David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
October 2020
Moving Forward in Richmond Hill
I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It is certainly a challenging time but I agree with so many that I have spoken to recently, despite the challenges we are currently facing, we have a great deal to be thankful for in Richmond Hill. It has been a fast paced and busy month on Richmond Hill Council as we transition into the fall season. The length of this e newsletter reflects this.

Below are a number of articles and updates on various activities happening in our community. Of note is an update on the completion of the Mackenzie Health Vaughan hospital expansion. This facility is set to open in the early part of 2021 and will add much needed hospital capacity to our community and our present one hospital model. On that note I am participating again in the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke fun run/walk to support Stroke care in Richmond Hill. I am seeking folks who might want to "virtually" join my team and help with this initiative. More details on both of these points are included below.

Despite the challenges that COVID has brought to all of us and to the world, Richmond Hill has recently completed or begun work on, a number of important infrastructure projects. The David Hamilton Park and Ed Sackfield Arena facility expansion have been completed, the Twickenham Storm Pond Rehabilitation project has made important progress and the reconstruction and urbanization of Wright and Powell Streets has begun. Richmond Hill has also announced and implemented a number of initiatives to support business during the pandemic. These initiatives were the result of the recently completed Recover Richmond Hill Task force designed to support our local businesses during this very difficult time.

A local Richmond Hill resident is also hosting a national two day conference entitled "After the Pandemic - The State and Future of Canada". This virtual conference will focus on what we can and must do as a country and as a community, to build back better after the pandemic. I have been honoured to participate in this conference on a panel that will discuss the future of cities in Canada. Details of all of this conference is also contained below in this e newsletter.

Also below is a report from the Council Public Meeting held last month regarding the 28 storey building proposed near Yonge and Oxford. The community was well represented at this meeting and made their views on this application quite clear! A more detailed account can be found below.

On a lighter note, the Richmond Hill Blooms (Front Yard Garden) Contest winners have been announced. While I am sorry that these accomplished front yard gardens can't be honoured in person along with their owners, I am pleased to showcase below the winners and all the excellence in our front yard gardens. I appreciate the beauty that all the participants have brought to our community, especially in a year like 2020.

I hope that everyone might join me virtually in celebrating our Natural Environment on Sunday October 25th, from 1-3PM. I am hosting a webinar about the local environment and Sustainable Communities in lieu of what I had hoped to be the second Annual Envirofest. The first Envirofest was a great success and was held last year at this time at the Mill Pond Park. Regardless of the pandemic I wanted to again come together virtually with the community to celebrate our natural environment and to learn what we can do to make our local environment even better. I am particularly pleased to be offering this educational webinar given the overwhelming public interest for the environment from the recent Strategic Plan Survey. With an emphasis on "Sustainable Communities", this webinar will educate and empower residents to make positive steps towards improving our local environment. Details are available below and you can register at my website at www.davidwest-richmondhill.ca/events/. I hope you can join us!

I always welcome a call or an email from anyone if they have any comments, questions or concerns. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090. I wish everyone all the best, and look forward to being able to speak to residents face to face soon!

Banner Photo - Fall Colour in Richmond Hill

Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Join Me Virtually - Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke Virtual 5K Run
For the past several years I have had the pleasure of participating in, and serving on, the organizing committee for the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke 5 KM run. The event has always been a fun way to bring the community together but perhaps most importantly the event supports a great cause as the funds go to Stroke care at our Mackenzie Health Hospital! The event will take place on October 17th.

Our committee has planned a virtual run where we will all run or walk 5 km on our own rather than all together in one place like we have done in past years. We will be running separately this year but we will still be together in supporting excellent health care in our community and having fun while doing it! The goal is the same and the challenge is the same!

