Other 2017 highlights include approval of Richmond Hill’s first Community Garden Policy to guide the development of collective and allotment gardens on public lands; completion of the detailed design for the Elgin Mills Greenway restoration project; the start of restoration work in Beaver Woodland; as well as many annual public education and community stewardship initiatives.
1. 360kids Experience at Toronto Montessori School
It was a real pleasure to be invited to attend the “360 Experience” event that Richmond Hill’s Toronto Montessori School hosted for their grade 6 students. The students spent a night at the school participating in discussions and exercises that represented some of the challenges that homelessness can bring to youth in our community. Thanks to 360kids, York Regional Police, and the teachers at TMS for bringing learning to life for these students. The students raised awareness and money for 360kids and in doing so made their corner of the world a little better. Thanks to everyone involved!
2. Kung Hei Fat Choi
Kung Hei Fat Choi to all my friends who celebrated Chinese New Year – 2018 The Year of the Dog. I wish everyone a year of prosperity and happiness! This photo was taken at the Richmond Hill Board of Trade event, one of the many celebrations that took place in our community to mark the Year of the Dog.
3. Sri Lanka’s 70th Anniversary of Independence Flag Raising
On February 16, Councillors were invited to raise the flag in honour of Sri Lanka’s 70th Anniversary of independence. It was a pleasure to be joined by representatives of the Sri Lankan Consulate and council colleagues to mark this occasion.
4. Hearts and Hands for Africa Sock Hop
On Saturday, February 24 the Richmond Hill United Church hosted a Sock Hop to benefit the Stephen Lewis Foundation through the church’s Hands and Hearts for Africa group. Thanks to all the folks that host this event each year and also to the Richmond Hill United Church drum band and Little Peter and the Elegants for the great entertainment. This event raised money and awareness of the plight of families in many African countries that have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic.
5. Making Richmond Hill Greener
Council received a progress update on the implementation of Richmond Hill’s Environment Strategy, Greening the Hill: Our Community, Our Future, which outlines the Town’s vision to become a more sustainable community. Last year (2017) marked the third year of the plan’s implementation, which included energy efficiency projects such as upgrades to the refrigeration plant at Elgin Barrow Arena and LED lighting retrofits at The Wave Pool and Richmond Green Sports Centre. In 2017, Richmond Hill also converted most of its outdoor lighting network to LED technology. Together, these projects represent significant reductions in annual energy consumption, costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Implementation of the Environment Strategy will continue in 2018. Notable projects include completion of the LED conversion project for the Town’s outdoor lighting network; a proposal to advance climate change initiatives that includes the Community Energy and Emissions Plan; construction of the second phase of Richmond Hill’s portion of the Lake-to-Lake route; an update to the Sustainability Metrics for new development projects; construction to restore the Elgin Mills Greenway; development of new community gardens; and initiation of new pilot projects for energy conservation and waste diversion.
6. Grants For Office Development & Downtown Revitalization
Council approved the Richmond Hill Office Development and Downtown Local Centre Community Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP encourages new office development and re-development by providing grants to businesses and property owners located in the defined improvement area. The three grant programs include the Tax Increment Equivalent Grant, the Building Renovation Grant and the Façade Improvement, Landscape and Signage Grant.
The Tax Increment Equivalent Grant supports the development of new office space that is 1,600 square meters or greater within the Town’s Centres and Corridors as well as the Newkirk and East Beaver Creek Business Parks through the return of portions of property taxes over a 10-year period.
The Building Renovation Grant program will provide grants of up to $50,000 for building renovations resulting in the creation of new office space within the downtown area, Oak Ridges Local Centres and the Newkirk and Beaver Creek Business Parks.
The Façade Improvement, Landscape and Signage Grant program will provide grants ranging in value from $2,500 to $32,500 for projects that are related to the revitalization of the Downtown Local Centre. Ensuring the availability of a range of office space to businesses will provide more opportunities for local employment that supports intensification and a live/work balance in Richmond Hill. It will also allow businesses to better tap into the highly educated workforce living in our town. The Town will begin accepting applications in summer 2018. For more information, visit RichmondHill.ca/CIP
7. Strides for Stroke Kick-off at Mackenzie Health
On May 5th I will again be running in the Strides for Stroke 5K run/walk in support of the Regional Stroke program at Mackenzie Health Richmond Hill Hospital. This year I have joined the organizing committee and am captaining a team. I would like to invite you to join my team, the “Town of Richmond Hill Runners and Walkers”. It is a fun event and it was recently kicked off at the Hospital by Wendall Clark (in the Blue jacket and the hospital CEO Altaf Stationwala in the “red” hockey jersey). To join my team please visit https://mhf.akaraisin.com/strides2018/richmondhill.
8. Yellow Brick House Gala
On March 4, Yellow Brick House celebrated 40 years of supporting women and children impacted by domestic violence. The evening was a chance to acknowledge the great work they have been doing in our community during these past four decades. Guests had the opportunity to hear about the range of programs that Yellow Brick House delivers all toward the goal of preventing domestic violence. These programs include a school based initiative that includes speaking to girls, and especially boys, about healthy relationships. Over the past 10 years it has been my pleasure to support this organization. Thanks to Lorris Herenda, and all the staff at YBH for the work they do each and every day.
9. Richmond Hill Board of Trade Business Achievement Awards
Congratulations to this year’s Richmond Hill Board of Trade Business Achievement Award winners. Each year the Board of Trade celebrates business excellence in Richmond Hill by recognizing a number of great businesses in various categories. As a past award winner and past chair of the Board (of the Chamber of Commerce) I know what a great honour this award represents.
I wish to congratulate those that won and those that were nominated for this prestigious award.
And the winners were:
Crystallize It Inc.
York Montessori School
Community Living York South
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Toronto – Markham
Assante Capital Management Ltd.
BrokerTeam Insurance Solutions
10. Generous donation of books to 360kids
Pi Beta Phi member, and Ward 4 resident, Marilyn Clark recently invited me to an event where their organization generously donated a large quantity of books to 360 kids. Pi Beta Phi believes in the power of reading and the importance of reading for young people. Thank you to Pi Beta Phi for this generous donation. It is well known that readers become leaders, and reading is the foundation of all that we can achieve in life.