday March 1 by appointment only.

Family members, friends or caregivers of YorkRegion residents 80+ can help them book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.by visiting york.ca/COVID19Vaccine

At the writing of this article all vaccine appointments are booked up but more appointments will become available as more vaccine doses become available. To remain up to date on the latest news and availability please visit york.ca/COVID19Vaccine

For the most up to date information, visit  Ontario Covid-19 vaccine or  york.ca/COVID19 for information specific to York Region.  

If you have questions about COVID-19 or vaccines and would like to speak with someone, you can also call Access York at 1-877-464-9675 to speak with a York Region representative.
Monarch Butterfly Crusader Carol Pasternak speaks about Monarch Conservation
I recently was invited to represent Richmond Hill in a Zoom meeting that Monarch Butterfly Crusader and monarch book author Carol Pasternak hosted. The meeting was about Carol’s work with monarch butterflies and also about her book How to Raise Monarch Butterflies A Step by Step Guide for Kids (to view the video of this meeting visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUiymwRuNV4)

There were attendees on this meeting from all over North America. Carol asked me to talk about the successes that Richmond Hill has had in protecting monarch butterflies since passing the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, and also in protecting pollinating insects since Richmond Hill Council passed the Bee City Pledge. I was proud to share our community’s successes with others from across North America.

On a related note, I will be hosting the 2nd annual Councillor West Monarch Butterfly Tagging Challenge in the summer and Carol’s book is a “go to” source of information for participants on how to raise and tag monarch butterflies. For more information on Carol’s book visit http://monarchcrusader.com/

Stay tuned for more details about the 2nd Annual Councillor West Monarch Tagging. 
5th Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival
One of my favourite times of year is spring. In Canada, along with the coming of spring is maple syrup season. For the past 4 years I have hosted our Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival.

This well loved community event has been enjoyed by many residents over the years but this year we will not be able to gather for a live and in person event. On March 21st at 10AM I will be hosting a virtual version of the 5th Annual Maple Syrup Festival that will provide fun for the whole family and make it possible for us to celebrate together but apart!

We hope you can join us to celebrate spring in a uniquely Canadian way. Please visit my website by clicking here for more information and to register.
Ward 4 Community Conversation – Neighbourhood Safety
I hosted our first Community Conversation in February. This webinar featured a discussion on an important topic to all of us - Community Safety. York Regional Police Crime Prevention Officer Steven Hennigar provided information about crime trends in our neighbourhood while stressing that we live in a very safe community.

He also spoke about tips to crime proof your home and also delivered information about setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group in your neighbourhood.

Thanks to the many residents that attended the webinar and I would invite everyone to join us for our April Ward 4 Community Conversation. The details of the April webinar will be available on the website and in the April e newsletter - so stay tuned!
Virtual Coldest Night of the Year Fundraiser
Michelle and I joined over 600 other participants in the 2021 Coldest Night of the Year walk in February. This year all participants walked on their own due to COVID-19 Protocols. As a result of generous support from the community Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold and Blue Door are the recipients of over $150,000 to aid in their work to end homelessness in York Region!

I wanted to extend a congratulations to all the participants and organizers of this walk and most importantly for supporting this very important cause.
Yellow Brick House - Break the Silence Virtual Gala - May 7, 2021
On May 7, 2021, Yellow Brick House will be hosting their annual Gala. This year the gala will happen virtually and registration is free! Since the start of COVID-19, fundraising has been more important than ever. Sadly there has been a 30% increase in domestic violence during the pandemic. It is important that we all understand the importance of empowering women and children, especially those in crisis or experiencing trauma.

Yellow Brick is hoping that you might help us on their mission to end domestic violence against women and children. I will be in attendance and I hope to see you there as well!

Virtual Break the Silence Gala -Registration is FREE http://yellowbrickhousevirtualgala.com/
How's the Climate? Podcast by Making Waves
How’s The Climate is the new GTA-based podcast focused on educating Richmond Hill residents about Climate Change, in partnership with Youth Challenge InternationalEvergreen Canada, and Resilient Richmond Hill.   
Instead of discussing the weather, let's make climate conversations a regular part of our lives; no more "how's the weather" questions... start asking "how's the climate?"

