David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
October 2021
Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you and your family had a chance over this past Thanksgiving weekend to enjoy the great weather, spend time with family and friends, and perhaps be able to take part in some outside activities while enjoying the fall colours! As I write this note on the day after Thanksgiving I wanted to reflect on how much I have to be thankful for living in Richmond Hill and this province and this country. The most important and essential things that we need to live are available in our community, and I do not take that for granted. I know that many of the citizens in Richmond Hill feel the same. However I also recognize how important it is to continue to be vigilant in working towards maintaining the aspects of our community that are important to all of us so we can continue to live in a safe, fair, and equitable community that creates so much of Richmond Hill's vibrancy.

As always there is a great deal of news to report below in this e newsletter. Of particular interest is news that upon Mayor Barrow's recent retirement, Council has decided to hold a Mayoral by-election to select a new Mayor for the remainder of the term. Details of this election date will be posted in the coming weeks. There is more information about this process and decision below.

Richmond Hill is currently hosting several public processes to seek input on a number of important policies and plans that will most certainly impact our community. The Mill Pond Park Master Plan, The Official Plan, The Richmond Hill Centre Secondary Plan, and The Richmond Hill Environment Strategy Update are but four important plans where Richmond Hill staff are currently seeking the public's input. I would encourage you to take some time to read over the various plans and proposed directions described below in this e newsletter and participate in whatever way you can. All of these important policies and plans, when complete, will provide significant influence and direction in our community and as such it is very important that they accurately reflect the opinions and wishes of the citizens of Richmond Hill.

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 community issue. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090.

Banner photo - Fall 2021
Sincerely,
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
Richmond Hill Reopens Offices for Select In-person Services
On September 20, Richmond Hill re-opened its doors for select in-person services at both the main Municipal Offices and the Operations Centre. 
 
For speed and convenience, residents are encouraged to continue using the City’s wide range of online service options at RichmondHill.ca where possible instead of visiting a facility. However, those who need to access in-person services should note the following:
 
·        While some services are available by walk-in, others require appointments to be booked in advance. Virtual appointments may also be available
·        An online COVID-19 health screening form must be completed before visiting. You will be asked to show the results at the door. Do not visit if you are unwell.
·        Face coverings/masks are required indoors
·        Visitors can only access the buildings through the front doors
·        Contactless payment is available and encouraged
·        Additional health and safety measures such as physical distancing and capacity limits are in place. Please be aware outdoor lineups may occur
·        Services and requirements may be subject to change due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions. Visitors are encouraged to visit RichmondHill.ca/COVID19 for the latest information before attending a City facility
·        City offices are closed on holidays, including September 30 for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

We are here to help

The Access Richmond Hill Contact Centre can help you with general inquiries and respond to questions or concerns about programs and services. We also offer translation assistance for residents who need services in languages other than English.
 
If you have questions about how to access a City service, please visit RichmondHill.ca or contact Access Richmond Hill 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.

To view what services are available at the Main Municipal Office and at the Operations Centre please click here.
16th Annual Strides for Mackenzie Health
On September 25th I participated in the Strides for Mackenzie Health run/walk and fundraiser.

Thank you to all that donated! It’s a great time to support the great efforts of our hospital and the frontline workers who have cared for us lately!

Richmond Hill Blooms 2021
I am always impressed by the great gardening efforts by homeowners, and the resulting beautiful gardens that are on display in Ward 4. These front yard spaces are enjoyed by the whole community!

Thank you to everyone who took the time and made the extra effort to beautify their front gardens.

We had a record turnout for the front yard garden contest this year! Congratulations to our winners! Please enjoy the beautiful winning front gardens by clicking on the link below.
What is Your Fire Alarm Trying to Tell You?
Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety during Fire Prevention Week
 
While we hear a variety of sounds every day, none might be quite as important as knowing the sounds of fire safety. The theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 3-7), “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” aims to educate Richmond Hill residents about the different sounds smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make, such as:
 
·        Three loud beeps — beep, beep, beep — continuously means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out
·        A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed
·        Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced. Replace smoke alarms after 10 years
 
You can learn more fire safety tips from Richmond Hill’s Fire and Emergency Services team by participating in activities throughout Fire Prevention Week, including:
 
·        Information Displays Fire staff will be on site at Richmond Hill Public Library branches October 4-7
·        Activity Kit Drop-offs – Residents can sign up for an activity kit to be dropped off to their front porch. Kits include activity books and sheets, colouring pages, fire safety information and more for all ages
·        Virtual Scavenger Hunt – Online virtual challenge for families to “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety”
·        Chalk the Walk – Fire staff will be onsite at Richmond Green and Lake Wilcox October 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., encouraging residents to help ‘chalk the walk’ full of fire safety pictures and messages (weather dependent)
 
Knowing what to do when an alarm sounds can help keep you and your family safe! Learn more about fire prevention at RichmondHill.ca/FirePreventionWeek.
Personal Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation Day
Like so many Canadians, I spent the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - September 30 - reflecting on the past history of Residential Schools in Canada.

