David West  
Richmond Hill Ward 4 Councillor 
Monthly Newsletter 

April 2019






                         Phone:  905-771-2480      Mobile Phone:  416-346-3090       Email -  david.west@richmondhill.ca

Access Richmond Hill:  905-771-8800 -  After Hours Emergency Number:  905-884-8013

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Newsletter At A Glance
In this Issue
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Volunteers in Richmond Hill - Building a Vibrant Community One Act at a Time
For many reasons, I have always been proud to call Richmond Hill home. Like many towns and cities in the GTA we are a growing community with all the benefits and challenges that go along with it. Our success provides many opportunities today, and in the future. Success also presents challenges, and it is those challenges that we must always address to ensure that we remain a vibrant community. A good part of our success is due to many residents contributing to our community in so many ways, each and every day.

I had the pleasure of attending the Richmond Hill Volunteer Awards at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts this week (I will report on this celebration in next month's e newsletter). During National Volunteer Week, and through that annual celebration we honour those individuals and groups that volunteer each and every day in Richmond Hill, in a variety of capacities, big and small. Individually and collectively these volunteer acts add up to an immeasurable value to our community. 

Individual actions by so many volunteers better connect us to our friends, families, and neighbours, and this creates the foundation of a great community. Volunteers also provide much needed services and opportunities to celebrate various aspects of our collective culture and community. There are many citizens who volunteer to coach youth sports, and in doing so leave a lasting positive mark on children. There are those that volunteer to run countless community events that so many of us enjoy. There are those that help out in schools, not only for their own children and grandchildren, but for the benefit of all the children in that school. There are people who volunteer to lead a myriad of charity and not for profit organizations that do their good and important work in our community. We also have volunteers that work to support those that need help in our community. This work makes a positive difference in people's lives. If you ask any dedicated volunteer they will also tell you that the volunteer often gets as much benefit from their work as they give. Volunteering is definitely a two way street.

I have always admired the work that volunteers do in our community as they provide enormous value to all of us. There have been those that have attempted to determine how much monetary value volunteers bring to the community. I know it is a very big number, that we likely can't afford, but the way that volunteers do their job, reacting to a need in the community when they see it, and the love and passion that they put into this work, makes volunteers, and their actions, irreplaceable.

The engagement of so many of our citizens does not end with volunteering. So many of us also take opportunities to be engaged and involved in the decisions that all levels of government make on our behalf. In doing so they further shape our community of Richmond Hill. There have been many examples where citizens have come out in large numbers to express their views on a potential Council decision. I always appreciate the care and passion that people show in attending Council meetings or reaching out to me, as an elected representative, to express views on issues and needs in the community. Individually and collectively citizens continue to actively participate in decisions of Council and in doing so shape the community in which we call home. It is a true honour to hear from citizens. Given all the volunteer and civic engagement actions that happen in Richmond Hill every day I have hope that we will continue to be a strong and vibrant community in the future because it is clear that people care about their community.

Contained in this e newsletter is information about some of the key decisions and directions of Council and information about a number of interesting events that are taking place in Richmond Hill over the coming weeks and months. Below is also a link to a Provincial government survey seeking input on the future of Richmond Hill and the Region of York. I would encourage you to participate in this survey as the Provincial government undergoes its Regional Governance Review. 

Finally after decades of waiting, an announcement has been made by the Provincial Government that they are committed to begin construction on the Yonge Street Subway extension from Finch Station to Richmond Hill. Council has been advocating for this much needed project for years and it would now appear that the project is one step closer to becoming a reality. More detail about this recent announcement is contained below.

As always I would invite you to contact me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about any information in this e newsletter or any matter in Richmond Hill.
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell -416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480

Banner Photo - Twickenham Trees by Chris Robart
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 Councillor Highlights 

1. Happy Nowruz to all that celebrate!
On the evening of Tuesday, March 19 Richmond Hill hosted a very well attended gathering at Richmond Green to celebrate Nowruz. This annual celebration is known as the Richmond Hill Fire Festival. Hundreds of people came to celebrate the coming New Year by "jumping over the fire". In the Persian language, Nowruz means "new day" and the event symbolizes new life, and new beginnings. Every year, Nowruz coincides with the spring equinox, and the rebirth of nature. It was an honour to attend, and to be able to share  in the   festivities. This is one of many events that that we, in Richmond Hill, are blessed to be able to experience and enjoy. 

2.  Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke Kick Off
When I was a kid playing road hockey with my friends we always got to pick who we were going to "be" in the game. If I got to pick first I was always Daryl Sittler or Lanny McDonald. On April 3rd the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke committee held our kick off event. Among those in attendance was Daryl Sittler. It was a thrill to welcome him to Richmond Hill, and an honour to have him support our event!