"How's the Climate" is a climate action podcast based in the city of Richmond Hill. Aiming to bring the voice of experts to the ears of the public. Each episode, we interview a different climate leader, feature their inspiring story and climate action suggestions. Listen in to find out how you can help in this fight for our future! Every Monday, a different guest, an incredible conversation, and more tips to help our community curb climate change, together.
 
To listen on RSS Feed - https://rss.com/podcasts/howstheclimate/
 
Richmond Hill Council News
Proposed Development at Major Mackenzie Drive West and Arnold Crescent
As I previously described in a letter to the community dated February 5th, 2021 and in previous e newsletters, a development proposal at 129-147 Arnold Crescent and 190-230 Major Mackenzie Drive West has been received by Richmond Hill Planning Staff. These lands are located at the north west corner of Arnold Crescent and Major Mackenzie Drive West.
 
This proposed development far exceeds the development permissions outlined in the current Official Plan. I have heard from many residents since the proposal was released that reinforce my existing and continuing view that this application does not meet the expectation and vision that residents in this area have for their community. I have consistently heard the proposal represents development that is too big, too high, and as such is not appropriate for the area. I appreciate all who took time to contact me and discuss this matter, and I generally agree with what I have heard from area residents opposing this application.
 
The next step in the process is for Richmond Hill Council to host a Council Public Meeting and this meeting has been set for Wednesday, March 24th at 7:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19 public health protocols the meeting will be hosted virtually. The purpose of this meeting is to solicit and hear feedback from the public, in front of Council, Planning Staff, and the applicant. There will be no decisions made by Council at this meeting other than to refer all comments back to our Planning Staff for further analysis. It is very important at Council Public Meetings that the public make their voices heard and I would strongly encourage people to take this opportunity in one or more of the following 3 ways. 
 
You can most effectively participate by:
  1. Registering to speak to Council. Delegates will have up to 5 minutes to speak to Richmond Hill Council via Zoom concerning their thoughts regarding the application. To do so delegates must register with the Richmond Hill Clerk by March 23rd at noon. If you wish to be a delegate please send the Clerk an email request at clerks@richmondhill.ca
  2. Writing an email to Council about this application. In addition to, or instead of being a delegate, citizens can write down their thoughts about the application and send this to clerks@richmondhill.ca. All emails and letters will become a part of the agenda package so all Council members can understand your thoughts on this matter.
  3. Attend the Virtual Council Public Meeting by visiting www.richmondhill.ca and clicking on the Mayor and Council tab which will then take you to the watch livestream tab. You can also read the preliminary staff report that will be available approximately one week before the Council Public Meeting (this report will be available by visiting www.richmondhill.ca and then going to the calendar tab and selecting the March 24th Council Public Meeting (or try https://calendar.richmondhill.ca/default/Detail/2021-03-24-1930-Council-Public-Meeting). Citizens are welcome to tune in to the meeting on the scheduled date to learn about the details of the development application and will also be able to hear their neighbours’ views regarding the application. If you are not able to attend the meeting, the video of the meeting will also be archived on the Richmond Hill website.
 
After the Council Public Meeting, Richmond Hill Planning Staff will take the input from the community and all other details regarding the application and weigh that input against the Official Plan and all other in place policy that applies to this specific development application. At a future date, when this analysis is complete, there will be a staff report that will be presented to Council with a recommendation for Council to approve or deny the application.
 
As I mentioned above I would always encourage the public to be well informed and participate as fully as they can in any aspect of our community, not just this one. I would hope that people can participate in this case. To stay up to date on this, and other local news, please feel free to sign up for my monthly e newsletter by sending me an email to david.west@richmondhill.ca with “Newsletter” in the subject line.

 
As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel welcome to contact me by phone at 416-346-3090 or by email at david.west@richmondhill.ca
Proposed Development at 11160 Yonge Street
This application is for an Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment to permit the redevelopment of the Yonge Street site for an 18, 35 and 15 storey mixed-use development providing for 731 residential units, 510 m2 of retail, an overall gross floor area of 58,940 m2.

This application is tentatively scheduled to be brought forward at a Council Public Meeting on April 7th, 2021. At this meeting the public will have the opportunity to learn more about the details of the application and provide input to Council.

I would encourage any area residents to make their voices heard at that time. You may speak to Council at this meeting by registering with the Clerk. You can reach the Clerk by email at clerks@richmondhill.ca.