I heard of the damage that a Residential School system, designed to erase a rich and beautiful culture of First Nations people, inflicted on children. I heard of the pain that is being suffered to this day by people in First Nations communities across our country as a result of systemic racism and the Residential School system. I heard that a place where there are unmarked mass graves for children should never be referred to as a “school” - schools are a place of learning and growing not a place of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and death.

I also heard how so many of us Canadians will commit ourselves to do better and to ensure we tell the stories we had the honour to hear today.

I spent the day hearing a number of different stories from Residential School and 60s Scoop survivors. I have personally been on a path of learning and reconciliation and I have learned a lot, but I need to learn more and I encourage us all to do the same.

One of many things Residential School survivor and member of Six Nations, Dawn Hill said in her excellent talk to Richmond Hill on September 30th is that there are many Indigenous people willing to speak and share their experiences - we need to be prepared to listen!

Orange Shirt Day is a good time to reflect but we have a long way to go as a country to reconcile with First Nations communities and it’s clear Canadians want this work to begin in earnest.
Shop local - Buy Holiday Gifts that Support local Artisans!
For almost 50 years, Hill Potter’s Guild has been part of the Richmond Hill community. A non-profit cooperative, members have been stewards of our local heritage, maintaining the historic Burr House and Guild Hall. Within these foundational walls, they grow their creative skills by creating functional pottery for the home, and stunning works of art and sculpture. All unique, these distinctive pieces are sold to help members cover their own and Guild operating costs.
Help support their work by visiting their online fall sale on November 13 to 14 for hand-made, one-of-a-kind ceramics. The sale will feature pottery by 17 potters. You can choose pick up or local delivery for your purchase. The West family owns a number of their beautiful creations and I would encourage you to visit the Hill Potter's Guild during their show and sale.

For more information on the organization, visit the Hill Potters’ Guild website. For the latest on the sale with pre-event features on the potters and ceramics on offer, follow @hillpotters on Instagram and Facebook.
Mill Pond Park Stormwater Environmental Assessment and Park Revitalization Master Plan
The Mill Pond Park is one of the jewels of Richmond Hill. It has been an important part of our community since before the Village of Richmond Hill was even formalized back in the early 1800’s. The park and the waterway provided some of our first “employment lands” with the mills and other economic activity that took place around this part of the East Don River. Today the park is a very important part of our community from an environmental point of view and from a parks and recreation point of view.
Richmond Hill Parks staff are currently conducting a study and soliciting input on the future of this important public space and we would like you to let us know what you think.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first survey to help us plan for Mill Pond Park. A Virtual Public Open House pre-recorded presentation will be available for viewing to provide members of the public with an opportunity to learn about the study findings, to review the preliminary preferred solutions and provide comments.

Watch the presentation and take the survey! Tell us what you think of the proposed options for the revitalization of Mill Pond Park.

An approximately 25 minute pre-recorded presentation will be made available on the project’s webpage for viewing from September 27, 2021 until October 15, 2021.

The presentation will provide:
1. Introduction on the two project components
2. Overview of study findings
3. Summary of the preliminary proposed solutions
After viewing the presentation, please fill out the online survey at the webpage below to provide your input and thoughts on the preliminary proposed solutions.

Link to presentation and survey: RichmondHill.ca/MillPondProject 

For more information and to read the notice in its entirety please click here.
Some "Green Tips" from Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill has a team of staff dedicated to our Environmental Strategy and creating a more sustainable Richmond Hill. Here are four different sets of actions that we can all take to help in that effort!

Mill Street Sidewalk Construction
As part of the City of Richmond Hill’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a high quality pedestrian connection network, the City will be undertaking the installation of a 1.5 metre wide concrete sidewalk adjacent to the existing curb. The scope of work will include construction of a concrete sidewalk to City standards, minor grading, tree timing, shrub removal and driveway replacement within City Right of Way.

The construction is planned for summer 2022. Before the construction starts the City request the resident to relocate any personal plantings or vegetation and sprinkler systems that may be within the grading limits. Thank you for your cooperation.

Debonair Street Sidewalk Construction
As part of the City of Richmond Hill’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a high quality pedestrian connection network, the City will be undertaking the installation of a 1.5 metre wide concrete sidewalk adjacent to the existing curb. The scope of work will include construction of a concrete sidewalk to City standards, minor grading, tree timing, shrub removal and driveway replacement within City Right of Way.

The construction is planned for summer 2022. Before the construction starts the City request the resident to relocate any personal plantings or vegetation and sprinkler systems that may be within the grading limits. Thank you for your cooperation.
Richmond Hill Council News
Richmond Hill Centre Secondary Plan
With the major investments occurring in public transit in and around the Centre, Richmond Hill is developing a Secondary Plan to coordinate the expected growth in this area.

The Secondary Plan will shape the vision for the urban centre with a balance of residential and commercial uses where people can live, work, and play. It will also support the creation of public spaces, walkable streets, and transit-oriented development.

A Council Public Meeting has been scheduled on Thursday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. for staff to bring forward for consideration the draft Richmond Hill Centre Secondary Plan. To view the Council Public Meeting Notice please click here.
Council Eliminates Waste Bin Exchange Fee
Residents looking to exchange damaged or broken Richmond Hill labelled blue boxes and/or green bins can once again do so for free.

