Earth Week in Richmond Hill
We celebrated Earth Week this past week - well not really - many of the scheduled events such as clean ups and tree planting were delayed due to snow covering the ground. Regardless, Earth Day was still a time to reflect on the state of our natural environment and to do what we can as individuals to affect positive change toward a goal of sustainability.
In this issue I have reported on a number of initiatives that we have taken in Richmond Hill toward this goal.
We are blessed in Richmond Hill with many green spaces and natural areas, and as such we have a responsibility to be stewards of these spaces. We also have the obligation to be stewards of some important waterways in the GTA including the headwaters of the Don, Humber, and Rouge rivers that all begin on the Oak Ridges Moraine right here in Richmond Hill.
I continue to be proud of Richmond Hill's environmental accomplishments, but there is always more that we can do both individually and as a municipality to make the environment in which we live the best it can be.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email at any time. My email address is
, my cell number is 416-346-3090 and my office number is 905-771-2480.
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Banner Image - Painting by On a Kingdon - this piece graces the cover of our Environment Strategy called Greening the Hill : Our Community, Our Future.
Council News and Highlights
1. Richmond Hill Speaker's Series
On April 11, I had the pleasure of attending the first Richmond Hill Speaker's Series with a talk by Adam Chapnick on Canada United States relations. This series is a collaboration by Marj Andre, Mary Kot, and the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. The series brings a variety of speakers and subjects of interest to our community. Tickets for the rest of the series will be available after May 7th - I will be there!
2. Third Anniversary of Aneal's Taste of the Islands
It was a real pleasure to visit
Aneal Swaratsingh's restaurant,
Aneal's Taste of the Islands to help him celebrate 3 years in Downtown Richmond Hill (corner of Richmond Street and Yonge Street).
Anneal's is one of many great restaurants in the Historic Village Core - so when you are hungry you know where to go for an excellent variety of great food! For more information about Village Core restaurants click here.
3. Annual Character Community Mayor's Breakfast hosted by Richmond Hill Board of Trade
The Annual Character Community Mayor's Breakfast hosted by the Richmond Hill Board of Trade was held April 11. The Character Community effort chaired by Deputy Chief of York Regional Police, Andre Crawford, is doing great things in promoting important positive Character Attributes that make our community stronger.
They provide programs for adults but also for kids across our Region. For more information visit
3. Employee Code of Conduct
Richmond Hill is committed to achieving the highest standards of conduct. To help do so, all employees must read and sign an Employee Code of
greeing to its
terms and conditions, before beginning work with the Town. Council recently
approved adding specific
provisions with respect to the reporting of wrongdoing (whistleblowing) and protections from reprisal
s for reporting such wro
ngdoings; and an update to the use of Alcohol, Drugs, and other Substances section to specifically address impairment issues which may arise as a result of the pending legalization of cannabis usage.
The purpose of the Empl
ee Code of Conduct is to detail clear guidelines regarding acceptable behaviour by all le
vels of staff. It sets standards/guidelines for staff behaviour with respect to confidential information, media relations, co
nflict of interest considerations, and use of municipal property, insider information, the acceptance of gifts and benefits and political involvement. Richmond Hill's Employee Co
de of Conduct was last updated in 2006. Defining these specific guidelines demonstrates to all customers how seriously the Town takes its professional res
sibility of providing quality services in an impartial and efficient manner.
4. Community Tree Planting Efforts Help to Establish a Healthy Urban Forest
Richmond Hill's efforts to protect the natural environment continue to make a difference. Council received a report and learned more about the ongoing programs and activities that contribute to creating a vibrant community by establishing a healthier urban forest and natural corridors throughout the Town's greenway system. Through the Community Stewardship Program, Richmond Hill works with agencies and community volunteers to improve the local environment through activities like tree planting, stream restoration and invasive species removal.
