May 1, 2020
Sandra
Yeung Racco
WARD 4 COUNCILLOR
The City of Vaughan continues to manage the COVID-19 global pandemic and assess measures to help break the chain of transmission. The health and well-being of citizens, staff and visitors continues to be the City of Vaughan’s top priority. 

Many City services continue to be offered online or via telephone. For questions, contact Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281 or visit vaughan.ca or vaughanpl.info . Please check here the latest updates, including modified services and recent cancellations.
Essential services, such as fire and emergency response, waste collection, water/wastewater services, by-law and enforcement services and the Access Vaughan contact centre at 905-832-2281, continue to operate.

What’s open?
The following services continue to operate without disruptions:
Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the services and resources that continue to be offered online - including Service Vaughan, an online reporting tool that enables individuals to submit a service request, report on non-emergency City services and track their submission 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
 
Residents can access the tool by clicking here . Currently, the platform supports requests on six City services, including:
  • debris, vandalism and graffiti
  • garbage and recycling
  • parks, trees and grass
  • roads and sidewalks
  • signs and streetlights
  • water services
Services that are currently underway or scheduled to begin include street sweeping, litter pickup, boulevard maintenance, grass cutting, tree inspections, pavement marking, and water and wastewater services.

Adjustments have been made to some regularly scheduled spring and summer public works operations. Services that are delayed or reduced include, tree planting and maintenance, weeding and mulching, road and sidewalk repair, replacement or addition of streetlight and traffic signals, implementation of new traffic operations and road safety measures, water meter replacements and water trailer event bookings.
 
Annual plantings, hanging baskets and planters have been cancelled until further notice.
Leaf and yard waste collection has been reinstated beginning the week of April 21 or April 28, as originally scheduled. It will be collected every second week, in accordance with garbage pickup. Due to volume, collection may be slower than usual - residents are asked to leave leaf and yard waste out into the next day to accommodate.
 
Double-Up Days are scheduled for the weeks of June 16 or June 23, on your regular garbage collection week. Place up to six items of garbage, no tags required. The City asks that large or bulky items, such as furniture, be held and not placed outside for pickup to help collectors manage the additional garbage volumes during this time.
 
Residents are asked to ensure recycling ends up, and stays, in the blue box. This can be achieved by leaving space (three inches) at the top of the blue box to not overfill it, obtaining another bin to match the amount of material and placing heavier items on top of lighter ones.

To protect waste collectors in Vaughan during the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are reminded to place all personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, and personal hygiene and sanitary products - including wipes and tissues - in the garbage. Do not place these items in the blue box - recycling will not be collected if the box contains any of these items.
Littering and illegal dumping are prohibited and may be subject to a $205 fine. Instances of illegal dumping or littering can be reported to Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281. By-law enforcement officers are proactively patrolling the City for violations of illegal dumping, including inspecting all commercial plazas. Private property conditions are governed by the City's Debris By-law and Property Standards By-law. Those who do not keep their properties clear of litter, waste and debris may be subject to a fine of $5,000 for each offence. As well, the City may have the waste and debris removed at the owner's expense, and it may be subject to an Order to Comply, under the Building Code Act. Failing to comply with an order is a chargeable offence.
By-law officers continue to operate, patrol and respond to calls on a priority basis. The City's recently adopted Emergency Measures By-law - which provides authority to further enforce social and physical distancing measures, in addition to other orders during this state of emergency such as limiting access to public property - is also being actively enforced. Failure to comply with the new by-law is an offence and subject to fines ranging from $500 to $100,000.

A grace period of 90 days has been established for business licence renewals. New businesses are still required to be licensed, and applications may be submitted by email. Event, filming and lottery permits will not be issued at this time.

If an administrative monetary penalty, such as a parking ticket, is received, it can be paid online at  PayVaughanTicket.com . To arrange an alternative method of payment or schedule a dispute appointment, call Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281 within 15 days of receiving it. Scheduled disputes are being conducted over the phone until further notice.

Vaughan Animal Services continues to operate and serve Vaughan, Richmond Hill and King Township communities. Limited access into the Vaughan Animal Shelter is permitted for adoption and pet recovery services, by appointment only. Book your appointment by calling 905-832-2281 or emailing animal.services@vaughan.ca .

