David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
January 2020
Happy New Year to you and your family!

As the old year fades and the new year begins there is an opportunity to look back with an eye to review the past year, and also an opportunity to look forward with the benefit of that experience. On this note, to begin the New Year I have made some changes to the look of this e newsletter. I have been told many times by residents that the Richmond Hill Ward 4 e newsletter is a good source of information so that will not change, but I have also received feedback on how to make it better, and I have acted on this input.

This updated and improved version of the e newsletter is intended to be easier to read so that constituents can continue to be kept informed of the decisions of Richmond Hill Council, and the important activities going on in and around our community. The Councillor Highlight Section below is meant to highlight some of the events and activities I have undertaken as your Councillor during the past month. The Council News section contains information about important activities, issues, and events that will be taking place in the near future. The Events Section is designed to offer information about important community events. It is always my belief that keeping residents informed so they can be engaged is one of my foundational roles as an elected representative. I hope you enjoy the improved format, and as always your feedback is important and welcome.

I have always been proud of our community. While we have certainly had challenges in Richmond Hill this year I know that our community is a great place to live, work and play. During the past few years in Richmond Hill we have experienced significant pressures related to growth. These pressures require constant attention by Council and the public.

During a period of change like this it is more important than ever to keep members of the public informed and engaged so that we can navigate these challenges together as a community. In 2020 Richmond Hill will be reviewing its Official Plan, working towards a new Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw and creating at least 2 Secondary Plans. All of these plans will invite and require input from the public. I would encourage everyone to stay tuned to this e newsletter for important information about how to be involved.

I would also encourage everyone to shake off the darker days of winter and come out to the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival on February 1st and 2nd. For complete information please visit www.wintercarnival.net . I have volunteered to be a part of the Winter Carnival organizing committee for 8 years now, but the legacy of this event extends back 52 years. The Richmond Hill Winter Carnival has always been an event run for the community and by the community to celebrate our uniquely Canadian winter. It provides a good excuse to get out of our homes, to visit our friends and neighbours, and make new friends as well. When you arrive at the Carnival please make sure to say “hi”... I will be the guy in the puffy blue coat! 

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me any time.
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
6th Annual Charity Volleyball Tournament and Food Drive for 360kids
In case you are wondering what over 10,000 pounds of food, ready to be donated to  360kids  and the Richmond Hill Food Bank looks like - here it is! Thanks again to the generosity of young people in our community, and the leadership of local resident Sonny Dhillon,  these two organizations benefitted from this annual food drive and charity volleyball tournament at Elgin West Community Centre.
Dreamtheatre Productions
I was invited to attend a wonderful production of Sound of Music and bring greetings from Richmond Hill Council to Marty Story, the show's director and producer. This show marked the 100th show directed by Mr. Story over his 55 year career. I have been humming the songs ever since! Photo courtesy of Dreamtheatre Productions
Richmond Hill Mayor's Chanukah Event
It was an honour to light a candle on behalf of Richmond Hill Council before Richmond Hill's Chanukah event in December at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.

As always, thanks to Rabbi Bernstein and Chabad Romano for their ongoing support in organizing this fun annual event. Photo Courtesy of Joanne Witt from Snapd
Ukranian Air Plane Tragedy
Given the tragic events that transpired recently related to the Ukrainian Air Plane Crash and the horrible impact this has had on many of our friends and neighbours in Richmond Hill, I was invited to attend an emotional vigil at Mel Lastman Square in North York where over 1000 people joined together to honour the victims, and support our community. I was pleased to be able to bring our community’s, and our Council’s condolences and support.

Closer to home, the York District School Board also hosted a very well attended vigil in partnership with Richmond Hill, and a number of other organizations. The Village of Richmond Hill BIA also hosted a well attended vigil, to support the family and friends of those victims of this horrible incident.