If you are a runner or a walker I would invite you to join my team for the Strides for Stroke 5k run/walk on Saturday, May 4th. It is a fun event and it is also great to be able to support the Stroke Care program at our Mackenzie Health Hospital. More details of how to be involved in this event and also details about road closures during the run are contained below.

Visit  https://mhf.akaraisin.com/ui/strides2019/team/212341   to sign up for my team, the Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers.

3. Mr. Greek Grand Opening - Monday March 25
Mayor Barrow and myself were on hand to wish Mr. Greek a warm welcome to Richmond Hill and best wishes  on their G rand Opening. They are located in the Richmond Heights Plaza on Yonge Street. Their food is wonderful and their ambiance is authentic Greece! Mr. Greek represents a another great restaurant in our Town, and a delicious addition to the Richmond Heights Plaza. 


4. Cultural Summit - Celebrating Culture in Richmond Hill
The annual Richmond Hill Cultural Summit was held on Tuesday, March 26th at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Ar ts. The event featured  an update on Richmond Hill's Cultural Plan, performances by local artists, presentation of the Richmond Hill Arts Awards, and a visual art gallery.  Congratulations to this year's award recipients! For more information on the award recipients see below or please click here.

Talia Eylon - Emerging Artist
Talia Eylon is a Richmond Hill-based multidisciplinary artist with a focus on media and video art. Her creative endeavors explore the relationship between the female body and its reception and representation in contemporary western society. Talia's work is proudly feminist and reflects an interest in popular culture and the influence of mass media. Her works have been exhibited widely across Canada. Her most recent work includes a video art piece titled no maybe yes. Talia has served as the coordinator, curator and designer of Maximum Exposure Exhibition, was co-chair for her graduate program's DocNow Documentary Festival and was the photo editor of McClung's Magazine. She is currently completing a placement with Vtap where she is researching the practice of viding. TaliaEylon.com

Ona Kingdon - Mid-Career
Emerging Artist
Ona Kingdon is a professional Richmond Hill-based watercolour artist. While creating her art, Ona loves to focus on emotion and enjoys painting and drawing any subject matter that has an emotive element to it. In 2012, Ona was selected as the one to watch by the Watercolour Artist Magazine and has since won numerous awards nationally and internationally. Ona has had her work published in several major magazines and art books across the world. She currently holds the positions of President of the Canadian Branch of the International Watercolor Society, as well as the Director of International Watercolor Society Globe. Ona is active in Richmond Hill's cultural community. As President of the International Watercolour Society, Ona was instrumental in bringing to Richmond Hill in 2018 A Symphony in Watercolour, an international festival featuring a juried exhibition of over 100 artists from in Canada and around the world.  EmotiveExpressions.ca

Freya Abbas - Youth Artist
Freya Abbas is a grade 12 student who is dedicated to creative writing and the promotion of a multicultural community. Her published novels and poetry draw upon inspiration from various historical eras and cultures. Freya's first novel, Misplaced, was published when she was just 12 years old. She has contributed to the culture of Richmond Hill by nurturing the talent of young writers. In addition to helping with the creative writing and slam poetry clubs at her school, she has provided valuable feedback and guidance to writers of the Spyglass Magazine. In addition to these contributions to her school and community, she also has a considerable online presence and following. She writes a blog popular among teens, known as Freya's Aztec Blog (freyathefrypan.blogspot.com), where she posts historical fiction stories and poetry, as well as some nonfiction writing about the Aztecs.

5.  Richmond Hill Group of Artist Juried Show

With Artist/Award recipients - Guo Yue Dou, Olena Opatina, Jeanette Luchese,  Cathy Boyd, Andrea East (RHGA President) and Chery Uhrig - RHGA 2019
On Friday April 5, I was pleased to bring greetings from Council to the 41st Annual Juried Art Show and Sale from the Richmond Hill Group of Artists (RHGA). This is always a great show with over fifty truly beautiful and varied works of art. Arts and culture are alive and well in Richmond Hill! Thanks to RHGA president Andrea End for the invitation. The show continues on April 13th and 14th at the Mill Pond Gallery from 11AM until 5PM.

6. KAIROS Blanket Exercise in Richmond Hill
Recently I  was pleased to co-host, with the Meeting House Church, a KAIROS blanket exercise for our community. This KAIROS Blanket Exercise helps participants better understand the historical treatment of First Nations people in Canada. This exercise deals with a dark part of our national history, but is a poignant reminder of the damage caused by our past treatment of Canada's First Nations communities, and it clearly outlines the need for repairing relationships with Indigenous Peoples.   I have personally completed this exercise several times, and each time I walk away with a better understanding and a refreshed resolve to work towards reconciliation.