Council has eliminated the $8.45 exchange fee that was initially introduced in August 2020 to help offset replacement costs. This change is effective retroactive to June 22, 2021.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, waste bin sales/exchanges were paused from January 13 to June 21, 2021.

Refunds
Residents who paid to exchange a damaged Richmond Hill labelled blue box and/or green bin between June 22 and September 22, 2021 will be issued a refund.

How to get a refund
·        Residents who paid to exchange their damaged bin online will have the fee automatically refunded to their credit card within two months.
·        Residents who paid to exchange their bin in person from September 16, 2021 to September 22, 2021 can obtain a refund by bringing their receipt to the Operations Centre during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning on Monday, September 27.
Note that refunds are limited to a maximum of two bins per household.

How to exchange damaged blue boxes/green bins
Damaged or broken Richmond Hill issued/labelled blue boxes (22 gallon only) and green bins can be exchanged during regular business hours at the Operations Centre, 1200 Elgin Mills Road East. Residents are reminded to bring their damaged bin(s) with them to the Operations Centre and it will be recycled.
Please note that:
·        The City does not exchange large blue bins with lids
·        The free exchange does not apply to damaged or broken waste bins from other municipalities and/or retailers
·        City offices are closed on holidays, including September 30 for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

What to know before visiting the Operations Centre
·        An online COVID-19 health screening form (RichmondHill.ca/Screening) must be completed before entering. You will be asked to show the results at the door. Do not visit if you are unwell.
·        Proof of vaccination will not be required
·        Face coverings/masks are required indoors
·        City offices are closed on holidays, including September 30 for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
For more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/BinsandTags.
Community Invited to Share Ideas for a more Sustainable City 
The City of Richmond Hill is inviting residents, businesses and community groups to participate in one of two virtual workshops to inform its Environment Strategy update.

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

Through a community survey this spring, the City heard what matters most to citizens about the environment, what we should keep doing and other areas to consider. As work to update the Strategy continues, the community can now provide feedback on key themes and directions, as well as how the City can continue to engage, involve and inspire the community to take environmental action.

Please join us at a virtual workshop on:
• Monday, October 18 from 7- 8:30 p.m.; or
• Wednesday, October 20 from 7- 8:30 p.m.

Register online at RichmondHill.ca/Greening or by email at greeningthehill@richmondhill.ca.
Your Opportunity to Help Plan the Future of Richmond Hill!
Building on community input and ideas received earlier this year, the City is launching the second phase of its Official Plan update, also known as City Plan 2041.
During the first phase, the City identified a vision for the Richmond Hill: By 2041, the City of Richmond Hill will be the centerpiece of York Region and one of the most prominent, complete communities in the Greater Toronto Area.

The City is now proposing key directions that will form the basis for changes to the City’s Official Plan to shape the future of the City’s communities and support economic development opportunities. Among other things, these directions aim to:
·        attract business investments
·        mitigate the effects of climate change
·        improve walkability, and
·        create complete communities that provide residents, workers and visitors with options for transit, amenities, recreation, services, and housing
 
Feedback from residents and businesses will play an important part in confirming that the proposed ideas will address local priorities and changing community needs.
 
Here’s how you can get involved:
 
Virtual Open House #2 – Thursday, October 14, 2021
  • Hear from visionary urbanist, David Dixon, about planning for change. 
  • Ask your questions about emerging key directions for our Official Plan.
  • Register online today!
 
Online Survey (open until October 21, 2021)
Provide your feedback on our proposed ideas and key directions for updating the City’s Official Plan until 2041 through this survey.
 
City Plan 2041 is a key project supporting Council’s Strategic Priority areas and aims to establish Richmond Hill as one of the GTA’s most prominent and successful communities. For more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/OPUpdate. 
Richmond Hill Council approves Mayoral By-Election to fill vacant Mayor's Seat

Mayor Barrow resigned as Mayor of Richmond Hill last month. As a result, under the Municipal Act, Council needed to decide how to fill the resulting vacancy.

Given the importance of this position, and the overwhelming feedback from residents that they want to have a by-election to fill this vacancy, Council decided to approve a by-election. This was not an easy decision given the cost and logistics but I believe that it was the right decision and I supported it.

On a related note, Council also approved online voting as one method of voting for this by-election. In person voting will also be available as an option

The details of timing will be released by the Richmond Hill Clerk's Office, who is charged with overseeing and organizing all municipal elections in Richmond Hill.

To view a good article which appeared in the Liberal please click here. This article outlines the story quite well.

Upcoming Events
Hill Potter’s Guild 

Shop local. Buy holiday gifts that support your community!
Help support their work by visiting their online fall sale on November 13 to 14 for hand-made, one-of-a-kind ceramics.

The sale will feature pottery by 17 potters. You can choose pick up or local delivery for your purchase. For more information please click the Learn More Button.

Contact Me
Phone: 905-771-2480
Mobile Phone: 416-346-3090
225 East Beaver Creek Rd, Richmond Hill,
ON L4B 3P4, Canada. 905-771-8800
To sign up for this e-newsletter, click here.