By-law officers continue to operate, patrol and respond to calls on a priority basis. Please check vaughan.ca/bylaw for specific updates.
The City of Vaughan continues to work closely with all levels of government to monitor the situation and to ensure people remain safe. As a result, the decision has been made to extend the closure of all City facilities to the public until further notice to help break the chain of transmission.

What’s Closed?  
The following City facility closures and program cancellations are currently in effect:
 
  • Vaughan City Hall
  • Joint Operations Centre
  • All community centre and library branches
  • All community centre permits/rentals, recreational and library programming, swimming pools, arenas and fitness facilities
  • All facilities in parks
  • All Council committees and task force meetings (except for Council and Committee of the Whole)
  • Vaughan Animal Shelter - For adoption information or other animal inquiries, contact Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281
  • City Playhouse Theatre
  • Tours at Fire Stations
  • All City run events until June 30
All facilities within City parks are now closed to the public and should not be used. This includes playgrounds, sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, dog parks and any other facilities within City parks. Signage is being installed to reinforce the closures.  Any violations of the park facility closures can be reported to Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281. Calls of this nature will be referred to the City's By-law and Compliance, Licensing and Permit Services department for investigation. Fines in the amount of $150 to $400 may be laid.
All City-led events from April to June have been cancelled or postponed, including the City's Volunteer Recognition Awards and the Mayor's Gala. Vaughan City Hall tours Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service fire station tours are also cancelled until further notice.
 
The annual Canada Day event will be virtual this year, allowing Vaughan residents to mark this popular and much-anticipated event safely from the comfort of their homes. More information will be posted on our website shortly.
The Economic and Cultural Development department continues to offer front-line services. These have been expanded to include guidance on adapting online business models, consulting on provincial and federal grants, connecting businesses able to supply personal protective equipment with organizations in need and encouraging remote shopping with #ShopVaughanLocal.  

On March 17, the City launched the Vaughan Business Action Plan - which includes a series of temporary measures to support businesses, consumers and all citizens. These include:
  1. Support the restocking of store shelves - by suspending noise by-laws and weight restrictions on roads to assist with ensuring stores have items people need.
  2. Enhance the movement of goods - by suspending by-laws restricting the loading and unloading of commercial vehicles, transport trucks, and other vehicles between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. This will allow for 24-hour delivery.
  3. Improve business ground-transportation - by suspending the weight and size of vehicles that can travel on certain roads throughout Vaughan. To ensure the sufficient safe supply of goods to stores.
  4. Suspend the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) - to support the travel and tourism industry by not requiring accommodation providers to charge the MAT at Vaughan properties.
  5. Maintain small business services - by ensuring, where possible, Small Business and Entrepreneurship frontline services are continued (either online or by phone).
  6. A grace period of 90 days was recently established for business licence renewals. New businesses are still required to be licensed. 
  7. The City is waiving the late penalty charge on interim property tax bills. These new measures also apply to non-residential properties.
  8. The City is waiving the planned 2020 water and wastewater rate increases and deferring the annual stormwater charge for 60 days.
York Region is making improvements to Major Mackenzie Drive West from Bathurst Street to west of Dufferin Street. Construction began in mid-April and is expected to be complete July 2020. This work may be rescheduled due to weather conditions or delays related to COVID-19 and Public Health guidelines. York Region will provide advance notice whenever possible.

Road improvements include:
  • Removal of current top asphalt
  • Laying new asphalt
  • Installation of pedestrian AODA features such as push buttons, upgraded walkways, curb depressions and tactile plates

Major Mackenzie Drive West will remain open to traffic throughout construction, and access to residences and businesses will be maintained. However, to accommodate construction, lane reductions may occur Monday to Sunday between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
For more information, please visit the York Region website information page .
To upgrade the infrastructure in the Concord area, in mid-April 2020 the City of Vaughan began watermain replacement, new sidewalk
construction and road rehabilitation to the streets listed below:
  • Costa Road
  • Creditstone Road
  • Doughton Rd. (Creditstone Rd. to Costa Rd.)
  • Doughton Rd. (Maplecrete Rd. to Creditstone Rd.)
  • Freshway Drive
  • Killaloe Road
  • Peelar Road

