David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
February 2021
Vision and Planning For Richmond Hill's Future
Richmond Hill is a growing community and that is generally a good thing. Growth provides advantages in a number of areas including new or expanded economic opportunities that can benefit the community. I would add that growth can also provide exciting opportunities that allow businesses to offer an increased range of products and services to our community that we can all enjoy. For example, great restaurants and retailers will only survive in the right built environment and with a minimum population density threshold to sustain them. A more walkable community from the perspective of safety but also from the perspective of having great destinations to walk to, are among the many available benefits of growth and good urban planning. I think all of us can agree these benefits are really exciting and desirable.
However, as with most things in life, growth and change also have the potential to create challenges that must be addressed. In Richmond Hill we currently have an opportunity to proactively address the challenges of growth and proactively take advantage of the potential opportunities at the same time. Our Official Plan (OP), which is a foundational document that guides everything that happens in a municipality, is currently up for review by our Planning Staff and Council.

The current OP was passed in 2010. Since that time a great deal has changed in our community and in relation to the provincial planning regime. As such it is very appropriate to review, revisit, and make any necessary adjustments to our Official Plan at this time.
The Official Plan provides a vision for what we collectively want our community to become in the short and long term future. As such it is very important that all of us have our voices heard during this process. Richmond Hill will be hosting a series of Public Open Houses/Meetings starting on February 18th and I would urge everyone to take this opportunity to add their voice to what we want to see for our home community going forward. I have provided full details for this meeting and how to register below in this e newsletter.
As with any major community decisions, there will be some difficult conversations that need to take place during this process. The balance that needs to be achieved that addresses the right future level of development in our community for example, is a challenging one but its important. Richmond Hill will grow, but the question that needs to be addressed is - where and by how much?

How do we design and direct future growth to provide the maximum benefit to the community while reducing any less desirable side effects? How do we provide development that maximizes public investment in transit, roads, sewers, amenities like libraries and fire protection, and a myriad of other considerations related to financial efficiency? How do we ensure that our natural environment will be enhanced and improved? How do we provide enough parks and natural areas for all of us to sustainably enjoy? How do we help facilitate a healthy and sustainable economy while protecting and creating new and exciting places for businesses to set up and thrive? These are only a sampling of questions that need to be answered during the OP update process.
In a nutshell, how do we provide a livable, vibrant, healthy community that we all want? The task before us is exciting but it is not easy. It's a task that, as an elected community representative, I think about a lot. It’s a task that we are embarking upon, and I invite our community to come along and help shape our future.
On February 18th the Council and Staff of Richmond Hill will host a virtual Open House/Meeting where we will hear about some of the preliminary ideas and directions on this topic while listening to community feedback on these ideas. At the end of this process a plan and vision that we can all share is the goal and that is why it is important that we encourage citizen participation.
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 - Despite the lockdown there is lots to do this winter. Richmond Hill continues to offer activities for the whole family to enjoy while remaining safe and adhering to all COVID safety protocols. See www.richmondhill.ca/winterfun for complete details
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell 416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Councillor Highlights
COVID-19 - Helpful Links and Information
Everyday we receive updates on the ever changing situation related to COVID19 and the vaccine distribution progress. If you want up to date information about what is happening in York Region and how the schedule impacts you, remember that York Region Public Health is working closely with the Province to keep us informed. For the most up to date information, visit  Ontario Covid-19 vaccine or  york.ca/COVID19 and york.ca/COVID19Vaccine 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.
Stormwater Ponds are not a Safe Place to Play
Stormwater ponds are not safe for skating. They are designed to collect/release runoff from rainfall/snowmelt to help prevent flooding. Rapidly changing water levels and road salt from runoff create unpredictable ice conditions, putting your safety at risk. Please visit bit.ly/398Wa2j pic.twitter.com/e5NEeUCN9v and https://www.richmondhill.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?feedId=5988c08a-c0f5-4d51-91e0-9691f68738f4&newsId=1da11fdf-d15c-4685-ae9b-b07ec361c565
Richmond Hill Seeks Public Input on Fire Master Plan
The City of Richmond Hill is inviting the public to provide input on how Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services (RHFES) can best meet the future needs of our growing community.
A 12-question survey is available through February 12 at Richmondhill.ca/Fire. Your confidential responses will help the City update the Fire Master Plan that was originally created in 2016 and guides the delivery of the City’s fire protection services. 