7. York Region Donates Ambulance to Dominica

York Region has generously donated a decommissioned ambulance to the nation of Dominica. This work is facilitated by Richmond Hill residents Pam and Harry Harakh through their charity Caribbean North. At the presentation ceremony, we heard from the Commissioner of Trade and Investment for Dominica, Frances Delsol. She explained that this donation is particularly appreciated after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. According to Ms. Delsol, the country is rebuilding and I am proud of all involved for the assistance that we have been able to provide.

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Richmond Hill Council News

1. Richmond Hill Becomes a City
Richmond Hill will now be known as a "city". This change was brought about after a Council Member Motion was introduced that asked Council to consider this change, and to allow time to solicit feedback from citizens related to their thoughts on the matter. I appreciated the feedback that Ward 4 residents gave me during this process. The sentiment that I received was that people preferred to continue to be known as a Town so I did not support the motion. As I have said in previous articles about this issue, the change is really a cosmetic one. There are no substantial legal or practical implications to which I have been made aware. Having said that, our growth and population has certainly come to a point where we are an urban and well populated community that is likely better described as a city, and it was likely an appropriate time to change the name to better reflect our status. At the end of the day I continue to be proud of our community regardless of the name. We will always be "Richmond Hill" to me.

Staff Issued Press Release - Richmond Hill Council reinforced its position in York Region and the Province as an urbanized and competitive municipality, voting to rename one of the largest towns in Ontario to the "City of Richmond Hill." 
The name change influences how the municipality sees itself and how others perceive it. "Richmond Hill has everything an urban place would have. Recognizing that, we need to look differently at our plans for the future," said Richmond Hill's Mayor Dave Barrow.

In Ontario, changing a municipality's status is at the full discretion of the local government; its population is not a factor. Council believes that Richmond Hill needs to keep up with other municipalities and to be more competitive in terms of business attraction and job creation. "This name change will open doors to foreign investment and, at the same time, reflects our sophistication," said the Mayor.

Council passed a motion at its February 4 Council meeting to discuss changing Richmond Hill's status from a Town to a City. At the same time, they encouraged residents to learn more about the potential name change and to share their opinions with staff. "It was important to get the community involved in the discussion," added the Mayor. "While we did not undertake a scientific poll, our decision to make the change reflects what we heard and what we think is best for our community."  

"We've been thinking about the name for a while," said Mayor Barrow. "When we designed Richmond Hill's logo a few years ago, we consciously decided to refer to ourselves as "Richmond Hill," knowing that someday we might change our name from a Town to a City. We understood that in doing so, we'd keep costs down if and when Council voted in favour of a name change." Council anticipates little to no cost impact with Richmond Hill's new City status.

Richmond Hill is steeped in history...from its early beginnings where settlers travelled up and down Yonge Street to the bustling home for community and commerce it is today. "People favouring 'Town' tend to think of a tight-knit community where neighbours know each other's names and their kids play together in our parks. Those who think 'City', see an urban and competitive municipality. Richmond Hill is both and our new name won't change that," Barrow said.

Quick Facts
  • A change in status does not change Richmond Hill's roles, responsibilities or obligations. 
  • A name change does not affect Richmond Hill's status as a lower-tier municipality. 
  • Becoming a city does not affect the amount of funding available to Richmond Hill from other levels of government or agencies. 

2. Land Acknowledgement Motion
Richmond Hill Council failed to pass the motion I introduced to begin Richmond Hill Council meetings with a traditional Land Acknowledgement honouring the First Nations people who have occupied what we call Richmond Hill, and Canada, for many centuries. I was very disappointed that Council did not take what I would consider, a positive leadership role on this initiative. Approving this motion would have provided Richmond Hill with Council's leadership in working towards the goals of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission and our desire, as a community to move towards reconciliation with First Nations communities. Passing a motion to do a Land Acknowledgement before Council meetings would have also expressed a positive desire to join many governments, organizations and businesses that begin their gatherings by honouring the First Nations who have lived on the land we now call home. There were many citizens who took the time to write and speak to Council in support of this motion and as such it is very clear that our residents are passionate and committed to this action. 

While I firmly disagree with the decision that was made I also made a promise, in my comments to Council, that I will personally continue to support activities that help our community and country walk along the path of reconciliation with First Nations People and in doing so support the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation final report. As a proud Canadian, I have no doubt that this work is important in making a stronger and more united country. It would be my hope that Council will eventually change its view on this issue and in doing so, join so many other municipalities, faith groups, community organizations (and even the Winnipeg Jets) in beginning meetings and gatherings with a Land Acknowledgement.  Council's actions were well reported by a number of publications from across the country. To learn more about this issue please see the links below. 