I am looking for members of the public to join my team. If you would like participate as a part of the Ward 4 Runners and Walkers please join up at the following link - https://mhf.akaraisin.com/strides2020/3626ae96ef644ee387c0941fdc4bdad2

You can help us reach our fundraising goal by making a donation on this page. Better yet, join our team by registering today and be part of our collective effort to improve the stroke care experience at Mackenzie Health. 
Completing construction at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital
The new Mackenzie Health Vaughan Hospital is almost complete. The staff marked substantial completion of this project on September 23rd.
 
Mackenzie Health teams can now begin the work of turning the building into a fully functional hospital so that it is ready to open to the public and provide patient care in early 2021.

At a recent virtual event, Mackenzie Health leadership joined with local and provincial government representatives and project partners to participate in a ceremonial hand over of the keys to the building – or in the case of Canada’s first smart hospital, a swipe card! You can watch a recording of the event here.
 
Although the building itself may look complete now, there’s so much work ahead before its ready to safely open the doors and begin treating patients.
 
Over the next few months, Mackenzie Health will continue the recruitment efforts to bring approximately 1,500 new staff, 100 new physicians and 350 volunteers to the team. Staff will be trained staff, and installing and over 30,000 pieces of equipment and furniture will be installed to make sure everything is operating exactly as it should on opening day. This is a massive undertaking and requires a team of experts to coordinate and implement. Equipment can range from a medicine cart or a computer workstation that can be delivered and installed in a matter of minutes to a pharmacy robot or a CT scanner that could each take days to deliver and install.
 
Click here for an inside look as the CT scanners were recently delivered to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. 
 
We know how excited our community is about opening our new hospital in Vaughan. When it opens, Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will add much-needed capacity to the health care system and, working in tandem with Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, it will double access to care for our community.
Climate Change -
Let's Create a Resilient
Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill is taking steps to become more resilient to climate change – and you can help! Our Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) is bringing together staff, key stakeholders and the public to find way to increase energy efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas emissions throughout Richmond Hill. For more information and to become involved please click here to visit the City's Website.
Richmond Hill Blooms 2020
Congratulations to the 2020 Richmond Hill Blooms winners!

Normally at this time of year we come together to celebrate the winning gardens of Richmond Hill. However, due to COVID-19 safety measures, the in-person Richmond Hill Blooms Annual Gala has been cancelled for this year. I still wanted to congratulate the winners and thank everyone who participated in the event this year. All of your efforts make our community more beautiful!

Richmond Hill Blooms is a program that encourages residents to play a role in making Richmond Hill a more beautiful place to live, work and play by creating attractive, colourful and well-maintained front gardens and recognizing them.  Every nominated residential front garden is acknowledged with a recognition sign for their garden as part of the Richmond Hill Blooms program two-step nomination. Following this recognition, a short list of best gardens are identified by Richmond Hill staff horticulturalists. The Richmond Hill Garden and Horticultural Society then select the top three gardens per ward based on the Ontario Horticultural Association's Garden and Special Planting Criteria.  

Please enjoy all the beautiful front gardens by clicking here

TRCA: Fall online learning opportunities  
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 all to check them out!

To learn more and to sign up please click here.
Welcome back to the Mill Pond Gallery!
The Richmond Hill Group of Artists have reopened the Mill Pond Gallery. Come in person to see their first ‘Live’ show. Original artwork is on exhibit and for sale, featuring a variety of themes, mediums and styles.
This venue is ideal for an outing, with COVID-19 protocols in place to keep us all safe.

Gallery Hours – Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Additionally, the Live show artwork and Virtual show artwork from members not comfortable coming back in person, will be posted on Facebook and Instagram 
throughout the duration of the show.

All artwork included in the Live and Virtual portion of this show can be viewed and purchased online by visiting our Shop at RHGA page and selecting Art Sales.

The Mill Pond Gallery is located at 314 Mill Street, across from beautiful Mill Pond Park.
All are welcome, no admission fee!
Environment Education Webinar Hosted by Ward 4 Councillor David West
I am hosting a free online educational experience to help residents learn more about our local environment and how we can can make a positive difference. Tune into the webinar, visit the online resource centre and participate in nature-themed activities on Sunday, October 25 from 1 - 3 p.m.