In 2017, with the help of 1,950 community volunteers and partner agencies, 10,900 trees/shrubs were planted in Richmond Hill parks and natural areas. The Healthy Yards Program provides residents the opportunity to purchase native trees, shrubs, perennial flowers and backyard composters for their own property at a subsidized cost. Rain barrels are also available at a wholesale price. In 2017, approximately 1,000 residents purchased 1,734 trees and shrubs, 5,782 perennial flowers, 195 backyard composters and 269 rain barrels.
5. Richmond Hill Resident receives the 2018 Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers Award
|Hayden with his nominator Alicia Dempster - Community Liaison Assistant, Mayor and Council Office
On April 19th Hayden Cheung was one of the recipients of this very prestigious award presente
d by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
Hayden Cheung of Richmond Hill is the founder of Youth Nation Alliance (YNA), an organization that connects youth across the Greater Toronto Area with organizations that need volunteers.
He has spent more than 1,800 hours volunteering and has also pioneered a program connecting young newcomers with older students who help them adjust to life in Canada.
Hayden and his YNA group have volunteered many hours to events like the Richmond Hill Winter Carnival, the Ward 4 Richmond Hill Maple Syrup Festival, and many other Town lead events. It was a pleasure for the event staff at the Town to acknowledge this work by nominating him for this award.
Congratulations to Hayden on his achievements, and for the positive work he has done in our community!
6. Prayer Vigil Held for Victims and Loved Ones of the April 23 Tragedy
I find it impossible to describe in words, the horrible tragedy that took place in Toronto on Monday, April 23rd. As a community we share our grief with Torontonians who have lost a loved one during this terrible occurrence. To share our grief and demonstrate our strength as a community, a number of the Downtown Churches in Richmond Hill hosted a vigil at St Mary's Anglican Church on April 24th. Those in attendance lit candles as a symbol of their prayers for healing in our community. A very moving article written by Kim Zarzour appeared in the Liberal newspaper. To read this article click here.
7. York Region Character Community Awards
Congratulations to Richmond Hill resident Art Austriaco who won the S
enior Citizen of Character Award during the Character Community Foundation Annual Awards held on April 25 at th
e Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
Pictured shaking hands with Mr. Austriaco is Richmond Hill resident Brian Presement who was a nominee in the Adult Citizen of Character Category.
to all the nominees and award winners from across York Region. The theme of the evening was Live with Character - Change the World!
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
if you have questions about applications described below or questions about an application that is not included here.
1. 44, 48,54 and 60 Arnold Cres.
This development application was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by the applicant. The hearing wrapped up in March 2017 and a decision from the OMB will be expected soon.
2. 129, 133, 141 Arnold Cres and 230 Major Mackenzie Dr. W.
This property is owned by The Acorn Development Corporation. At this time the developer is in the later stages of completing an application for
redevelopment of this site
. I will host a meeting for the neighbourhood residents as soon as any plans by the developer have been finalized and an application has been submitted to our Planning Staff. Please stay tuned to this e newsletter for more information as it becomes available.
3. South Brookside Tertiary Plan
A plan that will guide any development on the lands to the north of the KDA, south of Brookside, known as the Tertiary Plan area, is currently being developed by our Planning Staff. It is also important to note that the owner of most of the lands in question has appealed the development application related to those these lands, to the OMB.
Recently a meeting was hosted for residents to hear about some potential concepts for the South Brookside Tertiary Plan that will guide future development of these lands. All comments and input from this meeting was received by our Planning Staff to help guide the formation of the final plan that is expected to come before Council in May. If you were not able to attend this meeting you are still welcome to send your input to myself by email.
**NEW** The Draft South Brookside Tertiary Plan is now posted on the Town's website for the public to view. The plan is available for viewing. Please feel free to contact me if you have comments. The plan will be considered by Council at the May 22nd Committee of the Whole meeting. The plan is available at the following link: www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/south-brookside-tertiary-plan.aspx
4. 35 Wright St.
The proposed application at 35 Wright St. seeks to amend the Zoning By-Law to permit a 6 storey office building to be constructed on the subject lands.
