Richmond Hill Council News

1.  Richmond Hill’s 2019 National Public Works Week Recognized with a National Award!
Mayor Barrow and Richmond Hill’s National Public Works Week (NPWW) Organizing Committee were presented with the Canadian Public Works Association’s (CPWA) highest award for this year’s NPWW program. Richmond Hill’s NPWW events were held in May and included the Public Works Open House and Healthy Yards event, the York Municipalities’ Public Works Challenge and elementary school tours of the Operations Centre. NPWW highlights the important role Public Works professionals play in everyday life and illustrates how they contribute to building vibrant, connected and sustainable communities. This is the fourth year that Richmond Hill has received the CPWA’s NPWW Award. For more information about NPWW in Richmond Hill, visit RichmondHill.ca/NPWW.
 
2. Richmond Hill Official Plan Update Underway
Council endorsed initiating a process to update the Official Plan. The update will establish long-term planning vision and goals for the City to the year 2041. The update will take into consideration land-use policies that have changed at the Provincial and Regional levels since the Official Plan’s adoption in 2010. This process is a foundational part of any future growth for our community so I would encourage all residents to participate in upcoming public consultations. 
 
3.  Richmond Hill Approves Changes to Council Meetings
Effective January 1, 2020, Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings will be eliminated and all matters normally considered by COW meetings will be placed directly on the Council agenda. Council meetings will continue to be normally scheduled for the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, beginning at 9:30 a.m. I continue to believe and advocate that Council meetings in the evening (like we used to have) or at least the late afternoon, would give members of the public a better opportunity to participate. 
 
4.  New Animal Services Provision begins December 1
Richmond Hill has entered into a service agreement partnership with the City of Vaughan for the provision of animal services, including by-law enforcement, domestic animal shelter and public education and outreach.
 
Beginning December 1, Richmond Hill residents will contact 905-832-2281 or [email protected] for animal services. The Richmond Hill website will be updated to reflect this change when the new service takes effect.
 
Richmond Hill and Vaughan issued a joint press release November 26th regarding the new arrangements.
 

5.  Regional portion of York Region Property Tax Bill to Increase by 2.96%

While the City of Richmond Hill works to approve our own City budget the Region of York is also deliberating their Regional Budget. It is important to remember that Richmond Hill collects taxes on behalf of the Region of York and the School Board, but only approximately 28% of the total taxes goes to the City while approximately 50% of the total tax bill goes to the Region. As such the rate set by the Region will always have a significant impact on the final tax amounts that are paid by Richmond Hill residents.
 
Details and highlights of the Region’s budget appeared in a recent article in the Liberal.  To view this article please click here.
 
6. Deloitte Completes Province funded efficiency Audit in Richmond Hill
At the Budget Committee of the Whole meeting on November 26th, the Committee received a report from Deloitte that identifies opportunities to reduce non-personnel spending. Staff will report to Budget Committee of the Whole about implementation of the recommendations in March 2020. The Province of Ontario funded this review through its Audit and Accountability Fund. The views expressed in the Deloitte report do not necessarily reflect those of the Province. The report can be viewed CLICK HERE
 
7. Council Considers Proposed Changes to the Noise Bylaw
Sound is a natural part of our surroundings and is part of a vibrant community; however, when sounds are unwanted or too loud they are considered to be noise. Municipalities have traditionally played an important role in the regulation of noise through the administration and enforcement of noise by-laws. Noise By-laws establish acceptable community standards for a vast array of different noise types and help to balance competing community interests and opinions about acceptable sound levels.  A staff report was recently received by Council that outlines progress and direction of our bylaw staff toward an update to the Richmond Hill Noise bylaw. I believe that this update is long overdue and I will welcome the final report and recommendations for this bylaw update in the New Year when it is presented to Council for adoption.  To view the staff report click here.  
 
8. The Fate of The Jefferson Schoolhouse
Great Cities and Towns all over the world contain many similar elements. One of these elements is the successful preservation of important heritage buildings. These historically significant landmarks create an anchor for new development and they create a differentiation from one city to another. These preserved and repurposed buildings then become one of the foundations of the unique culture of a place. 
 
Preserving and repurposing older buildings does require some creativity from the designers of new buildings in order to incorporate the old into the new, but in any great city there are many examples where this has been done successfully.
At the present time there is an application from the owner, to demolish the Historically Designated 151 year old Jefferson Schoolhouse at 11575 Yonge St. in Richmond Hill. The Heritage Richmond Hill Committee (HRH) (which is a citizen committee of Council) has recommended to Council that the demolition be denied. This HRH recommendation and the request for demolition will be considered by Council on January 22nd, 2020.
 
I am firmly opposed to this request for demolition and I hope that Council will follow the HRH and staff recommendation contained in the staff report to save this building. There is currently an approved plan (from 2012) in place to redevelop the property and retain and restore the historic schoolhouse so I have no doubt that incorporating this old building successfully in a new development is a viable and desirable possibility.
To view the staff report related to this issue please visit – CLICK HERE