Special thank you to our sponsors...Miller Compost and Healthy Planet.


Richmond Hill Council News
Richmond Hill Celebrates Completion of two Modernized Community Facilities
Richmond Hill is excited to announce construction is now complete on the redevelopment of David Hamilton Park and the expansion of Ed Sackfield Arena!
 
The project was completed under budget and introduces a number of new amenities for residents. David Hamilton Park now features a splash pad, two playgrounds, multi-use sports court, outdoor fitness equipment and two table tennis stations, among other improvements. The new wing of Ed Sackfield Arena includes an NHL-sized ice rink and a fitness centre with a weight room, aerobics studio and the City’s first indoor track.

As part of Council’s and the City’s commitments to protecting our natural environment, both projects feature a number of environmental elements and innovations, including:

·        LEED Silver certification, in part through the use of recycled content in material and environmentally-friendly finishes
·        more than 400 new trees planted
·        new naturalized areas to foster and promote habitat for birds, butterflies and small mammals
·        a system to recycle water from the splash pad to irrigate the sports fields
·        energy efficient design to prevent heat loss
·        use of LED lighting fixtures and room light sensors
 
While David Hamilton Park opened to the public last month, Ed Sackfield Arena and Fitness Centre currently remain closed to the general public (except for ice rental permits) due to COVID-19. The City anticipates opening the fitness centre and indoor track this fall, however residents can explore the new amenities virtually at RichmondHill.ca/VirtualCelebration.
Council Public Meeting Scheduled for 10684 and 10692 Yonge Street
Last month the community was well represented at the Council Public Meeting for this proposed 28 storey building.

As most residents in the area of Yonge and Arten/Creekview Avenue know, Richmond Hill Planning staff received a development application for 10684 and 10692 Yonge Street (on Yonge St. between Oxford St. and Elgin Mills Rd.) proposing a 28 storey apartment building on the subject lands with a residential density measured by Floor Space index of 4.15.

The Official Plan for this land allows for a maximum of 15 storeys and a Floor Space index of 2 so the application as proposed, significantly exceeds the limits set out in the Official Plan.

Many residents shared their their well researched and thoughtful opposition to this application including 65 emails and 26 live delegations from the community received at the meeting. In general the residents spoke about their concerns with what they characterized as the overdevelopment that they feel this application represents.

I agree with most of what was expressed so well by the community members. I also added my concern that approving the building in its present proposed form would create a dangerous precedent regarding the height and density of future applications in this area.

It is clear that a building of this size in this area is not consistent with the Official Plan and most importantly the vision that this plan, and our present residents, expect for the future of our community.

While I agree that our current Official Plan (OP) is in need of an update (we have begun this OP update process before COVID hit - see here for more details - davidwest-richmondhill.ca/city-plan-2041-richmond-hills-official-plan-update/ or www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/official-plan-update.aspx) I do not think that even after an OP update is complete, the choice to approve a building like this in this location would be consistent with my vision for Richmond Hill or that of the residents of the area.

In speaking to many residents over the years, we all agree that growth should, and must happen along Yonge St. What I have consistently heard from residents however is that this growth must happen according to a comprehensive approved plan (an Official Plan) and it must also be consistent with what our residents envision for our future. I believe this vision should be, and can be, achieved but applications like the one are not acceptable in achieving this vision.
and
York Region District School Board Trustee By-election

Earlier this year the York Region School Board voted to hold a by election to fill a vacancy on their Board.

Nominations for the upcoming York Region District School Board Trustee By-election have closed and certified candidates are officially in the running. To view the list of candidates, visit RichmondHill.ca/RHVotes.
 
By now Ward 4 residents should have received Voter Information Packages. Each package will contain a unique Voter ID number and PIN number, as well as instructions on how to cast your ballot using the online voting system.
 