Please click here for an excellent article by York Region.com summarizing these local vigils.
Living Well With Dementia
 "Living Well with Dementia" was the title of a seminar I was recently invited to attend. Thank you to Mona Lancaster from Memory Lane Home Living for the invitation and to all the speakers and exhibitors. The morning provided a great deal of education around Dementia and provided support for caregivers. Thanks to all the presenters including Jamie Cruz from the Alzheimers Society of York Region. We learned that Dementia and Alzheimers are both diseases that our community is currently facing, and will be increasingly facing in the coming years. A co ordinated effort is needed to respond. It was a good morning of learning.
Thai Pongal
Each year at this time I am graciously invited by the York Region Seniors Tamil Association to celebrate the Harvest and the New Year represented by Thai Pongal festivities. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate this event as we Canadians celebrate the coldest days of January.
Happy Lunar New Year
For all those that celebrate, Happy Lunar New Year. To kick off this celebratory season this year I was invited to attend the Tzu Chi Year End Blessing Ceremony. Tzu Chi is an active organization in Richmond Hill and also globally, performing a variety of charity acts for our community and the global community as well. It was a pleasure to attend this celebration and learn more about the organization.
Richmond Hill Council News
Richmond Hill to Accept Online Credit Card Property Tax Payments
I was pleased to support Councillor Chan's motion to create a new option approved for paying your property taxes. Currently the City accepts payment for property tax through internet banking, pre-authorized debit, cheque, debit card, cash and from mortgage companies administering taxes on behalf of mutual clients. Now residents will be able to pay by credit card as well. Previously Richmond Hill did not accept credit cards as a payment option due to the transaction cost and a lack of electronic infrastructure to facilitate the transaction. In 2020, Richmond Hill will contract Paymentus (Canada) Corporation to accept online credit card payments for property tax on behalf of Richmond Hill. Paymentus will charge a convenience fee of 2.5 per cent of the tax payment amount, which will be paid by the payer (the property holder). Once there is a completed agreement between the City and Paymentus, the online system will be put in place and residents can pay their property tax online using Visa or Mastercard, beginning with the March 2, 2020 interim tax bill installment.
2020 Council Meeting Schedule Approved
As I reported in previous e newsletters I believe that it is important that Council meetings be held at times that are most convenient for residents to attend. I have been advocating that we return to evening meetings, or at least late afternoon times like we had in the last term of Council, rather than morning meetings like we currently have.

A majority of Council however voted recently to approve the 2020 meeting schedule with Council meetings scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Council Public meetings are still scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Meeting dates and agendas are posted to the City’s website RichmondHill.ca .
Ash Tree Removals and Replacement Planting
The following is an update on Richmond Hill's Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) management activities:
Over the past few years Richmond Hill, like most Ontario municipalities, have lost a great number of Ash Trees. Ash trees were once the preferred street tree to plant along municipal boulevards. Many majestic Ash trees have graced our streets as they were well suited to thrive in this urban environment.

That all changed a number of years ago with the unintentional introduction of an invasive species known as the Emerald Ash Borer. This insect has devastated Ash tree populations in Ontario. In response to this disaster Richmond Hill has been executing our Emerald Ash Borer Strategy to gradually remove and replace dead or dying Ash trees.
We are approaching the last years of this strategy as many of the trees have now succumbed. 

A good summary and further information on the progress of this effort can be found at Richmond Hill website.

Resident's Meeting for Application Dogliola Developments Ltd. and Campo Ridge Home Corp. at Canyon Hill and Yonge St.

I recently hosted a well attended Residents' Meeting regarding the above noted development application. At the meeting, residents were quite articulate and vocal about a number of concerns generally related to the height and density of this project and the potential problems related to these concerns. I appreciated the excellent resident involvement and input gathered at this meeting.
I also have a number of concerns about this application that is considerably higher and denser than what was initially expected and outlined in the Official Plan for this land. A more formal Council Public Hearing was scheduled in the Council Chambers for this application on January 22nd. A staff report was made available outlining some of the details of this application. It can be viewed at ( https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=30209 ). 
52nd Annual Richmond Hill Winter Carnival
For over 50 years Richmond Hill has celebrated the winter season during the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival. Again this year I would invite you to join your friends and neighbours at the Mill Pond Park on February 1st and 2nd for lots of winter fun. As always the volunteer committee will present activities for the whole family. For complete information and schedule of events please visit  www.wintercarnival.net
Richmond Hill Environmental Symposium
If you are like most of us and are concerned with the state of our environment, want to help to be a part of the solution, but don't know where to start, I will be hosting an Environmental Symposium in February. This symposium will concentrate on effective and achievable actions that individuals can take to live more gently on the planet and make a positive difference. The event is sold out at the moment but to be added to the waiting list please visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/1st-sustainability-symposium-in-richmond-hill-tickets-84185748841?fbclid=IwAR1EOL2XKae6fJdmSHKjKMjoTRa7dneXMRUjrIm3xQ27QaduiA3bEzrf3Ng
The Historic Jefferson Schoolhouse Demolition Permit
At the Council Meeting on January 22nd Council considered a request by the owner of the historic former Jefferson Schoolhouse at 11575 Yonge St. to demolish this 152 year old and important historic building. The building is a designated structure under the Ontario Heritage Act and a recommendation to deny this demolition request has been put forward to Council by the Heritage Richmond Hill Committee and our Richmond Hill Planning Staff. At the Council meeting on January 22nd the matter was deferred to the Council meeting on February 12th.