I hosted a Residents' Meeting in February, where public input was gathered. The next step in this process was a Council Public Meeting held in March. Several residents expressed their views related to the proposal. I am particularly concerned about the lack of parking in the plan and the height of the proposed building. Our Planning staff will take away all of these comments and continue the planning process. In the future a staff report will come to Council with a recommendation regarding the application.
One of the notable features of this property is the listed heritage building that exists on the property. Before any development permissions that would include the removal of a heritage listed building would be granted, it is a requirement that the heritage listed property be assessed by our Heritage Planning Staff. This assessment would then include a recommendation by staff to either allow the building to be demolished, or a recommendation to designate the building under the Planning Act as a Heritage building. Designation under the Planning Act would negate any possibility of demolishing the building.
On September 12th, 2017 the Heritage Richmond Hill Committee (HRH) considered
a staff report, and endorsed a recommendation from our Heritage Planning staff that the house be designated and not allowed to be removed. This recommendation will need to be passed by Council at a future Council Meeting. This is a significant step, because if the existing Heritage building is designated, the original proposal submitted by the applicant will not be possible. However, a proposal that works to incorporate the existing building into a redevelopment may be possible.
I will keep residents informed of next steps and the date for a future Council meeting related to this application when it becomes available. Click
for a link to the HRH staff report.
5. 251, 253 and 259 Oxford Street
The applicant is seeking Council's approval of its Zoning By-law Amendment and draft Plan of Subdivision applications to permit the construction of 14 single detached residential dwellings on its land holdings, with access from a new public road from Oxford Street. It is proposed that two lots would have frontage on Oxford Street, and twelve lots would front the proposed new public road.
There was a statuatory Council Public meeting on March 28th to discuss this application and seek public feedback. If any residents have further feedback please feel free to write your thoughts down and send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. 11488 Yonge St and 49 Gamble Rd. (south west corner of Gamble and Yonge)
For the past several years there has been a live development application at this location. The applicant was originally facing some challenges reconciling the application with the existence of a floodplain in this area. They have been working with our Planning Staff and the TRCA to address these concerns, and others. It is my understanding that some progress in coming up with an acceptable proposal has been made, but unfortunately the applicant has chosen to appeal the application to the OMB. This represents a common occurrence lately as many applicants have chosen to appeal to the OMB before the OMB is replaced by the newly created LPAT (there is more information about this issue below).
I am quite disappointed with this appeal. This move, in my opinion, does not allow our planning staff and the public an adequate opportunity to provide meaningful input on the revised application. I will keep residents informed of any new issues related to this application as they become available.
Elgin Mills Railroad Crossing Finally Scheduled for Repair
I am pleased to inform you of a temporary road closure on Elgin Mills Road, between Yonge Street and Newkirk Road,
in the Town of Richmond Hill.
The road closure is necessary for CN to rehabilitate the railway crossing on Elgin Mills Road, east of Yonge Street. The work is expected to take five days to complete, with the road closure starting on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. and ending Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 4:00 a.m.
The public is being notified of this road closure through newspaper advertisements, on-street signs, york.ca and social media. Emergency services, York Region school boards, YRT and other stakeholders will be informed of the closure by a broadcast email from the Roads and Traffic Operations Centre. A detour plan will be in place.
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Joseph Petrungaro at 1-877-464-9675 ext. 75220 or
Chairman and CEO
Greening our Hill
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction -
Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on the state of our natural world. It is a time to think of the work that has been done to make our world a better place and to come to grips with the task of repairing past damage and ultimately improving our sustainable use of this place we call Earth. During this past Earth Day I thought lot about how our attitudes and understanding of our natural environment have changed over the years and decades. We have come a long way in this regard, but I think it is safe to say we still have a long way to go.
I have been thinking specifically about Rachel Carson and her landmark 1962 book, Silent Spring. It was here that Carson sounded the alarm bell about negative environmental impacts resulting from our indiscriminate use of a pesticide called DDT. This chemical was used to control pest insects and given its status at the time as a "modern miracle", it was used prolifically and with very few, if any, precautions.