Any eligible voter who has not received a package by October 8 should check if they are on the Voters’ List by:
·        Visiting RichmondHill.ca/RHVotes and selecting Voter Registration (available until 6 p.m. on October 19) or
·        Calling the Voter Assistance Helpline at 905-771-5555
 
Online voting for this By-election will be open from 10 a.m. on October 14, 2020 to 8 p.m. on October 19, 2020.
 
If you do not have access to a computer or mobile device, need assistance with voting, or need to add yourself to the list after 6 p.m. on October 19 (the last day of voting), you can visit one of the Voter Assistance Centres at:

Oak Ridges Community Centre and Pool - 12895 Bayview Avenue

Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts - 10268 Yonge Street

The hours of operation for both centres are:
·        October 14 – 16, from 12 to 8 p.m.
·        October 17-18, from 12 to 6 p.m.
·        October 19 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Twickenham Stormwater Management Pond Rehabilitation
The Environmental Assessment for the Twickenham Pond 16-4 Rehabilitation project is now complete. This stormwater management facility is located in Twickenham Park just north of Canyon Hill Ave and east of Bathurst Street. The study took a systems approach and included the investigation of three facilities just downstream (16-1, 16-2 and 16-3) in addition to Twickenham Pond 16-4. 

The Environmental Assessment evaluated a range of alternatives to determine the best rehabilitation solution to improve water quality, erosion and prevent flooding in the area. The recommended solution of the Environmental Assessment is to retrofit Twickenham Pond 16-4 to improve downstream flooding and erosion protection, and remove the three downstream facilities (16-1, 16-2 and 16-3) and naturalize the stream channel in their place, which is possible due to the modifications made to Twickenham Pond 16-4. This will bring our stormwater management infrastructure into compliance with Provincial requirements, reduce long-term maintenance costs and improved the natural environment.
 
Notices will be sent out to residents near the study area to inform them of the completion of the project, and can be found on the city's website. at the following link:
 
Richmond Hill Contest Promotes Innovation and Partnerships with Local Businesses
The City of Richmond Hill is committed to finding innovative ways to modernize government services. Richmond Hill launched a Municipal Business Innovation Contest to provide local small businesses an opportunity to partner with the City to create more efficient and effective services at a lower cost.
 
Richmond Hill is home to many innovative companies recognized for their creative thinking and new technologies that are helping change the way the world does business. The successful partnership will build on the City’s momentum as an early adopter of innovative technologies, products and services while also supporting the local economy.
 
The City will select a preferred project and provide up to $10,000 to the successful company to support project implementation. If two companies are chosen, up to $5,000 will be provided. Entries can target any area of municipal government operations and must provide added value, be doable or practical, and be different or better than the current process/technology/product or service. 
 
The contest is open to Richmond Hill companies with 50 or fewer employees. For more details, eligible businesses are invited to express interest at RichmondHill.ca/InnovationContest. Completed proposals are due to the City by October 8, 2020.
 
The Municipal Business Innovation Contest is part of the Recover Richmond Hill Action Plan, intended to stimulate economic recovery and help businesses thrive in the post-pandemic environment. The contest is one of the many economic development programs the City has launched in 2020 to support local businesses and entrepreneurs, including:
·        A partnership with Freshworks for Startups, the first municipality in Canada to do so, which provides up to $4000 in credits on the Freshworks suite of products and programming
·        A dedicated business hotline available Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 905-771-5558
·        ShopHere in partnership with Digitalmainstreet.ca to help businesses optimize their online platform
A Temporary Use By-law allowing restaurants and cafés to create or expand outdoor patio space

Additional Links
New Provincial Limits on Social Gatherings in Richmond Hill
On September 19 the Ontario government announced a reduction to limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province.
 