To learn more visit 
In December Council considered a motion that would effectively repeal the Downtown Secondary Plan and allow for increased density for redevelopment in this area. This motion evolved over the last few months and was recently approved by Council.

The current Downtown Secondary Plan was approved in 2017. It provided a plan for revitalization of the Village Core while respecting the heritage buildings and other constraints to development in this area. The plan outlined added detail to the  development  permissions that are already  available in the Official Plan related to the Village Core while providing a co-ordinated approach to pedestrian accessibility, parking, and transportation requirements. After passing the Secondary Plan, it became clear that there were land owners in the area that were not in favour of the development restrictions embedded in the plan, and several of them launched appeals to the Secondary Plan under the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT). 

While I understand the reasons for their objections, I am also cognizant of the extensive public consultation from both land owners and the public that occurred in the lead up to the approval of this plan in 2017. I am also aware of the very real constraints to development that exist in this area. The existing Secondary Plan took these constraints into account, and any new plan must do the same. The constraints include the fact that the Village Core area is significantly confined due to two well established neighbourhoods on each side of Yonge Street. Any overdevelopment of this area could negatively impact the residential areas with increased traffic and congestion. Further, there are historic buildings in the Village Core that must be protected and revitalized within any development permissions. Finally, Yonge Street will always be quite narrow in that area of our community and this must be considered before any new plan is put in place. Due to these constraints, there is a limit to how much density that can be realistically accommodated, and these limits must be respected. 

Like many residents I would very much like to see a revitalized Village Core and all the benefits to the community and businesses that meeting this goal will achieve.  It is my expectation that Council will approve a new plan after repeating a public process that will ultimately  achieve  a new plan for the area. 

This process will be open to the public and stakeholders and will be designed to solicit opinions and input toward the goal of a new Secondary Plan. I would encourage you to stay tuned to see how you can be involved in these consultations related to this important part of our community.

4. New Grass and Weeds By-law
Staff Issued Press Release - Council approved staff's request to replace the 1996 Long Grass and Weeds By-law, No. 217-96 with a new Grass and Weeds By-law, No. 31-19. The By-law regulates the height of grass and weeds on private property and boulevards in Richmond Hill. The new By-law includes clarified terminology (for example, defining a garden area that does not need to be mowed); exemptions (such as ditches and natural growth areas); year-round application of By-law provisions; and a boulevard maintenance requirement that aligns Richmond Hill with neighbouring municipalities. The up-to-date Grass and Weeds By-law will ensure lawns are well maintained, which is consistent with Richmond Hill's Strategic Plan goal of "A More Vibrant Richmond Hill." To read the new By-law, visit https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/our-services/By-laws.aspx.

5. Municipality-Wide Snow Windrow Clearing
Over  the  past six years I have had an increasing number of calls from residents asking that the pile of snow left by the street plow, at the end of the driveway, be removed by the municipality. There are other municipalities that provide this service and many residents have expressed an interest to expand this service to Richmond Hill. Council recently decided that this service will be added in Richmond Hill beginning in 2019. 

Council considered a detailed staff report outlining the various costs, logistical challenges, and opportunities available. I moved an amendment to receive further detail on some of these issues, including the funding for the program. I remain concerned that our 2019 Operating budget has been passed without this service added to the budget. My amendment may have delayed the ultimate start of this service by a couple of weeks, but I felt it was important with such a significant decision, that we receive clear answers before proceeding. My amendment did not pass so Council will now proceed with the program and any questions about financing the costs of the program in the 2019 budget year will be brought back to Council at a later time. 

While I would have preferred receiving more detail on some areas of this decision I was supportive of the motion and voted in favour of adding windrow removal as I know people have expressed an interest in adding this service. For more information please read the staff issued press release below or the link to the Liberal article  included at the end of this section.

Staff Issued Press Release - Council endorsed a municipality-wide snow windrow-clearing program. Richmond Hill staff will deliver the new program, which applies to all eligible households in town, beginning next winter. During the 2018 Election, Council heard from residents about the heavy snow windrows resulting from road plowing operations. At the February 4 Council Meeting, Council asked staff to report back with a list of options to clear windrows. Staff presented four snow windrow-clearing program options and the respective benefits, considerations and financial and staff implications for Council's consideration. The options included status quo; expanding and opening a snow windrow program to a limited number of residents; a municipality-wide windrow-clearing program (contracted service); and a municipality-wide windrow-clearing program with enhanced service delivery (in-house service). Council chose the staff-recommended option for the consistent level of service that will result from the work being performed by full-time staff, increasing program delivery efficiency. The new windrow-clearing program will be funded from appropriate reserve funds of which staff will notify Council of via staff report at an upcoming Council meeting. Future costs will be discussed in the 2020 Budget discussions.