For more information and complete construction information, view the notice .
With more people staying home and practicing physical distancing, it is important not to forget about our wildlife neighbours. With understanding and some simple precautions, residents can learn to safely coexist with the wild animals who share our backyards. Some tips include:
Be wildlife aware: Know your wildlife neighbours and keep a safe and respectful distance from wild animals.
Do not invite unwanted house guests: Keep your home properly sealed to exclude wildlife. Remove things that may attract them by securing garbage/compost containers, picking up dog feces and cleaning outdoor grills.
Be a responsible pet owner: Free-roaming pets are vulnerable to a multitude of dangers. Always keep dogs on a leash when outdoors and keep cats indoors or in a secure outdoor enclosure.
Do not feed wildlife: Directly or unintentionally feeding a wild animal will increase its tolerance to people and pets.

What to do if a coyote or fox approaches you:
  • Stop: Pick up children and small pets, if necessary.
  • Stand still: Never run from a coyote, fox or domestic dog.
  • Make yourself big: Wave your hands above your head.
  • Be loud and assertive: Shout, stomp your feet and clap your hands.
  • Use a noisemaker: It could be your voice, a party horn, banging pots and pans, etc.
  • Slowly back away: Be assertive as you leave, so the animal knows it is not welcome.

Please note it is not legal to move coyotes or other wildlife more than 1 km, as per provincial regulations. Not only is relocation not legal, but it would result in open territory for additional wildlife to move into. It is preferable to teach the existing animals to back off a little, which is what the City endeavors to do with hazing techniques. For more information or to report a wildlife incident please contact Access Vaughan at 905-832-2281. F or more information, please visit here .
Operating the City of Vaughan’s streetlight network represents approximately 20% of the City’s overall energy consumption. In keeping with the 2018-2022 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan for Environmental Stewardship and Operational Performance, the City will be taking steps to reduce energy use and costs by changing approximately 20,000 streetlights from the current high pressure sodium to light-emitting diode (LED) technology through the City-wide LED Streetlight Retrofit Program. 

The program was launched in October 2019 with anticipated completion by December 2020. Many Ward 4 blocks began installation in phase 1, which is substantially complete, and occurred through to April 2020. Most remaining Ward 4 blocks area transitioning installation into May and June. The interactive  Installation Schedule  map shows approximate installation dates as well as completed LED installation. Check the map to see when the streetlight retrofit is scheduled for your community. Learn more here .
Spring clean-up began in April this year, as per the weather. The City of Vaughan uses contractors for our Spring and Summer Maintenance Program. This year, due to COVID-19, some spring maintenance programs are delayed or on hold. Here is a summary of the programs:

Boulevard Maintenance - ON TIME
The start of this program begins with boulevards litter being picked up prior to the cutting rotation and continues every 2 weeks. There are 14 rotations scheduled throughout this season and the summer months may have longer rotations due to the slow growth of grass during drought conditions. The City of Vaughan is working with York Region to try to have Regional road boulevards on a similar rotation to City roads.

Storm Water Management Ponds - ON TIME
These areas are cut twice yearly for access purposes - a 10 foot mow strip, which is rough cut only in May/June and September. These ponds are not string trimmed along fence lines or manicured as they serve a purpose in maintaining storm water and require a natural habitat.

Street Sweeping - ON TIME
The City’s street-sweeping program began in late March due to good weather. The initial city-wide sweep takes approximately 6-8 weeks to complete, depending on the weather. After this initial spring cleaning, street sweeping will continue throughout the summer and into the fall on 20-24 day rotation.

Boulevard Tree Maintenance - DELAYED
The City of Vaughan uses a block pruning rotation to prune trees on entire streets. This includes but is not limited to: removing low hanging limbs, suckers, deadwood, and limbs growing towards houses of all trees on a street. The Block Pruning rotation allows staff to consistently and efficiently maintain safe clearances above roads (approximately 4.5 meters) and sidewalks (approximately 2.5 meters). Street pruning is contracted out to private tree companies.

Currently, regular tree inspections will continue but only hazardous maintenance will be performed on a priority basis. Regular tree maintenance will be suspended until further notice, with stumping and pruning expected to start July 1 and planting deferred until September.

Parks and Splashpads - CLOSED
Although walking trails remain open, all park amenities and splash pads remain closed until further notice.

Horticultural Plantings and Baskets - DELAYED
Shrub beds and planting bed maintenance are operating at reduced service levels. All annual plantings, planters and hanging baskets are suspended until further notice.