Fire Master Plans are developed every 10 years with the goal to update at the five-year mark. Your feedback is critical and helps outline ways for RHFES to improve the level of fire protection services delivered to our community for the coming years. 
  • RHFES responds to approximately 5,500 emergency incidents annually from its’ six fire stations located across the city. 
  • The department is comprised of frontline fire fighters, trainers, fire prevention officers, public education and administrative personnel, as well as deputy chiefs and chief.
Natural Skating Rinks are Now Open at Mill Pond and Lake Wilcox
Our Richmond Hill staff have prepared more safe spaces for residents to enjoy winter activities respecting all Public Health Protocols.

Mill Pond & Lake Wilcox are now open for skating, with capacity limits and pre-registration required. Please visit 
RichmondHill.ca/OutdoorSkating for the details including registration, opening hours and more.  
TRCA: Winter Online Learning Opportunities and Programs 
Join Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's winter activities online!

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has new e-Learning resources available this winter, along with engaging online seminars, family programs, and volunteer opportunities! 

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

To learn more and to sign up please click the link https://mailchi.mp/trca/community-learning-jan-934622?e=06985f7e27
Ward 4 Community Conversation – Neighbourhood Safety and Neighbourhood Watch
Are you curious about the role of the Neighbourhood Watch program in our community? Have you considered starting or joining Neighbourhood Watch in your area? 
If you answered yes, then you may be interested in joining our first in a series of information sessions we will host in the coming months. We have titled these sessions Ward 4 Community Conversations. 

On February 25th 7:30-8:30pm. I will be hosting a virtual conversation with York Region Police Crime Prevention Officer for 2 District area PC Steven Hennigar to learn about neighbourhood safety in Ward 4 and Richmond Hill. We will also be introduced to the Neighbourhood Watch program as  PC Hennigar explains the details of the program and how we can maintain a safe community.
Join us February 25th @ 7:30pm for a one hour conversation. Register to receive the Zoom call details for this webinar: https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/ward-4-community-conversations/
Virtual Coldest Night of the Year Fundraiser - February 20
Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) 2021 - Richmond Hill (cnoy.org) is an event happening across the country to help raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.
For the third year the agency that provides local care for the homeless, MOSAIC Interfaith Out of the Cold, www.miotc.ca has been part of this charity walk held on the third Saturday in February.

The Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold Program provides safe refuge, warm hospitality, and emergency shelter in York Region to the homeless or those in need of food/clothing. Overnight shelters are operated by various interfaith communities on different nights of the week from November to March.  This year, MIOTC has joined with Blue Door Shelters www.bluedoor.ca to meet the unique needs of vulnerable individuals.  
The pandemic has meant the event will need to be virtual. The need is even greater this year. The costs for keeping everyone safe in the shelters has multiplied. The needs of the individuals who find themselves homeless is greater. With so much shut down people who are homeless have lost many of the places they could find shelter in he past.  
Join a team, create a team, donate to my campaign , or sponsor. 
5th Annual Maple Syrup Festival - SAVE THE DATE!
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. Planning however is underway for a modified 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!

The Maple Syrup Festival will be a virtual experience this year. Stay tuned for updates. We hope you can join us to celebrate spring as a community. Please visit my website by clicking here for more information.
The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA)
Skillage in the Village Scavenger Hunt
The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA) has partnered with Brainy Games to create an outdoor, free to play, virtual Scavenger Hunt. 

Extended Until February 28th, 2021.

Sign Up Now & Start Playing!
The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area
Shop Local Prize Draw Contest
Residents who shop 5 BIA member stores over a 2-week period are entered into The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA) Shop Local Prize Draw Contest.

For more details and how to sign up, please visit my website by clicking on this link https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/the-village-of-richmond-hill-business-improvement-area-shop-local-prize-draw-contest-2/

Contest Closes February 28th, 2021 
The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA)
Treats Giveaway
The Village of Richmond Hill Business Improvement Area (BIA) Treats Giveaway 
Get A Coupon for 1 Free Treat!
It’s easy – Subscribe to the BIA mailing list.