6.  Richmond Hill's Drinking Water is Safe
In Richmond Hill we expect a robust and safe water system that consistently delivers safe clean drinking water to our homes. I will  admit  that I often take my tap water for granted but I think it is worth reporting that a great deal of care and time goes into ensuring that we can rely on our water being safe. Water systems in Ontario are well regulated and Richmond Hill, like other municipalities, have their water system operations inspected regularly to ensure compliance with all regulations in order to ensure safety for residents. In my tenure on Council, Richmond Hill has always passed its inspections with flying colours. For more information please see the Staff issued press release below. 

Staff Issued Press Release - Richmond Hill is responsible for providing a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, Council received the 2018 Municipal Drinking Water System Report for Richmond Hill's water distribution system, which details the compliance with provincial standards for testing and reporting processes. The report includes a 98.4 per cent inspection rating from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Municipal Drinking Water Inspection Program. Maintaining a high standard of water quality and preventing health hazards involves diligent administration, communication, testing and cooperation. Richmond Hill's MECP-certified staff perform regular maintenance on the system, including watermain flushing and repairs, valve exercising, fire hydrant maintenance, sampling for disinfectant levels and bacteriological testing. For more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/Water.

7. Regulating Airbnb and Short-term Rentals in Town
I was pleased to support a member motion that was brought before  Council  to ask staff to examine the options available for Richmond Hill to regulate AirBnB and short term rentals in our residential areas. I have received a steadily increasing number of complaints from residents about a few of these rental locations. As short term rentals have increased in popularity, other Ontario municipalities have also started to consider ways to regulate the practice. The staff report will deliver some best practices from other municipalities as well as background and information related to options that Council would have, within its jurisdiction, to appropriately deal with this issue. The staff report with recommendations is expected to be presented to  Council  by November. 

8. Oak Ridges Library Update

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Ward 4 Development Applications - Update 

There are a number of development applications active in Ward 4 that continue to generate significant interest from residents.  This newsletter section is intended to keep everyone informed and updated about the status of these applications. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all active development applications in the ward, but a brief synopsis of select applications. Information that is new since the last newsletter is marked as "**NEW**" Please feel free to contact me at david.west@richmondhill.ca if you have questions about applications described below or questions about an application that is not included here. 
Current and ongoing applications with little or no significant developments to report are listed below with a brief summary of the application only. New applications, since last month, or ones with significant developments since last month are listed with greater detail below.

A good general resource related to Land Use Planning can be found on the Minstry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website at  www.ontario.ca/document/citizens-guide-land-use-planning

Current Applications with no significant Changes to report since last month 

1. 129, 133, 141 Arnold Cres and 230 Major Mackenzie Dr. W.  
Potential townhouse development near Arnold Cres. and Major Mackenzie Dr.

2. 35 Wright Street
Redevelopment of a Heritage designated home on Wright Street just west of Yonge Street.

3.  251, 253 and 259 Oxford Street
A single detached home project on the south side of Oxford St West of Regent St. 

4. 116 Lucas St. 
The applicant is proposing to build a semi detached dwelling on the subject lands. Staff is currently reviewing this application after receiving input from residents and Council. A staff report with a recommendation will be presented at a future Committee of the Whole meeting.

New Applications / Older Applications with new changes since the last month to report

1. 11488 Yonge St and 49 Gamble Rd. (south west corner of Gamble and Yonge)
A proposed townhouse and condominium development near the south west corner of Gamble Rd. and Yonge St.

**NEW** The staff report and recommendation from Planning Staff related to this application will come to Committee of the Whole for Council's consideration on May 7th at 1PM. The link to the staff report can be found by visiting richmondhill.ca, clicking on the calendar for May 7th, and viewing the staff report dealing with this application in that Committee of the Whole agenda. The report is not available on the publish date of this e newsletter but will be available about a week before the May 7th meeting date. 

I will be hosting an informal residents meeting to provide an update to area residents about this application. This meeting will take place on Monday April 15th at 7PM in the Elgin West Community Centre, Woodland Room. If you have any questions about this application please feel free to contact me.

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Regional Governance Review

The information below is a news release informing citizens about a survey from the Provincial government that is now available. The survey provides an opportunity to submit feedback related to the Regional Governance Review of the Region of York and its nine municipalities, including Richmond Hill. It is important that citizens participate in this survey as it is designed to inform the province about the views of local residents concerning the future of our Richmond Hill.

Ontario Government Press Release
Government Invites Feedback on Regional Government Review

The Provincial government announced that consultation on the Regional Government Review will include an online commenting period, which will end on April 23.  Please see the news release below for additional details.