For all Ontarians including Richmond Hill residents, the maximum number of people permitted to attend social gatherings, such as dinners, parties and BBQs, is now 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
 
In response to the recent increase in active cases in Richmond Hill, residents are asked to help protect our community by:
·        Practicing physical distancing
·        Washing your hands
·        Wearing a mask or face covering
·        Staying home if you are unwell
·        Following advice and guidance from York Region Public Health
 
For the latest on what’s open, what’s closed and what’s coming soon in Richmond Hill, visit RichmondHill.ca/COVID19.
What’s Open, Closed and Coming Soon in Richmond Hill
The City of Richmond Hill continues to take a phased and gradual approach to reopening. While the main Municipal Offices (225 East Beaver Creek Road) will remain closed to the public until at least January 4, 2021, residents can access many City services online, by phone or by appointment.
 
The Access Richmond Hill contact centre is available to respond to general inquiries by email at access@richmondhill.ca or by phone at 905-771-8800, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Residents can also report a problem (e.g. missed garbage collection, streetlight out), and/or submit a general inquiry online at RichmondHill.ca/Access.
 
The following is an update on what’s open, closed, cancelled and coming soon:
 
What’s open
·        The Operations Centre, 1200 Elgin Mills Road East (waste bin and garbage tag purchases and exchanges only)
·        Oak Ridges Community Centre, Pool and Fitness Centre (lane and leisure swims, fitness and recreational programs; pre-registration required)
·        Centennial Pool (lane and leisure swims; pre-registration required)
·        Tom Graham Arena (permit holders only)
·        Ed Sackfield Arena north pad (permit holders only)
·        Libraries (limited services; visit rhpl.ca/reopening for details)
·        All parks, trails and most outdoor amenities including playgrounds, skate parks, sports courts, outdoor exercise equipment, off leash dog areas, picnic tables, benches and parking lots.
·        Sports fields, baseball diamonds and beach volleyball courts (recreational play; organized play by permit only)
·        Artificial turf soccer fields (permit holders only)
·        Council Meetings (virtual; delegations and anyone wishing to speak during Public Forum must pre-register)
·        Stay Active at Home virtual activities
 
What’s closed
·        Most community centres and pools
·        The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts (closed for the remainder of 2020)
·        The Wave Pool (closed for the remainder of 2020)
·        The Heritage Centre (closed for the remainder of 2020)
·        Eyer Homestead Ropes and Challenge Course (closed for the remainder of 2020)
·        Bayview Hill Fitness Studio (closed for the remainder of 2020)
·        Boynton House
·        Richmond Green indoor bocce
·        Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory
·        Splash pads (closed for the season)
·        Fire stations (emergency response is unaffected)
 
What’s coming soon
·        Ed Sackfield Fitness Centre and Indoor Track – Opening September 21
·        Ed Sackfield Arena (Olympic pad) – Opening September 28 (permit holders only)
·        Elgin Barrow Arena – Expected to open in early October (permit holders only)
·        Blackmore Tennis Club at David Hamilton Park – Opening October 1 (members and program participants only)
·        Richmond Green Sports Centre - Expected to open in early October
·        Richmond Green Sports Dome – Expected to open in early October
·        Fall Recreational Programs (in-person) – Starting the week of September 20; registration is open
·        Virtual Recreational Programs – Starting October 13; registration opens September 29
·        Elvis Stojko and Bond Lake Arenas – Expected to open later this fall
 
What’s cancelled
·        All permits for upcoming third-party events are cancelled and no new permits will be issued until further notice.
 
Staff are working through requests to permit space in City facilities. Space will be allocated in the facilities that have reopened to groups/individuals that can meet the provincial standards.  
 
Please note that facilities and programs are subject to change based on provincial COVID-19 restrictions.
 
Residents can visit and subscribe to RichmondHill.ca/COVID19 or follow us on Twitter @myRichmondHill and Facebook for updates on City facilities, programs and services. 
Powell Street and Wright
Street Reconstruction
The scope of this project includes reconstruction of the road to urban standards with new asphalt pavement, curbs, gutters, sidewalk and storm sewers, watermain replacement, sanitary sewer repairs and streetlight improvements. Construction is scheduled to begin shortly and be completed by the end of Summer 2021.

