Council News and Highlights

  1. Grand Opening in our Village Core

village

I had the pleasure of attending the Grand Opening of a new business in our Village Core, The Centre for Therapeutic Massage, at 10120 Yonge St. It is a great business with a great community focus. Thanks to Joanne and her team for inviting us, and thanks to Councillors Hogg and Muench for attending. Best wishes! 

  1. Earth Day Celebrations

Planting

During Earth Day this year Richmond Hill celebrated our planet by planting over 600 trees adjacent to the Oak Ridges Community Centre. A number of schools including ward four’s St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School participated in this effort. A fun time was had by all, as we had a chance to make our community a little more green than it was before! CTV news was also on hand and their report can be viewed here – https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=855142

  1. Food Raiser for 360 Kids

360

This is what 3000 lbs of food looks like! Donated for 360 kids by our caring community youth!

360_2Sonny, the organizer of this event on the right, and an army of youth volunteers. Photo taken after donating their food and before the soccer tournament began.

Councillor Liu and I recently hosted a charity soccer tournament at the Richmond Green Sports Building organized by Sonny who is a Richmond Hill resident and friend of 360Kids. The group raised 3000 lbs. of food for 360Kids all before having fun playing soccer. Thanks to all involved for making this happen!

  1. Character Community Awards

Character

In late April the Character Community Foundation hosted the Character Community Awards recognizing and honouring citizens of character from across York Region. For the complete story please click here to read the Liberal Newspaper account of the evening. From a Ward 4 perspective I would like to highlight that Sandgate Women’s Shelter was honoured through their leader, Jehan Chaudhry who won in the Change the World Category. Also, Alexander Mackenzie High School received two nominations. One nomination in the School of Character category for their Resiliency Project, and one through their principal, Debra Conrad Knight in the Educator of Character Award. Norval-Morrisseau Secondary School was also nominated in the School of Character – Alternative Educational Institution category. Richmond Hill Citizens were well represented and nominated in a number of other categories. Congratulations to all! 

  1. Several Ontario Municipalities endorse Richmond Hill’s OMB Reform Motion

I am pleased that Richmond Hill’s Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) reform motion that I brought to Council several months ago has been endorsed by a number of other Municipalities in Ontario. Click here for an interesting article from the Municipality of Kawartha Lakes that describes their own problems with the OMB, and talks about their municipality’s endorsement of motions from Aurora and Richmond Hill. I find it particularly interesting that Kawartha Lakes recognized the particular problem with the current OMB rules, outlined in Richmond Hill’s motion, of allowing developers to appeal their application to the OMB after 180 days if a decision by council has not been made. Richmond Hill has encountered the same situation on a number of occasions (including the application by Laurier Homes on Arnold Cres.). Under the current rules, instead of encouraging developers to stay at the negotiating table with the community and the municipality, the developer can simply appeal to the OMB after 180 days if the negotiations are not going in what they perceive as a favourable direction. This takes away any incentive to achieve a negotiated compromise with the municipality and the community, without going to the OMB.

  1. Downtown Revitalization

The Business Improvement Association (BIA), Richmond Hill staff, and myself, continue to work toward the goal of a revitalized historic Downtown Village Core. This has proven to be a long process but we are seeing some success. Lately we had a number of excellent businesses locate in, and invest in,  the Village Core. I will be hosting a meeting in the coming weeks with our staff, commercial land owners, business owners and the BIA to discuss the proposed Downtown Secondary Plan and to solicit feedback from these parties on how the Plan, when passed, will help to spur new investment and help to drive more positive change in the Village Core. On a related note there was a recent article in the Liberal Newspaper related to this subject. To read this article click here. I would appreciate hearing your feedback on this issue. What is your favorite thing about our Village Core? What would you like to see change? Let me know at [email protected].

  1. Richmond Hill Wins Awards for Sustainability Metrics

Richmond Hill, in collaboration with the City of Brampton and the City of Vaughan, developed a set of sustainability metrics to ensure new development helps create healthier, sustainable communities through a project called “Measuring the Sustainability Performance of New Developments.” This project has been awarded the Excellence in Sustainability Award (Sustainable Policy, Law or Plan) by the American Planning Association (APA) and the Excellence in Planning Award (Research and New Directions) from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI).  These sustainability metrics were created as a performance tool to quantify the sustainability of new development projects consistently across the three municipalities. With more than 50 potential criteria listed, the sustainability metrics tool is used by applicants to calculate the score of each proposed application, ensuring it meets Richmond Hill’s sustainability standards. Each draft plan or site plan application must include sustainable elements in their plans, such as producing their own energy, conserving water, using environmentally-friendly materials in construction, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging use of sustainable transportation like public transit, and more. A number of other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have expressed an interest in using the sustainability metrics and the collaboration is continuing to work with the Clean Air Partnership in an effort to “regionalize” the use of sustainability metrics across the Greater Toronto Area. Over time, the sustainability metrics developed by this collaboration may become like LEED and other market-driven sustainability programs have become for green building leaders – a practical route to achieve a more sustainable built form, one planning application at a time.