TORONTO - The Ontario government is putting people first by seeking local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and member municipalities.
All people who live or work in the 82 upper- and lower-tier municipalities included in the review are invited to share their thoughts through the online consultation. The deadline to submit comments is April 23, 2019.
"We promised the people of Ontario that all levels of government would work harder, smarter and more efficiently," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "Our government is putting people first by seeking local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and their member municipalities."
In addition to meeting with municipalities and stakeholder groups, Special Advisors Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling will assess the feedback received through the online consultation. They will provide their advice and recommendations to Minister Clark this summer.
"I look forward to receiving the recommendations and hearing what is working in the regions and Simcoe County, and what can be improved," said Minister Clark.
The government is committed to working with municipalities to help ensure that they have effective local governance and decision-making, and are providing services quickly and efficiently.
Quick Facts
*Ontario's system of regional government has been in place for almost 50 years.
*Ontario's regional municipalities and Simcoe County's combined populations have grown by more than 3 million people since the 1970s.
For more information about the Provincial Government's Governance Review visit https://news.ontario.ca/mma/en/2019/03/government-invites-feedback-on-regional-government-review.html

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Yonge Street Subway Extension to Richmond Hill

There have been many twists and turns in the ongoing battle to finally get the Yonge Street Subway extended to Highway #7 and Yonge street in Richmond Hill. It would appear that this recent announcement will be a very positive step in achieving this goal. It is my understanding, under this plan, that the subway will open after 2027. This is an important project for the GTA and Richmond Hill in particular. This type of transit infrastructure will be crucial to support our future growth. It has been a long time coming and it is certainly a positive step. I think it is worth acknowledging the on going advocacy that Mayor Barrow and Councillor Chan as well as past Regional and Local Councillors Hogg and Spatafora have performed over the past decade to help keep this issue at the forefront.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Yonge North Subway Extension construction gets the green light!

Newmarket - The Regional Municipality of York, together with York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, are thrilled to see a commitment from the Ontario Government today of $5.6 billion over the next 10 years for the Yonge North Subway Extension. The Yonge North Subway Extension can now move forward into construction. This investment is part of the province's $28.5 billion expansion to Ontario's transit network.

"Today's announcement of a significant investment from the Province jumpstarts the construction of the Yonge North Subway Extension - Regional Council's number one transportation priority," said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. "Subways unlock new travel choices for all commuters. With 52,000 businesses already within York Region, this transit investment will help drive national, provincial and regional prosperity."

The Yonge North Subway Extension is a cross-jurisdictional project spanning the City of Toronto, City of Markham, City of Vaughan and the City of Richmond Hill. It extends 7.4 kilometres north on Yonge Street from Finch Station to the Richmond Hill/Langstaff Gateway Urban Growth Centre at Highway 7. 

"The Yonge North Subway Extension is the most justified rapid transit investment in the GTA," said City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. "As Chair of the York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, I have dedicated my time to advancing this project, to securing funding and to starting construction during this term of office.  Today's announcement is welcome news to the beleaguered York Region commuters and I applaud the provincial government for its bold initiative to connect the 905 and 416."

This critical rapid transit link will include up to six stations at Cummer/Drewry, Steeles, Clark, Royal Orchard, Langstaff/Longbridge and Richmond Hill Centre. It will also include two intermodal terminals and 2,000 commuter parking spaces near Yonge Street and Highway 407.

"This project supports vital transportation networks that connect cities, and it will help continue our economic growth," said City of Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow. "We appreciate this investment."

"The Yonge North Subway Extension is very important to those who live, work and commute in Vaughan," said City of Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. "This investment shows the importance the Province places on a connected network across the GTA."

For the past two decades, York Region and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation have been working to advance the Yonge North Subway Extension, and look forward to continuing to work with both the Federal and Provincial governments, and the City of Toronto, to deliver this missing link in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area's rapid transit network.

York Region Rapid Transit Corporation is responsible for the planning, design and construction of York Region's rapid transit network and related infrastructure to deliver on the transit priorities set out in the York Region Transportation Master Plan. The board is a share capital corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Regional Municipality of York. For more information, please visit   www.vivanext.com/YSEcantwait
The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 52,000 businesses with over 636,600 employees. More information about the Region's key service areas is available at  york.ca/regionalservices

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3rd Annual Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival

It was a beautiful sunny spring day. The temperature warmed up enough for the sap to run in time for our Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. We celebrate many beautiful spring related festivals in Canada and all of them add richness to the coming of spring. One event that we all share as Canadians is Maple Syrup season - a uniquely Canadian spring occurrence. 

There were over 1000 people that came out to share in this celebration at the Richmond Hill Ward 4 Maple Syrup Festival. Thanks to the volunteers that helped to host the event and to everyone who came out and enjoyed the activities, the Maple Syrup, and who shared this festival with our community. I saw lots of smiling kids with slightly sticky fingers, and lots of community building it was a great day! 