Impact on Local Residents Traffic: Roads will remain open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic during construction. Temporary traffic diversions and driveway access restrictions will be required at times to allow construction to be undertaken in a safe and efficient manner.

Water service: There will be scheduled water service disruptions for the watermain construction. You will receive advanced written notification prior to the driveway access or water service disruptions. Project Location: Powell Street and Wright Street Reconstruction from Mill Street to Hall Street.

Existing ditches: As part of the road
reconstruction to urban standards, the existing ditches will be filled in. All existing private drain pipes (i.e. sump pump drains or roof leaders) that currently discharge to the existing ditch shall be disconnected, modified to discharge to the lawn and drain overland within private property by the homeowner.

Private assets on City-owned boulevard: Private gardens and underground systems (e.g. lawn sprinklers and heated driveways) that are located within the City-owned boulevard or property may be impacted by the proposed construction work. The City will not be responsible for any damages to the privately owned items that are within the City-owned boulevard or property.

Driveways: A portion of the existing driveways will need to be re-graded to match the new road grade and will be restored to original conditions. City’s contractor will be restoring the driveways to the limits established under the contract.

Sod: Boulevard areas that are disturbed during construction will be sodded. The contractor will be responsible for the initial watering. In order to promote healthy turf, we ask for your cooperation in maintaining and watering the sodded areas after they have been established.
Council Strategic Plan

Richmond Hill is creating a new two-year Council Strategic Plan to set priorities for 2020-2022.

I wanted to highlight the progress that has been made on the new Council Strategic Plan. While I generally do not think it is ideal to create a plan for Council with only 2 years to go on the rest of the term, I do think that given the present COVID situation, it is very important that Council agree and focus upon some very important key Strategic Initiatives that will benefit our community.

As an important part of this process the public was asked to participate in a survey in the lead up to the creation of this plan. The response from the public was good, and I thank those that responded for their input.

A number of key themes were expressed by residents in this survey. The top issue chosen in the survey by residents (48%) was "Protect the Natural Environment". I am not surprised by this response given what I have heard from residents over the past 7 years that I have been on Council. A healthy environment is foundational to all of us and a key reason why people chose Richmond Hill.

Additionally residents also expressed a desire to keep taxes low, and continue to advocate for the subway extension to highway 7.

Additional to the set survey questions, residents also frequently added comments regarding the priority of managing development and limiting intensification, as well as related concerns about traffic and insufficient infrastructure. Also included as additional comments by the public was a need in our community to deal with a growing issue of affordability of housing.

Finally residents also frequently added to the preset list in the survey about Council behaviour including the respectful treatment of each other, staff and residents as well as a desire to see an increase level of cooperation and demonstrating Integrity.

These are all important issues and are consistent with what I have heard from residents in the past. I agree that all of these issues must all be included in the decisions and directions that Council takes as we move forward. As such I would expect them to be included in a final Strategic Plan.

A Strategic Plan, if done well and done with real commitments to follow it, is exciting and will help us as a community to thrive when the Pandemic subsides. 

The final plan is expected to be shared at a public Council meeting before the end of this year.   

Click here to read a recent article by Sheila Wang in The Liberal following the recent public survey. This article includes full detail of the survey results.




Upcoming Events
Strides for Stroke For Mackenzie Health

For more information please click on the link.


To donate to our team and help us reach our goal please click here.

Two-Day National Conference: "After the Pandemic - The State & Future of Canada" October 23-24, 2020

This will be a great conference for anyone interested in hearing information on what Post COVID Canada looks like - to register visit



Environmental Education Webinar

October 25th, 1pm - 3 pm

This promises to be an educational event so please register to receive the webinar information by clicking 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
To sign up for this e-newsletter, click here.