For more information about Vaughan's Spring and Summer Maintenance Program...
The Spring Maintenance Program is created by Vaughan's  Transportation Services, Parks and Forestry Operations  department. Click  here  for more information about the department.
All City-led events scheduled until June 30, 2020 have been postponed The following events are no longer taking place or are postponed: 

Concerts in the Park
Launch Event - VMC
Wednesday, June 17

Canada Day Celebration
Wednesday, July 1
Now a Virtual Event
More Information to Come

Volunteer Recognition
Awards Ceremony
Postponed to
Wednesday, November 25

Please check the  Events  page for the latest updates about non-City led event cancellations.
Landscaping, lawn-care, fence and pool companies can continue to provide services related to safety, security, sanitation or essential maintenance purposes only. Businesses require a valid City of Vaughan Business Licence to operate and must comply with safe physical distancing measures set out by York Region Public Health.
The City's spring recreation programs and all permits have been cancelled. These include spring swim lessons, outdoor sports leagues, indoor facility permits, outdoor field permits and City Playhouse Theatre programs. Refunds will be issued automatically to all registered participants and permit holders without penalty.
As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately, the City has waived the late penalty charge on interim tax bills. Payments for the March 26, April 27 and May 27 due dates will not be subject to any late payment fee or interest until June 1.

The City offers its  Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance  (PDF) program for 2020 – which is a tax credit in the amount of $377 provided by the City to elderly homeowners who qualify. The deadline for the Elderly Home-Owners Tax Assistance 2020 program has been extended to May 15. The City also continues to operate its  Seniors, Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Disabled Persons Property Tax Deferral program  (PDF). The deadline for this program remains September 30.
The Vaughan Fitness team has recorded 31 fitness challenges for you to complete during the month of May. One challenge per day will be posted on @recvaughan IGTV. Complete as many of our 31 fitness challenges as you can! Do it for FUN or do it to WIN a 1-month Vaughan Fitness membership! (Must be 18 years+). Contest rules and entry guidelines here .
Calling all of Vaughan’s young artists, performers, sneaker heads and other-enthusiasts. Even though we’re physically apart, we’re celebrating YOU(th)… virtually! We’ve organized a week of FUN interactive challenges. Erupt an epic volcano! Dance like Michael Jackson! Complete any/all of the challenges and don’t forget to share with your friends – including us!

Tag @recvaughan on Instagram if you want the recognition you so know you deserve! 
Recreation Services has launched a new webpage featuring virtual recreation resources to help City of Vaughan residents manage their physical and mental health while social and physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our team of recreationists are developing virtual resources for all ages, abilities and areas of interest. Look forward to “living room” and “backyard” IGTV workouts with Vaughan Fitness instructors. Learn first aid basics from lifeguards. Sing songs with Vaughan Playschool instructors. Practice your acting, dancing and singing skills with the theatre crew. Colour, craft, cook. Do something you like…or try something new!
All programming from Vaughan Public Libraries (VPL) is cancelled until further notice. While public libraries remain closed, citizens are asked to refrain from returning items to their local library branch. No fines will be incurred for late returns. Temporary library cards are now available and can be obtained by filling in an online form. Click here for more information.

VPL has launched a new online service to support its customers remotely. Ask Us is a virtual service supported by more than 20 VPL staff who are able to help with customer inquiries and offer reading and viewing suggestions by phone, email and social media.There are three ways to Ask Us:
  • By phone at 905-653-READ (7323)
  • On Twitter, Facebook Messenger or Instagram
  • By email through an online form 

Citizens are encouraged to explore VPL's  digital service offerings , including eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies and more. Online programming is being offered through Instagram and Facebook . Activities include live-streamed story times, online book clubs and activity videos for kids.

Lynda.com  gives users free access to thousands of video tutorial courses with a focus on such areas as technology, software development, business skills, project management as well as creative skills like animation and video editing. The courses are taught by recognized industry experts who will guide you along in learning the skills for personal and professional development. Also available is Transparent Language – a fun and engaging way to learn a new language. The app aims to lock words and phrases into your memory so you can recall them perfectly.