(Photos Courtesy of Chris Robart and Marj Andre and David West)

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Strides For Stroke

To join my Team - The Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers please visit https://mhf.akaraisin.com/ui/strides2019/team/212341

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Richmond Hill Camera Club Winter Carnival 
Photo Contest Winning Entries

Each year the Richmond Hill Camera club partners with the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival to supply free photos of guests with the Winter Carnival mascot, Ookpik. They also invite their members to photograph the Carnival activities and from these photos the best are selected to win awards in three categories, Colourful, People or Pets and Tradition. As always the quality of the photos is superb and contained below is a sampling of some of the winning entries. Thanks very much to the Richmond Hill Camera Club members for sharing their talent and artistry, and for so thoroughly documenting the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival.
Colourful Category

1st  What A Colourful Smile
Frankie C.
3rd  Hello There
Linda L.
2nd  Fuscia Skater
Chuck R.

People or Pets Category

1st  I Got It!
Cyndy S.
2nd  Pole Racer
Judi M.
3rd  Only You and Me
 Leona L.


Tradition Category

3rd  Lou Moore Band
Tradition at the Carnival
Lance G.
1st  Lou Moore
1st  Lou Moore - Always A Tradition  
Rhonda S.
2nd  On The Carnival Stage
Fern G.

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Richmond Hill Board of Trade 2019 Business Achievement Awards

The nominees for the 2019 Richmond Hill Board of Trade Business Achievement Awards represent the best of Richmond Hill businesses large and small. It was an honour to celebrate the finalists as well as the winners of these prestigious awards on Thursday March 7 at the Sheraton Parkway Hotel.

The Board of Trade recognized the opening chapter of tomorrow's success story by presenting a Chair's Award for Best New Start Up. This year's award  recognized achievement in building a micro-business that uses technology to support the very human need for connection, for a helping hand...and for less stress in our lives. The Chair's Award was given to Heather Skoll of Reset Zone. 

The Mayor's Award went to Les Mote of R.F. Mote, a family owned business in Richmond Hill for the last 53 years. R.F. Mote today is a data centre fabricator and is a major player in the marketplace.

This year's Environment and Conservation Award was given to one of our town's best examples of environmental sustainability and conservation. Hillcrest Mall believes in taking responsibility for future generations.   Their waste container programs and recycling systems have resulted in a waste diversion rate of 86%.   That adds up to saving 550 trees, 730,000 litres of water, 112,000 kwh of energy and diverting 35 metric tons of organics from landfill. Hillcrest also has multiple bike racks and a car charging station and of course....they've got the bees! 

The Hospitality Award was presented to the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North - a hotel the size of a city block with a warm, community feeling. The Sheraton has 312 guest rooms and suites and a wide range of great facilities. What's best about the hotel, though, are its people - many of whom have been with the Sheraton for decades. 

The Richmond Hill Community Foodbank received the Non-Profit Award this year. With a strong, committed volunteer base, the food bank serves hundreds of families each month, filling the gaps and working to support everyone in our community. 

For nearly 30 years, Intergroup Facility Services has been providing complete building solutions, specializing in janitorial services and building operations. These days they are just as likely to be providing event services, emergency flood restoration and construction services. Intergroup received the Professional Services Award.

High school student Keeley Aird won the Young Entrepreneur award for her work leading STEM Kids Rock. The group's mission is to inspire, engage and empower the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math.  STEM Kids Rock is a free Mobile Science Centre that goes out into communities to reach elementary aged children and inspire them to fall in love with science. 

There were two winners in the General Business category:

Social Coffee was founded in 2009 in Richmond Hill, dedicated to making coffee a social experience. They're passionate about sourcing, roasting and brewing delicious coffee. Social Coffees products can be found at their roaster and at various specialty coffee espresso bars, restaurants and specialty markets. 

On the Dance Floor Boutique says we are 'living on the dance floor of life.' They create limited edition collections for dancewear, fashionwear and theatrical and dance productions.

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Yard Waste Schedule Changes

The schedule for yard waste collection is changing. Yard waste will no longer be collected on Mondays, it will now be collected on the regular waste collection day as follows:
-          Starting on April 16 to October 11- Yard waste will be collected every other week on the garbage collection day
-          From October 15 to December 6 - Yard waste will be collected weekly on the waste collection day
Residents are asked to set-out their yard waste, along with the other applicable waste streams, in a Kraft paper bag or in an open top reusable container labeled with a yellow yard waste sticker, available for free at Operations Center, 1200 Elgin Mills Road East and at Access Richmond Hill located at 225 East Beaver Creek Road).

