David West
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor
Monthly Newsletter
February 2020
February in Richmond Hill
As February rolls out the days get longer and we get the the first hint that spring might be on the horizon. In our family tradition one of the first harbingers of spring is Maple Syrup season. This uniquely Canadian tradition has been a part of our family for generations. On that note, 3 years ago I began a Maple Syrup Festival in Richmond Hill in order to offer an event where the community could come together to celebrate spring. On March 28th I will be hosting my 4th Annual Maple Syrup Festival (details below). The festival is always a very well attended and fun filled day of pancakes with real Maple Syrup, activities for the kids, and a tree tapping and Sap boiling demonstration to name a few of the highlights. I hope you can join us!

Earlier this month the Mill Pond Park was the venue for the the 52nd Annual Richmond Hill Winter Carnival. It was a great celebration of winter as it has always been and many families were able to take part in the celebration. Thanks to the organizing committee and those that came out to enjoy this wonderful Richmond Hill tradition.

Climate change is widely recognized as one of the most significant threats to our way of life. As such I have always believed that it is important that governments at all levels take a leadership role in reducing our Green House Gas emissions to help prevent future impacts and also create resiliency in our communities to buffer us from the current impacts. Earlier this month Council was presented with a staff report outlining some of the significant actions that Richmond Hill is currently, and will soon take, in order to work toward this goal. I am proud that a motion that I presented to Council that furthers and deepens our response to Climate Change was passed unanimously by Council. The details of this motion can be found in an article below. I want to thank the public and my colleagues for their support. It is my hope that the leadership that this motion helps to reinforce will serve us well as a community and will also lead to further positive environmental actions.

It is important for residents to say informed and one way to do that is to attend Council meetings. For those that are interested, but are not able to attend these meetings in person, you can watch the meetings live streamed by going to Richmond Hill's website at www.richmondhill.ca. On the home page under the Mayor and Council tab you can click the link that says "Watch Livestream" to view Council meetings live.

As always, 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
Richmond Hill Camera Club Print Donation
Recently the Richmond Hill Camera Club donated some of their members' award winning prints to display at a number of Senior's Retirement Homes in our community. This is a wonderful initiative and I am proud of the actions of this group to give back to our community. To learn more about the Richmond Hill Camera Club and this initiative please click here.
Elgin West Seniors Association
I was recently invited to attend the Membership Night at Elgin West Seniors Association at the Elgin West Community Centre. I was proud to bring greetings from Council and congratulate the organizations on their 20th anniversary. I thanked them for all the work they do and the richness that the organization brings to our community.
Tavos Industries Inc. opens in Richmond Hill
I was pleased to attend the Open House for Tavos Industries, located on West Pearce Street. This company is new to Richmond Hill. Tavos is a forward-thinking Canadian manufacturer that produces paper based alternative products to replace single use plastics. Their goal is to make the world a more sustainable place for our children and future generations to come. According to their owner, "Straws are our entry market paper product with many more exciting projects underway." Best wishes to the company on their future and a thank you for choosing Richmond Hill to locate and grow.
First Sustainability Symposium in Richmond Hill
I recently hosted a first ever Environmental Symposium in Richmond Hill. It was a very well attended event. The speakers for the Symposium included Jennifer Fitzpatrick from Second Harvest speaking about the environmental impact of food waste, Yasmeen Peer from Green Peace who spoke about a number of environmental issues including Climate Change, and Cleber Bernardes from CEDS Environmental Care who spoke abut a number of environmental issues including safe disposal of medications. A panel discussion including audience questions as well as a chance for attendees to speak with community environmental groups capped off the event. The groups in attendance included Resilient Richmond Hill, York Region Environmental Alliance, Drawdown Richmond Hill, Neighbours for the Planet, Targeting Climate Change, Blue Dot York Region and Extinction Rebellion Richmond Hill. Thank you to all that attended. I look forward to hosting another Symposium in the future.

The focus of this event was providing information to all of us about what we can do to make a positive difference in our environment. On that note please see this link to see materials from Neighbours for the Planet on how you can make a difference.

Photo courtesy of Justin Lee from TAVOS Industries
52nd Annual Richmond Hill Winter Carnival
Earlier this month Richmond Hill came out to celebrate winter at the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival like we have for the past 51 years. All of the past favourite Winter Carnival activities, and some new ones, made for a fun 2 day celebration of our Canadian winter. I wanted to thank all of the volunteers that host this event. Our committee has already begun the plans for next year's Winter Carnival. For a good summary of the event please feel free to visit this link to an excellent article that appeared in the Liberal.
4th Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival
Preparations and plans are well underway for the 4th Annual Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. I would invite everyone to come out to enjoy a fun day of activities including pancakes with real Maple Syrup, and a sap boiling and tree tapping demonstration after a horse drawn wagon ride to the Twickenham Forest (Maple Sugar Bush). All of these events take place at the Elgin West Community Centre on March 28th from 10AM - 2PM. For complete information please click here .
Richmond Hill Council News
Richmond Hill and York Region Continues to Monitor Novel Coronavirus Situation.
With increased public and media attention on the novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, Mayor Dave Barrow is reminding residents that the risk in Richmond Hill remains low and that now more than ever, it’s important to remember that we value the diversity in our community and to not make assumptions about people or use stereotypes.