  1. Richmond Hill Wins Awards for Top Notch Community Events

Three of Richmond Hill’s most popular events, Richmond Hill Canada Day Celebrations, Ribfest and Tastes of the Hill were selected as recipients of the Top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario designation from Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO). Richmond Hill’s 2015 Canada Day Celebrations is its largest, single-day festival, attracting close to 40,000 visitors. The fourth annual Richmond Hill Ribfest, held July 24 – 26 at Richmond Green Park, is one of the most-anticipated outdoor summer events in the community. Richmond Hill’s Tastes of the Hill has evolved from an indoor food festival into an outdoor multicultural festival celebrating Richmond Hill’s diverse, multicultural community while supporting worthy causes. In the past nine years, the festival raised a total of more than $440,000 which has been redirected to local charities. FEO is the leading professional organization for the festival and events industry, helping members to produce unique, quality festivals and events in all corners of the province through education, professional development and networking. Its membership includes festivals, events, suppliers, municipalities, schools, students, BIAs and more. Richmond Hill has previously been recognized by FEO in 2014 for Richmond Hill Ribfest and for the Canada Day texting competition in 2015.

  1. York Regional Police Memorial

  Police

A number of Council members attended the Police Memorial at #2 District Headquarters on Major Mackenzie near Yonge St. on an early morning earlier this month. The service was held at the Police Memorial in front of the building. It was a moving tribute to the police officers in York Region that have given their lives in the line of duty for us. This is a poem that was read at the ceremony – I think says it all.

The Monument

I never dreamed it would be me

My Name for all eternity

Recorded here at this hallowed place

Alas, my name, no more my face

“In the Line of Duty” I hear them say

My family now the price will pay

My folded flag stained with their tears

We only had those few short years

The badge no longer on my chest

I sleep now in eternal rest

My sword I pass to those behind

and pray they keep this thought in mind

I never dreamed it would be me

And with heavy heart and bended knee

I ask for all here from the past

Dear God, let my name be the last.

(I am sorry I do not know the author)

Thank you to all of our York Regional Police officers for keeping our community safe!

  1. Strides for Stroke in Support or Mackenzie Health Richmond Hill Hospital

strides

May 7th was a great morning for a community event in support of our Mackenzie Health Hospital with over $230,000 raised for Mackenzie Health’s Heart and Stroke program from this year’s run alone! By the way – the guy on the left in the above photo finished the race a long time before the guy on the right!

  1. Museum Update

I found this article interesting -( https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2016/04/25/rom-to-unearth-15-million-objects-for-new-virtual-collection.html ). We recently went through a process in Richmond Hill to determine what our museum needs will be in the future. One of the questions during this process was “what does a museum of the future look like”? I am not sure that this vision of a future museum necessarily includes only bricks and mortar buildings, and it seems that the Royal Ontario Museum has recognized this trend. Like the ROM, but not nearly as extensive, Richmond Hill has a collection of artifacts. Many of these items are not displayed at any given point in time. What do you think of a digital version of Richmond Hill’s artifacts being made available online for all to enjoy coupled with our two existing physical museum facilities? I would be interested to know your thoughts on this.  There was also a story related to this idea in the Liberal recently at the following link. https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/6523512-richmond-hill-seeks-ways-to-showcase-history-new-museum-or-artifacts-online-/

  1. Richmond Hill Public Library Art Contest

Library

Ali, with Board Chair, David Bishop and Library CEO, Louise Proctor Maio. Ali was but one of the winners in this contest.

For several years now I have had the honour of judging the photography part of the Richmond Hill Public Library Arts Contest. I am really proud that The Richmond Hill Public Library has organized this contest that showcases the photography, painting, poetry and short stories of our young people in grades 7-12. As always the winning entries were excellent, and I would like to sincerely congratulate the award recipients and all those that entered as well as their parents, for encouraging their children to participate and for supporting their kids’ artistic expression.

  1. Shaftsbury St. Theresa Of Lisieux Catholic High School Traffic Update

Earlier this month I arranged a final meeting between our traffic staff, and representatives from St. Theresa High School to discuss some options that will be brought to council to improve traffic flow, and most importantly, enhance pedestrian/student safety in the area around St Theresa of Lisieux High School during the morning drop off time and afternoon pick up period. As you know if you live in this area, the traffic in the morning is especially chaotic, and has been this way for quite some time. For the past while I have been working to find a solution to this problem with our staff and the school administration. I will provide a link to the council recommendations report in this newsletter when it is available. It is expected to come to council in June.

  1. Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Reform Summit

This weekend elected officials from across the province will be meeting to discuss issues around OMB reform. This summit has been spearheaded by Aurora, and a number of surrounding municipalities including Richmond Hill. Councillor Cilivetz and myself have served on the organizing committee and will represent Richmond Hill this weekend at the Summit. I expect a set of recommendations for reform of the OMB will come out of this effort that we can submit to the Ontario Government. Stay tuned!