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Ann Gold Community Spirit Scholarship 

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Richmond Hill Youth Action Program

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Community Improvement Plan - Funding Available 

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Kids Run For Nature

To register visit kidsrunfornature.ca
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Clean Up Green Up Weeks

Richmond Hill is organizing the annual Clean Up, Green Up Weeks to give our Town a spring cleaning. In 2018, with the help of 7,744 volunteers, we cleaned more than 100 parks, trails, and streets in our community. We are proud to see Richmond Hill come together again in 2019 for this event. 
During the weeks of April 22 to May 6, community groups and schools throughout the Town will help pick up litter in our parks, boulevards, and other areas. Groups can register online until April 5 by visiting RichmondHill.ca/CleanUpWeeks.
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RHCPA Speaker Series - Spring 2019

To order your tickets click here.

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Viva Yonge St. Bus Rapid Transit Update

For a link to a summary video of the project please visit  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaWgX6_zDzY
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Great Things To See And Do Around Town

Looking for interesting things to do this month in our Community? Look no further - below is a listing of various community events that I would like to promote on behalf of the various organizers. For a complete listing please click on the links below. These links will take you to my website where the full details of the listing for each event can be found.

Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra
Planet Earth
Sunday April 28 - 8:00 p.m.
Pre-concert talk - 7:15 p.m.

For more information visit rhpo.ca
For ticket details visit rhpo.ca/tickets
or c all: 905-787-8811

Chorus York -  Vivaldi Gloria
Saturday May 4
Please visit chorusyork.ca for tickets.

Chorus York and Artistic Director St é phane Potvin invite you to join them in welcoming the season with our annual spring concert. This year's concert, entitled Classics in the Spring, is a program of classical choral repertoire, including Vivaldi's Gloria, with guest soloists Angela Gibbon and Kira Braun, and a further collection  of great English choral music. The accompanist for the concert is organist, Richard Hansen.
There will be two opportunities to enjoy this program. On Saturday, May 4th,  the concert will be presented at 8:00 p.m. at St. Matthew's United Church, 333  Crosby Ave., Richmond Hill, with a reception to follow. The program will be presented again the following day, Sunday, May 5th, at 3:00 p.m. at Thornhill Presbyterian Church, 271 Centre St.,Thornhill.
Tickets are available at www.chorusyork.ca/concerts or at the door.   Prices are as follows: $25 (Reg.), $20 (Sr.), $15 (Stu. with ID), $55 (Family, 2 adults, 2 children under age 18), Free (children under age 10).

Call 905-884-7922 for further details.
Be sure to visit the choir's website www.chorusyork.ca for details regarding concerts in Season Four, 2019-2020.

TRCA Presents
Designing Your Yard with Native Plants
April 18, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm 
Bayview Hill Community Centre - 114 Spadina Road - Richmond Hill

For more information and to register click here.

TRCA Presents
Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden at Central Library
May 5, 2019 
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Richmond Hill Public Library, Central Branch, 1 Atkinson Street

For more information and to register click here

2019 Bike To Work Day
May 27, 2019

Registration begins April 29

Date: Monday, May 27, 2019
Time: 7:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Start and End Location: 
Join the Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill network for a 10 km group ride in the Highway 7 and 16th Avenue Corridor, featuring the newly implemented  Highway 404/Highway 7 Interchange improvements, cycling lanes on Highway 7, and the Lake to Lake Cycling Route and Walking Trail! The event will include an SCMRH Bike to Work Day t-shirt, bike safety checks by Evolution Cycles, continental breakfast, prizes, giveaways from exhibitors, and a chance to network with local cyclists. Registration will close at noon on Thursday, May 23rd.

Register by Friday, May 10th to enter in our EARLY BIRD prize draw for a chance to win a cycling prize pack, which includes a cycling helmet and glove set courtesy of Evolution Cycles and a stainless steel water bottle courtesy of Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill!


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Artifact of the Month

Snakes and Ladders Game Board
From the Town of Richmond Hill Collection
Courtesy of: Margaret Roscoe                      016.09.20

Toys have existed as long as there have been children to play with them. It seems that every culture from the ancient past to present has had toys such as dolls, animal figures and hoop games. Archaeological digs from Egypt, Greece and Sumer, dating back over 4000 years indicate that toys such as kites, yo-yos and wheeled figures as well as balls and various board games existed. The materials used were what was available such as stone, wood, clay, painted terra cotta and rags.

There is an old saying about April showers bringing May flowers. So while the weather might be rainy outside, children could have fun indoors, playing games like Snakes and Ladders. Toys such as puzzles and board games focused on mental capabilities. Play is still considered a form of growth and education. This Snakes and Ladders game, from the 1950s, taught simple math in a fun way.

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