1st 30 people to sign up will get A Coupon for 1 Free Treat to a BIA member store. 
Giveaway Extended to February 28th, 2021.
The 53rd Richmond Hill Winter Carnival goes Virtual for 2021
The Richmond Hill Winter Carnival remains one of the longest standing annual traditions in our community. Started 53 years ago, each year at this time Richmond Hill has come together to celebrate winter as a community. It is my favourite part of winter in Richmond Hill.

This year, despite the pandemic, our volunteer Winter Carnival Committee remained committed to keeping this tradition alive and delivered a Virtual version of this great event over this past weekend.
A limited edition button is still available for those, like me, that are Winter Carnival button collectors. To learn more about the Winter Carnival and to order a collector's edition button visit www.wintercarnival.net.
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/
Food for the Future - A Discussion on Environment and Food
On February 23, join for a panel discussion on how food, agriculture and climate change intersect. Every day several times per day we choose what to eat. Have you ever wondered how the food you eat (or throw away) impacts the environment?

Food and the environment are intertwined. How we produce, move, and dispose of food can have environmental impacts like greenhouse gas emissions or the ability to build soil health. On the other hand, climate change is impacting how we hunt, fish, gather and produce food through changes in temperatures on both land and water, and increasingly intense weather patterns.
Richmond Hill Council News
Proposed Development at Major Mackenzie Drive West and Arnold Crescent
A revised and significantly more dense development proposal has been submitted by the owner of the lands at the northwest corner of Major Mackenzie Drive and Arnold Crescent known municipality as 129-147 Arnold Crescent and 190-230 Major Mackenzie Drive.
These development applications replace the proposal that Richmond Hill Planning Staff received previously. The new proposal consists of 4 apartment buildings (10, 12, 14 and 19 storeys in height) with at-grade townhouse dwelling units. The proposal includes a total of 790 dwellings units, 63,102 square metres of Gross Floor Area (GFA), a Floor Space Index (FSI) of 2.35, a total of 838 parking spaces and vehicular access from Major Mackenzie Drive and Arnold Crescent.
I am very concerned by the size and scale of this application. In its current form it is significantly larger than what is allowed under Richmond Hill’s current Official Plan. I do not believe this proposed development is appropriate for the neighbourhood for a number of reasons.  
I will be working with our Planning Staff, area residents, and the applicant, to achieve significant reductions in the density and significant changes to the built form so that it would represent a much better fit for the existing and well established neighbourhood. As with all community matters it is important that the public is well informed as the process proceeds, and as always I will continue to work toward keeping the public informed and up to date.
A process will be followed for this application that includes opportunities for citizen participation and input. As we are at the beginning of this process dates for a Council Public Meeting to solicit comments from the neighbourhood has not yet been announced. In the mean time I am happy to hear your thoughts on this matter by phone (416-346-3090) or by email (david.west@richmondhill.ca). I will be hosting a Neighbourhood Meeting at some point in the future so please stay tuned for the details of this meeting date. 
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 to 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.

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
Richmond Hill On Track for 0% Tax Increase
Richmond Hill Council passed its annual Operating Budget recently. The Operating Budget is a key document for any municipality as it outlines the investment that Council authorizes our staff to make to provide the range of services that are necessary to keep a community like Richmond Hill vibrant.

When embarking on the budget process I keep in mind that while the Operating Budget represents a very complex document full of numbers, it all boils down to a fiscal representation of the values of our community and the investments that need to be made to achieve our community goals.
Richmond Hill Council is delivering on its commitment to fiscal responsibility and protecting residents from the financial burden of COVID-19. Council has passed a budget that will include a 0% increase on the Richmond Hill share of the taxes in 2021.  
The draft operating budget continues to invest in community infrastructure, with contributions to capital reserve funds. 

To read all the details of the 2020 Accomplishments and financial impact of COVID19, click here.  
Additional Links
Invitation to an IMPORTANT COMMUNITY MEETING in Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill is launching the public phase of its Official Plan Update called City Plan 2041. The Official Plan is a foundational plan for the community. All aspects of Richmond Hill will be touched by this plan. When complete, the plan will include changes to policies and land-use planning maps (previously approved in the Official Plan) and will guide future public and private sector development. 