You may also write your thoughts in an email and send them to clerks@richmondhill.ca. Letters received in this fashion will become a part of the agenda for the meeting and will be shared with all members of Council. (Full information about how to effectively participate in a Council Public Meeting is contained in the previous piece in this newsletter concerning the proposed a development at Major Mackenzie and Arnold Cres.)

This application represents considerably more density than is currently allowed in Richmond Hill's Official Plan and I have concerns about a number of aspects of the proposal.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at david.west@richmondhill.ca or by phone at 416-346-3090
Council Advocates for the Federal Government to Support Subway Extension into Richmond Hill 

Richmond Hill Council approved a resolution to formally request federal funding for the Yonge North Subway Extension.
 
Earlier this month, the federal government announced $14.9 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, which includes a $3 billion per year investment in public transit in Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27. Richmond Hill Council is calling on the federal government to commit immediately to broad and substantial funding for the Yonge North Subway Extension to help the local, provincial and federal economies emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the provincial government and York Region have already agreed to fund their portion of this critical infrastructure project.
 
One of Richmond Hill Council’s key strategic priorities is improving ease of movement around the city, including by promoting Richmond Hill’s multiple transportation interconnections and being well positioned for the Yonge North Subway Extension. In anticipation of the arrival of the subway, Richmond Hill is also developing plans for the Richmond Hill Centre area – a future community of choice for residents, visitors and businesses, where all forms of transportation come together.

Richmond Hill Centre will be a vibrant and healthy community, defined by pedestrian-oriented, well-connected streets, parks and gathering places.
 
Mayor Barrow taking a Leave of Absence
As many residents now have heard Mayor Barrow has taken a leave of absence from his role due to medical reasons. On behalf of all residents, I wish Mayor Barrow all the best and a speedy return to his role as Mayor of Richmond Hill!

Mayor Barrow's Statement issued February 24, 2021

Today I notified Members of Council I will be taking a medical leave of absence from my role as Mayor of Richmond Hill, effective Thursday. I am grateful for Council’s support in granting me this leave.

It troubles me to step away, even temporarily, as this pandemic continues to affect our community. However, the City remains in very capable hands. Deputy Mayor Joe DiPaola has agreed to take on the role of acting mayor until my return.

I am confident that with his leadership, and the support of Council and City staff, Richmond Hill will be in good hands. I’d also like to thank Councillor Godwin Chan for agreeing to serve in my place at Regional Council.

This city has been my home my entire life – it is part of who I am. I look forward to the day, hopefully soon, when I can return to serving our community.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Dave Barrow
Development Application
Millwin Investments Ltd.
11300 Yonge Street
Our Planning Staff has recently received a complete development application for this address. The details of this proposal are contained below. A Council Public Meeting has not yet been scheduled for this application but I will keep the community informed of any news.

The development proposal consists of one (1), 12-storey condominium apartment building oriented along Yonge Street as well as ten (10) townhouse blocks located at the rear portions of the subject site. Additional details on the apartment building and townhouses are highlighted as follows:

Condominium Apartment Building:
• 12-storey building height terracing to seven storeys to the rear;
• 277 condominium units consisting of a mix of one to two bedroom units;
Indoor and rooftop private amenity spaces; and
• Two levels of underground parking accommodating 269 parking spaces for residents and visitors, along with an additional 21 grade related visitor parking spaces located within an interior courtyard, screened from Yonge Street.
Play an Important Role in Planning Richmond Hill’s Future
Our residents have a great opportunity now to shape our future community through our current Official Plan Update process that Council, the public, and stakeholders are currently undertaking. I invite everyone to get involved in the discussion and help us make Richmond Hill the place to be for future generations.

A survey soliciting feedback on this Official Plan Update has just been completed and our Planning Staff is now asking residents to share ideas and favourite places in Richmond Hill

When updating the Official Plan, we want to understand which places and spaces the community enjoys today. We’re asking residents, workers, and visitors to drop a virtual pin on the “My Favourite Places” interactive map and tell us your favourite places in the city throughout the duration of the Official Plan Update process. Your comments will help shape our communities and inform our future direction. 

These new engagement initiatives follow the City Plan 2041 Virtual Open House held on February 18. At the well-attended session, over 200 participants heard about Richmond Hill’s opportunities and potential from award-winning visionary urban planner, David Dixon and learned about the proposed vision for the city to 2041 and balancing growth and green. Those who missed the meeting are welcome to view the recording at RichmondHill.ca/OPUpdate.