Carson was one of the first to vocalize that this chemical was having a very adverse impact on the natural environment. Aside from indiscriminately wiping out "pest" insects (which in itself we now understand has other unintended negative environmental consequences), DDT was also making the eggs of some predatory bird species so thin that the eggs were breaking before they could hatch. Consequently, serious implications for a number of bird populations were beginning to emerge - hence the title of Chapter 8 of Silent Spring - And No Birds Sing.
As an adult I got around to reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring some 30 years after it was published in 1962. I am embarrassed to say even with my many university courses dealing with the environment, I was never required or inspired at the time to read this landmark piece in environmental literature. However, when I did read it so many years after it was published, it shocked me to think our attitude in the early 1960's toward the environment was one of indifference and that the willful destruction that our actions caused could have been so readily accepted by so many people at the time. It is unbelievable to me to think that we could have so readily used a chemical like DDT without understanding its impacts on the earth and ultimately on ourselves. While DDT was used to control insects like mosquitos it was ultimately responsible for the near collapse of a number of predatory bird populations due to its tendency to accumulate in the bodies of animals at the top of the food chain - a process known as 'biomagnification'.
In this day and age, we seem to understand better that we need to treat the environment with care. Books like Silent Spring helped us to come to this better understanding. We no longer blindly spray chemicals like DDT to the extent that we used to, but it is fair to say that we still have a long way to go in living and acting in a sustainable manner. These better choices can start with each of us as individuals, right here at home.
As a municipality, and as citizens of Richmond Hill, we do not have the power to change the world overnight. I do believe however that we need to continually take action to improve our corner of the world and influence others to take similar action. We are not perfect, but I do think that as a community Richmond Hill is taking a proactive role toward a goal of sustainability and environmental stewardship. I will continue to encourage this progress. There is always more to do and I believe we have the responsibility to our future generation to take this action!
To find a link to Richmond Hill's Environment Strategy called Greening the Hill, Our Environment Our Future please visit -
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility -
Environment Strategy 2017 Accomplishments
is a new service meant to make seasonal cleaning easier. Unlike regular garbage days when you can put out a maximum of 3 items, during Double-Up Days you can put out up to 6 garbage items without purchasing garbage tags!
A garbage "item" means a bag, bundle, garbage can or piece of furniture.
Please set out items on your regular garbage day, using the guide below to determine which weeks apply to you.
SPRING DOUBLE-UP DAYS
FALL DOUBLE-UP DAYS
Yellow Zone: May 1-4
Yellow Zone: September 4-7
Blue Zone: May 8-11
|Blue Zone: September 11-14
Strides for Stroke -
Join My Team
On May 5th, 2018 I will again be running in the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke. This year I would like to invite any member of the community to sign up as a part of my Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers Team to support excellent stroke care in our community, have a fun time, and join your neighbours as we run or walk the 5 km course around the Mill Pond/Heritage Estates communities.
If you are interested in joining the Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers Team you can join at the following link
For more information please visit
Doors Open Richmond Hill
A Healthy Yard is a Beautiful Yard!
Between March 26 and May 9, you can pre-order trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, backyard composters and rain barrels (while quantities last)!
- Trees and shrubs - $5.88 each
- Sun or shade perennial flower kits - $25.87
- NEW this year - Edible Shrub Kit and New Home Starter Kit - $17.63 each
- Composters - $20
- Rain Barrels - $48
On Saturday, May 26, pick up your order at our
Healthy Yards Event
from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Richmond Hill's Operations Centre, 1200 Elgin Mills Road East.
At the event, you can talk to gardening experts, win prizes and take home free wood chips for your garden!
905-771-8800 to learn more.
Certify your Backyard as a Wildlife Friendly Habitat!
|Photo credit: Canadian Wildlife Federation
The Canadian Wildlife Federation's Backyard Habitat Certification Program recognizes the amazing efforts Canadians are taking to meet the habitat needs of wildlife. Whether you have a small patio garden or several acres of land, you could work towards having your yard designated as wildlife friendly habitat!
Why certify your property?