French offerings are available through  Cantook Station , customers have access to the nearly 7,000 eBooks in this collection and 39 audiobooks. VPL customers can check out up to seven eBooks at a time and have up to three on hold.
Council voted to defer the annual stormwater charge for 60 days and to cancel the planned 2020 water and wastewater rate increases. Deferring the 2020 Stormwater Charge billing for 60 days will have minimal impact on the stormwater program. 

The Council-approved recommendations also call on York Region to cancel or defer the 2020 planned regional 9% combined wholesale water and wastewater increases. Regional costs for water and wastewater treatment account for approximately 75% of the City’s annual costs for water and wastewater services. 
Y ork Region Public Health is encouraging citizens to do the following:
  • Be familiar with and follow travel advice before and after you return from international travel
  • Practice social distancing, which means:
  • Work from home where possible
  • Maintain at least two metres (six feet) of space between you and others (outside of your immediate family)
  • Avoid non-essential trips in the community
  • Limit, postpone or cancel gatherings
  • Keep kids away from group settings
  • Avoid visits to long-term care homes and other care settings (unless you are essential)

Practice good infection prevention and control, including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces, such as toilets, faucet handles, doorknobs, countertops, etc., using regular household cleaners
  • Avoid sharing toothbrushes, cutlery, drinks/water bottles and towels
 
Those who feel unwell and believe they have symptoms related to COVID-19 should contact York Region Public Health or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.  For additional information on COVID-19, visit York Region's website.
This week, the Ontario government released A Framework for Reopening our Province , which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures. The framework outlines the guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure the appropriate measures are in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will monitor each stage for 2 to 4 weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

Stage 1 : For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.

Stage 2 : Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.

Stage 3 : Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

Learn more here .
There is a better, safer way for pedestrians and cyclists to cross over Highway 400 on Highway 7 in the city of Vaughan. With signalized crossings at either side of the bridge, this new multi-use path will improve traffic flow and offer an effective, convenient solution for people to make connections to and from the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and throughout Vaughan and York Region. This multi-use path has been integrated into the Vaughan and York Region network of bike lanes and connects with bike lanes built as part of the vivaNext rapidway construction projects both east and west of Highway 400. For more information on YRRTC transit projects, visit  vivanext.com.
Metrolinx is bringing customers an improved and remodelled Rutherford GO Station with a six-storey parking structure, a new station building and customer amenities.

The temporary road detour remains in place south of Rutherford Rd between Barhill Road/Westburne Drive and Peter Rupert Avenue until the project is complete in 2022. To learn more, please visit here.
For more construction updates, visit here .
Have your say and provide the City of Vaughan with valuable citizen input that helps contribute to changes and improvements to City services and amenities.

Please take a few moments to complete some of the surveys currently being collected.


The City of Vaughan has launched an online corporate art gallery for the community to explore virtually. Featuring works of art from local-, regional- and GTA-based artists, the Art Integration Collection can be viewed on Flickr. View the full PSA here .
The Way We Were: Archives Collection of the Month
In 1896, a new mode of transportation, the Metropolitan Radial Railway  (bus-like cabins on rails) reached Thornhill, and brought commuters to and from Toronto. Before this railway, the only public transit to the city was a three-hour ride by stagecoach. The electric street railway was a significant improvement in both speed and convenience. For the first time, it was possible to live in Thornhill and work in Toronto. By the late 1920s, the automobile became a popular source of transportation for many people, further facilitating travel along Yonge Street.

To find out more about the City of Vaughan Archives, visit  Vaughan.ca/archives.
Upcoming Council and Committee Meetings

Electronic-participation Committee of the Whole and Council meetings continue. While Vaughan City Hall remains closed to the public, citizens are still encouraged to participate virtually.

May 12
Committee of the Whole (Working Session)
10:00 a.m.

May 20
Committee of the Whole (2)
2:00 p.m.

Committee of the Whole (Public Hearing)
7:00 p.m.

May 26
Committee of the Whole (Closed Session)
5:00 p.m.

Committee of the Whole (Public Hearing)
7:00 p.m.

May 27
Council
2:00 p.m.

Full meeting information  here
 Live broadcast  available.
Ward 4 Councillor's Office
Contact My Office:
Sandra Yeung Racco
905-832-8585 ext. 8342
Executive Assistant:
Cindy Furfaro-Benning
905-832-8585 ext. 8198