Based on the emerging vision on which staff are seeking feedback, City Plan 2041 aims to establish Richmond Hill as the centre piece of York Region and one of the GTA’s most prominent, complete community. Residents can subscribe to RichmondHill.ca/OPUpdate to stay up-to-date and involved throughout the process.

To read a summary of the February 18th meeting and my thoughts on the material that was presented please visit https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/city-plan-2041-official-plan-update-public-open-house-summary-2/
Richmond Hill Returns to Red-Control in COVID-19 Response Framework

The Ontario government has announced that York Region, including Richmond Hill is transitioning back into the Red-Control level of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework and the stay-at-home order is being lifted effective Monday, February 22 at 12:01 a.m. 
 
All City facilities remain closed to the public at this time. Residents can still access many City services online or by phone. Visit and subscribe to RichmondHill.ca/COVID19 to stay updated on the status of City services and facilities.
 
All Richmond Hill Public Library locations remain open for pre-booked curbside pickup and drop box returns, with a variety of programs and digital services available online. Information on service changes as they become available can be found at www.rhpl.ca/reopening.
 
Gathering limits remain in place: organized public events and social gatherings will be 5 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Please help keep our community safe by following all Public Heath guidelines:
 
Staying active
For all the latest activities, visit RichmondHill.ca/RecGuide where you can register for all ages virtual programs and at-home resources.

Visit RichmondHill.ca/StayHome for a list of parks, trails and at-home resources.
 
Vaccinations in York Region
This is a very dynamic time and information is always being updated, so to remain current, your trusted source for COVID19 related information is york.ca/COVID19 and york.ca/COVID19Vaccine.  Inquiries call also be made Monday to Friday during regular business hours to the Access York contact centre at 1-877-464-9675.   

Shop local
With restaurants and retail allowed to open with capacity limits effective February 22, residents are encouraged to support our small businesses and restaurants by shopping local.

Visit RichmondHill.ca/ShopLocal for more information and support small businesses for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree.  #ShopRichmondHill this March to Win Great Prizes!  
Mill Pond Park Master Plan Website Launch 

The Mill Pond is a Richmond Hill treasure. It has always been a focal point in our community ever since Richmond Hill was founded.

In the early days of Richmond Hill the Mill Pond was the centre of industry providing power for mills in the area and even provided drinking water for our community.

Today, many residents now enjoy the Mill Pond as a park, a place to gather, be with nature, and celebrate as a community. Summer Concerts in the Park, skating on the Mill Pond and the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival in the winter, and walks along the paths continue to be a valued past time that the Mill Pond Park provides for our community.

Over the coming years there will be work that will need to be done to maintain and enhance this park. Given how important this park is to our community it is important that any work we do to enhance the park is done well and planned well.

Part of this work will be the rehabilitation of the Pond itself. Over the years the Pond has silted in and as a result its dismissed ecological and storm water capacity needs to be addressed. An Environmental Assessment for this future work has begun. In addition Richmond Hill’s Parks Planning Staff and myself will undertake a process that will determine, with the help of the community, the future vision for the Mill Pond Park. The very important part of this public process will begin officially in the Fall of 2021. To learn more about this upcoming process and the proposed scope of work visit www.RichmondHill.ca/MillPondProject
Richmond Hill scores high marks for environmental protection

The City of Richmond Hill has released its environmental scorecard demonstrating its continued environmental leadership and positive progress in protecting our local environment. The report card shows good progress in many areas and for that I am pleased.

However the work to create a healthy environment is a continuous process and the scorecard also outlines work that still needs to be done. I am also pleased that we have a plan to accomplish this continuous improvement as well and I will support this important work.

A recent report to Council outlined the progress and achievements made to date on implementation of the City’s Environment Strategy, Greening the HillOur Community, Our Future from 2015-2019, including: 
·        A significant reduction in corporate energy use and emissions
·        A downward trend in corporate and community water consumption
·        Maintaining one of the highest waste diversion rates in Canada at 69%
·        A 4% increase in the City’s tree canopy coverage (equivalent to 100,000 trees) making Richmond Hill one of the first municipalities in York Region to surpass its minimum Regional tree canopy target
·        An increase in active transportation infrastructure, such as bike lanes and trails 
 
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Richmond Hill Council and City staff also continued to deliver on environmental initiatives in 2020 and received several notable environmental awards for the efforts. To read about the significant achievements to date click here.  
 