- Gain official status into a community of Canadians helping local and migratory wildlife, including species at risk.
- Help raise community awareness about the importance of gardening with wildlife in mind.
- Certified gardens are eligible to obtain an official sign to place in their garden. Visit cwf-fcf.org to learn more about eligibility and to apply for the program.
Mill Pond Splash 2018
Bring the whole family for hands-on environmental activities and general eco-fun! This much-
loved event features something for everyone, including a park greening event, children's nature activities, wildlife demonstrations, environmental displays, music, entertainment and refreshments. Bike valet will also be available, free of charge, to park and safely store your bikes during the event.
Community Stewardship Program
Event: Tree Planting Event hosted by the Town of Richmond Hill
Get outside to plant trees, shrubs and wildflowers! Wear long pants and closed toed shoes.
Sunday June 3, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (in conjunction with the
Mill Pond Splash
Where: Rumble Pond Park (Bathurst Street & Mill Street)
Richmond Hill Youth Action Committee
Bike to Work Day
SCMRH invites you to experience this FREE 6 km ride, from WSP Canada (100 Commerce Valley Drive West) to Town of Richmond Hill (255 East Beaver Creek Road), which includes a portion of the new
Lake to Lake Cycling Route and Walking Trail
The event will include a free Bike to Work Day t-shirt, continental breakfast, bike safety checks, prizes, giveaways, exhibitors, and a chance to network with local cyclists. Registration will close at noon on Thursday, May 24th.
To register for Bike to Work Day 2018, please
Register by Friday, May 18th to enter in our early bird prize draw for a chance to win a $50 Cara Ultimate Dining Gift card!
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.
Hill Potters Guild ~
Pottery Spring Sale
530 Carrville Road
(between Bathurst and Yonge)
Visit Burr House next door for delicious tea and scones.
Friday, May 4 from 12 - 9 pm
Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday May 6 from 12 - 4 p.m.
Mental Health First Aid Winter and Spring Trainings
Training Option #2
Saturday and Sunday May 5 and 6, 2018- 9 AM - 4:30 pm
: CATA - Canadian Academy of Therapeutic Arts
120 Newkirk Road, Unit 12
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 9S7
: Susan Kagan and Jen Bromley
: $195.00 per person. Includes MHFA manual
One in three people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. As a result, this course was developed to help people provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health problem or is experiencing a mental health crisis. This 12 hour course teaches mental health first aid skills.
MHFA training will teach the participants to:
- Recognize the symptoms of mental health problems
- Provide initial help
- Guide a person toward appropriate professional help
- Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from becoming more serious
- Reduce stigma towards those experiencing mental health problems
Who should attend?
Everyone can benefit from MHFA Canada training - members of the general public, teachers, health services providers, university students, emergency workers, frontline workers who deal with the public, volunteers, human resource professionals, employers, community groups.
To Register Contact:
Chorus York Presents: A Little Rock 'n' Pop
Chorus York, Richmond Hill's community choir, under the direction of Stéphane Potvin, invites you to Spirited & Jazzy, a matin
program of favorites from the world of jazz & spirituals, featuring composers such as George & Ira Gershwin.
The concert will take place at 3:00 p.m. on May 6 at Thornhill Presbyterian Church, 271 Centre St., Thornhill.
This is Chorus York's final concert in a series of four being presented as part of a second successful season. The choir will also be performing with the Richmond Hill Philharmonic Orchestra for their annual last Night at the Proms on Sunday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. S
Hill House Hospice - 20th Anniversary
Sunday May 6
Registration 9:30 | Walk 11:00 a.m.
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church Pancake Breakfast
Saturday May 12
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Lunch and Hymn Sing for Caregivers and Loved Ones with Dementia
Fridays noon until 2PM St Mary's Anglican Church 10030 Yonge St.
Ward 4 Community Corner - Your Shot
If you have a great photo taken in Richmond Hill I would love to feature it here. Send it to me at
to be in next month's e-newsletter!
Photos Courtesy of Rob Young
Signs of Spring