I believe that allowing the destruction of this building is not at all appropriate and the request should be denied. The applicant should continue to work with our Planning Staff to determine how this historic building can be repurposed and incorporated into a new development instead. For more information on this issue please visit my blog at http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/richmond-hill-council-news-9/ and scroll down to item #8
Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services Amalgamation Study
Council voted in support of requesting York Region to consolidate Fire Services at the Regional level. The resolution states that fire suppression should be planned without regard for municipal boundaries to determine the optimal location of stations for public safety, as fire services are an essential service for the protection of people and property. It also highlights that the majority of response calls made by Fire Services are medical calls and both police and emergency medical services are already consolidated services delivered by York Region. Richmond Hill Council calls for the uploading of fire services to involve all nine York Region municipalities as effective and efficient service may be better planned and delivered at the Regional level together with the other first response services. Consolidation may also achieve administrative efficiencies on non-suppression fire activities such as training, education, dispatch, vehicle maintenance and inspections.
Winter Maintenance Information
Given that we are well into the Winter Season I wanted to remind everyone that there is a great deal of information about Richmond Hill's Winter Maintneance and snow clearing operations available on the City's website. Please visit https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/winter-maintenance.aspx for this important information. You can also sign up for automatic updates by visiting the Snow Clearing Page (at https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/winter-maintenance.aspx ) and signing up at the bottom of the page to receive email updates.

For a video about Richmond Hill's new Windrow Removal Program visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHRaDoYArLY
Powell and Wright Street Reconstruction
In 2020 Powell and Wright Streets will undergo a major reconstruction including asphalt pavement, and addition of curbs, gutters and storm sewers as a local improvement. There will be a public information meeting for local residents on Monday February 10th from 6:30-8:30 at the Elgin Barrow Area, Ed's Room and the proposed project will also be considered at the Council Meeting on Wednesday, April 8,2020 at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers. Area residents have received an information package in the mail about the details of this project. Please feel free to click the link below for more information.

Upcoming Events
Aquarian Paint Party Fundraiser
Richmond Hill United Church
January 31
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

52nd Richmond Hill Winter Carnival
Mill Pond Park
February 1-2

Snowshoes and Snow-Clues at Oak Ridges Corrido r
Date: Saturday, February 8
Time: 10am – 12pm
Location: Oak Ridges Corridor trailhead, Grovewood Park, 0ff Grovewood Street, Richmond Hill

1st Sustainability Symposium in Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill Centre For the Performing Arts
Sunday, February 9 - 1-4 p.m,

Chorus York
Romantic Melodies
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
Friday, February 14

TRCA Snowshoe Stroll
Date: Saturday, February 22
Time: 10am – 12pm
Location: Lake St. George Field Centre, 950 Bethesda Side Road, Richmond Hill,

Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold
Coldest Night of the Year
February 22, 2020

TRCA March Break Nature Camp
Dates: Monday, March 16 – Friday, March 20
Time: 9am – 4pm (Optional Extended Care: 8am to 9am and 4pm to 5:30pm)
Location: Lake St. George Field Centre, 950 Bethesda Side Road, Richmond Hill

4th Annual Maple Syrup Festival
Elgin West Community Centre
11099 Bathurst Street
Saturday, March 28 from 10:00 - 2:00

Strides for Stroke to benefit Mackenzie Health
Saturday, May 2nd
Sign up before April 30 and save $10 on your registration fee.

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