As such we need our residents and businesses to get involved in City Plan 2041. Your ideas can help shape new policies and decisions related to how we can best accommodate the coming growth in our city while respecting our history and protecting our natural environment. I invite everyone to join us at the virtual open house to learn more and get engaged.

The Official Plan is a comprehensive plan for any municipality and in Richmond Hill we will touch on several issues that require careful consideration. Among these issues are those that I have particular concerns relating to potential height and density increases in existing intensification areas, a proposal that will be discussed to request that the province open up some protected Oak Ridges Moraine Countryside lands in the Gormley area, and also potential new height and density permissions as far north in Richmond Hill as Oak Ridges, and also on Major Mackenzie Dr West where significant density is currently not allowed under the 2010 OP. I have particular concerns in these areas and it is important that we hear from residents on those issues and many others.

Beginning at the February meeting and throughout the coming year, residents and business owners are invited to share their thoughts on the proposed vision for our city. From housing and climate change to transportation and employment and more, the community will have opportunities to provide input on a variety of topics and help guide our future to ensure a vibrant, complete community that serves the future needs of all.

You’re invited to the City Plan 2041 Virtual Open House:

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

At this meeting you will be able to 
  • Hear from renowned award-winning visionary urban planner, David Dixon, about Richmond Hill’s exciting potential and balancing growth and green in our city
  • Learn more about the proposed vision for our city
  • Ask your questions about planning for the future in Richmond Hill

Residents are encouraged to watch for additional consultation opportunities later this month and can subscribe to RichmondHill.ca/OPUpdate for updates.

Your voice matters to me and I would strongly encourage you to attend the virtual meeting on February 18th.
58 Major Mackenzie Drive West Revised Application Received
A Re-Application for a Zoning By-law Amendment was submitted to permit a medium density residential development comprised of 19 stacked back-to-back townhouse dwelling units with a building height of 3 storeys, an FSI of 0.99 and 19 parking spaces.

A Zoning By-law Amendment was previously submitted for a 5-storey residential apartment building comprised of 33 dwelling units.

I believe this revised application represents a better fit for this area. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or comments regarding this matter. A council Public Meeting date has been set for this application on March 3, 2021. Anyone wishing to speak at this meeting and/or email their thoughts to Council can register with the Clerk at clerks@richmondhill.ca

A good summary of this application appeared in the January 28 edition of the Liberal - please click on the link to read it https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/10314044-what-s-going-on-here-stacked-townhouses-proposed-for-major-mackenzie-drive-in-richmond-hill/
MZO denied in Richmond Hill
Over the past number of months Richmond Hill Council has passed a number of motions that have generally requested additional permissions to open up protected lands on the Oak Ridges Moraine to various types of urban development.

In particular a motion to request a Minister's Zoning Order (MZO) was passed by Council in May of 2020. I voted against this motion and remain opposed to any action that would open up Oak Ridges Moraine protected lands like this.

Richmond Hill Council was recently made aware that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing refused this MZO request and in that letter reiterated that the Provincial government was unwilling to consider the opening of protected Moraine lands at this time through an MZO.

I believe this is good news for our municipality. The story was well captured in an article published recently in the Liberal newspaper. In that article I am quoted as saying that "West said these directions passed by council to open up protected Oak Ridges Moraine lands for development represented “bad planning, bad public policy, bad environmental policy, bad fiscal policy, and a bad use of our planning staff’s time.”

The link to the full article can be found here
Upcoming Events
Coldest Night of the Year Fundraiser
Saturday, February 20

The Coldest Night of the Year is a covid-safe, family-friendly walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. Walk virtually or in-person – there’s a place for everyone!

I invite you to SPONSOR MY TEAM!

Please click the Learn More button to join a team, create a team, donate, or sponsor. The need is even greater this year!
Ward 4 Community Conversation – Neighbourhood Safety and Neighbourhood Watch

See details above in this e newsletter about this event.
Join us February 25th @ 7:30pm for a one hour conversation. Register to receive the call details for this webinar: https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/ward-4-community-conversations/
5th Annual Maple Syrup Festival -- SAVE THE DATE!

Planning is underway 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...Please stay tuned and click the Learn More button for updates. I will be updating my website with further details as they become available.

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.