Balancing Green and Growth is one of Council’s priorities. Residents can learn more about Richmond Hill’s environmental efforts by visiting RichmondHill.ca/Environment. 
 Planning for future parking needs in Richmond Hill
The City of Richmond Hill has launched a survey to solicit input from current and potential future residents about parking space requirements for new developments. The survey is available until March 15 and respondents will be entered in a draw for a chance to win a $25 gift card.
 
As part of Council’s priority to balance growth and green, and to prioritize ease of movement around the City, Richmond Hill is working on a Parking and Transportation Demand Management Strategy to promote and support progressive and sustainable forms of development that will align development policy with the City’s vision of building a new form of urban, affordable and transit-oriented community. This will help Richmond Hill continue to be a community of choice for years to come. 
 
Quick facts
·        The Parking and Transportation Demand Management Strategy will be an update to the 2010 Parking Strategy – Draft Report.
·        The Parking and Transportation Demand Management Strategy is intended to recommend standards, guidance and input into the City’s ongoing Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Review, the Transportation Master Plan Update, as well as the City’s Official Plan Update and related Secondary Plans.
Support Small Businesses for a Chance to Win a $500 Shopping Spree
Shopping Local is always a great way to make a positive difference in our community - especially in these times. Shop local helps local businesses and it demonstrates our community spirit.

I would urge everyone to visit a local business you already know and explore other local businesses in Richmond Hill! I cannot think of a better way for all of us to support our friends, neighbours, and our local economy!

The City of Richmond Hill, in collaboration with the Richmond Hill Board of Trade and the Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area, is launching #ShopRichmondHill, a month-long social media campaign and contest to encourage residents to support their local small businesses.

Guided by the Recover Richmond Hill Task Force and Action Plan, the City has been working with all levels of government and local partners to help businesses adapt throughout the pandemic. Encouraging residents to shop local is a key to helping businesses not only recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, but also thrive.

From March 1-31, 2021:
·        Buy something from a Richmond Hill small business or restaurant
·        Take a photo of your purchase (e.g., item, meal, service rendered)
·        Post it to social media using #ShopRichmondHill, tagging @MyRichmondHill and mentioning the business you’re supporting

Your tag enters you into a random draw to win great prizes, including a grand prize of a $500 gift certificate to be spent at a Richmond Hill business of your choice. Entries can also be made online at https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/shop-local.aspx

Residents are encouraged to follow all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines to ensure a safe shopping experience. Online and curbside pick-up purchases are eligible. Visit https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/shop-local.aspx for full contest details.
Management of gypsy moth populations on City-owned trees
Last summer I received a number of concerns from residents about the Gypsy Moth infestation that areas in Richmond Hill experienced. This insect is a non-native insect that feeds on a variety of tree species such as oak, birch and maple. It is found throughout southern Ontario, including Richmond Hill and is known to have cyclical outbreaks every 7 to 10 years.

Gypsy moth caterpillars eat leaves and when in large numbers, the caterpillars have the ability to remove much or all of the leaf canopy. However, since the canopy has the ability to regrow as the season progresses, long term effects can be reduced or prevented through management techniques.

Managing trees on City property
Street trees that exhibit gypsy moth infestations will be targeted throughout the winter and spring when the moth is most manageable. City staff will be removing egg masses on small to medium sized trees through manual scraping or a specialized portable vacuum to reduce the number of hatched caterpillars in the spring. Watering will occur in the hotter summer months if necessary to further mitigate long term impacts.
 
Public notification 
Residents on the roads where work is taking place will receive a notification letter which also includes background information on gypsy moths and what they should do if they find gypsy moth on their trees. A copy of the letter is attached.

Information on how to spot an infestation and how to reduce gypsy moth populations can be found at RichmondHill.ca/GypsyMoth.
Upcoming Events
5th Annual Maple Syrup Festival

Please join us for the 5th Annual Maple Syrup Festival. This year, due to Covid-19 our event will be a virtual experience and fun for the whole family...To Register please click the Learn More button.

Yellow Brick House - Break the Silence Virtual Gala - May 7, 2021

On May 7, 2021, we will be hosting our annual Gala virtually, and registration is free. Virtual Break the Silence Gala -Registration is FREE...click on the Learn More button to Register.
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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