Our community centres, as always, remain open and programs are running. Residents are encouraged to continue to participate in registered and drop-in programs, visit our libraries and enjoy our public spaces. We continue to work closely with York Region Public Health to monitor the novel coronavirus. This is being done in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies. Information and frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus can be found at York.ca/coronavirus.  
Historic Jefferson Schoolhouse
I am pleased to report that Council recently denied the demolition application for the former historic Jefferson Schoolhouse. The motion that passed also directed staff to work with the owner of this Heritage Designated Property to explore all avenues available to save this important building.

It has always been clear to me that the best way to save iconic and important buildings like the Jefferson Schoolhouse is to restore them, and include/incorporate them into a new development with a new revitalized use.

This strategy has been done successfully all over the world in order to save unique landmark buildings. As a result important historic buildings are able to again provide unique pubic spaces, respecting our community's built heritage while adding to the unique character of a City.

For more information click here to read the article that appeared in the Liberal.
Operating Budget Passes
Council recently approved Richmond Hill’s draft 2020 operating budget, representing a less than one per cent tax increase. Richmond Hill achieved the low property tax increase in the draft 2020 operating budget while finding efficiencies through process improvements, reorganization, technology updates and increased revenue through user fees.

Overall I was pleased that Council was able to work together to find savings. The portion of your tax that is paid to Richmond Hill is about 25% of the total tax bill. Approximately 50% of the tax paid goes to the Region of York and approximately 25% of the total is paid to the school board.

I remain concerned that 4 firefighters that were approved (but not hired) in 2019 were removed from the 2020 Operating Budget and I was also disappointed that Council decided to discontinue the Community Pages in the Liberal Newspaper rather than the compromise I presented to continue the ads with a reduced space and cost.

An article appeared in the Liberal newspaper. Click here to read.
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 was a public information meeting for local residents on Monday, February 10th where a number of residents came out to learn more and speak to both staff and myself. 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.

Richmond Hill Supports Climate Change Actions
In the spring of 2019 I introduced a motion to Council to declare a climate emergency. This action was intended to strengthen and reaffirm the importance and need for climate change action. It was also intended to endorse and reaffirm the City’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote resiliency in our city through various initiatives. The motion to declare a Climate Emergency was deferred at that time and Council instead requested a staff report regarding Richmond Hill's actions so far and any planned future actions to address Climate Change in our community. The staff report that ensued can be viewed here.

In response to this staff report I was able to introduce a motion to outline a number of actions I believe our community needs to take in order to take a leadership role in addressing future impacts of Climate Change and to also provide resilience against any current impacts. The full text of the motion that I introduced can be found here
Clean Up, Green Up Weeks 2020
During the weeks of April 20 to May 4, community groups and schools throughout the City will help pick up litter in our parks, boulevards, and other areas. Groups can register online until April 5 by visiting http://RichmondHill.ca/CleanUpWeeks . The City will provide registered groups with gloves, garbage and recycling bags, and will arrange for collection of the filled bags

Public Information Meeting
Twickenham Pond Rehabilitation

The City of Richmond Hill is undertaking a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study to determine the best means of rehabilitating the Twickenham Stormwater Management Pond and three downstream online stormwater management facilities. The study area is shown in the key map above. The study will evaluate a range of alternatives to determine the best
rehabilitation solution to improve water quality, and mitigate erosion and flooding in the area.

A Public Meeting will be held as follows:
Date: Monday, March 2, 2020
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Location: Elgin West Community Centre, Woodland Room
11099 Bathurst Street
Richmond Hill, ON

The purpose of the meeting is to provide an overview of the project, present solutions and next steps. Representatives from the City of Richmond Hill and the consulting team will be available to discuss any issues or concerns you may have, and receive feedback for consideration in the study.
Development Application Yeda Major Mackenzie Inc. - 58 Major Mackenzie Drive West
A request for approval of a Zoning By-law Amendment application to permit a 5-storey residential building comprised of 33 dwelling units, 1.64 FSI and 64 parking spaces has been submitted to Richmond Hill Planning Staff. This property is a just west of Yonge Street, on the north side of Major Mackenzie Drive. For the more information concerning this application please visit http://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/zoning-by-law-amendment-application-yeda-major-mackenzie-drive-west/

Please also be advised that there will be a Council Public Hearing concerning this application in the Richmond Hill Council Chambers at 225 East Beaver Creek Road on April 1st at 7:30PM.

Upcoming Events
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

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church
Pancake Breakfast
March 21
10066 Yonge Street
Saturday, March 21 from 9:00 - 11:00

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

Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra
Creatures Great and Small
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
7:30 p.m.- Pre-concert talk 6:45 p.m.

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