From the Desk of Mayor David West
September E-Newsletter 2023
The last long weekend of summer is upon us and although summer holidays are ending, the list of things to do and activities to join in Richmond Hill is as plentiful as ever. This weekend, Richmond Hill is the host city for Uptown Asian Festival which promises to be a fantastic celebration. Moonlight Movies continue in September with two more films to be shared. The Heritage Summit September 10 is another RH150 celebration planned for our community. These are just a few of the upcoming events, read on for more!
Also in this newsletter, my response to the recent Provincial government announcement of the Building Faster Fund, important fire safety information, and a reminder to submit your photo of what you love about Richmond Hill by October 1 to the I Love Richmond Hill Photo Exhibition.
Autumn in Richmond Hill promises to be as vibrant and engaging as ever and I look forward to seeing you.
Please share this e-newsletter with anyone you know who would like to receive this mailing and encourage them to sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter in their inbox.
Thanks for reading!
Mayor David West
City of Richmond Hill
Mayor West's Photo Exhibition Contest
Share what it is that you love about Richmond Hill.
The Mayor’s I Love Richmond Hill Photo Exhibition Contest is open!
Submit your entry today and share what it is that YOU love about Richmond Hill.
Pick up your phone or a camera and capture your favourite places, spaces, activities, and moments in Richmond Hill in one special image. Visit I Love Richmond Hill for all the details and to participate.
Deadline for entries is October 1, 2023
What's On in Richmond Hill
The City’s Community Garden Program aims to provide a space for community members and groups to work together and create beautiful gardens as a source of local food, educational resources and physical activity. The program also promotes a connection to nature and most importantly a sense of community and belonging.
To date, Richmond Hill supports 1 allotment garden run by the City, 6 collective gardens run by community groups/non-profit organizations and 4 gardens in partnership with the Richmond Hill Garden and Horticultural Society.
Interested in community gardening? Join an existing garden or start a new one! All you need is a group of at least five people including a garden coordinator or to be part of an organization. The City will work with prospective groups to create a garden to suit their needs, which can range from smaller pollinator patches to larger vegetable gardens.
Check this out for more information on how to get involved or start a new collective garden. The deadline for 2024 Collective Garden applications is September 30th, 2023.
September Heritage Dates
Each month we acknowledge dates of importance to create awareness, give recognition, and promote education about our cultural and historical heritage.
On September 21 we will raise the Armenian flag at City Hall in recognition of Armenian Independence Day.
The Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Cake Festival occurs on September 29 and is celebrated widely across the East and Southeast Asian community. It takes place when the moon is considered to be the biggest and brightest of the year.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on September 30, commemorating and honouring the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. It coincides with Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous grassroots project that encourages honest conversations about the tragic history of residential schools, and also honours the children who survived while remembering those who did not.
On September 27th at 9:00 a.m. the City of Richmond Hill will raise the Every Child Matters flag in support of truth and reconciliation. I look forward to participating in Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th on the grounds of Central Library as the City of Richmond Hill joins Indigenous led, not for profit Odeiwin.
Let’s continue to SHOW our diversity, our equity, and
our inclusive attitudes through actions.
AMO Conference in London Ontario with York Region Chairman Wayne Emmerson and Chief of Staff Lina Bigioni
In August I attended the Annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in London where I attended meetings and sessions of relevance to Richmond Hill. I was reminded again that a healthy democracy includes all voices, and there is a need to engage youth in municipal affairs. Topics of the utmost importance that we discussed included Affordable Housing, the Greenbelt and environmental issues including climate change and Indigenous water ways. Municipal infrastructure, specifically planning, and financing was top of mind.
In response to the Building Faster Fund Announcement at AMO the Provincial government made at the AMO conference, let me be clear – I continue to be in complete support of building more housing that is more affordable for more people in Richmond Hill. Back in March 2023, Richmond Hill Council committed to the housing pledge of 27,000 units and together with City staff, we are actively working towards meeting this goal, through initiatives like the Housing Affordability Task Force and efforts to streamline the building process internally.
However, growth needs to pay for growth. That’s the principle behind collecting development charges; to provide the necessary funds for growth infrastructure such as roads, sewers, parks, community centre, and more.
Since Bill 23 was announced, I have taken an active role on this topic, meeting directly with Minister Clark, then Associate Minister Parsa, and Ontario Big City Mayors, expressing that Richmond Hill will not be able to fund growth infrastructure without a provincial funding supplement making up for the potential development charge losses due to province’s Bill 23. We were assured by Premier Ford, that municipalities would be “made whole”. With the Premier’s Build Faster Fund announced on Monday, we learned that only municipalities that meet 80% of their annual growth targets would qualify for this potential grant.
A grant program that rewards only municipalities that achieve their housing targets is not a solution to addressing the funding gaps created by Bill 23. Who will pay for the roads, sewers, parks and more, if development charges are not collected and the province doesn’t fund this gap? It is not acceptable for property taxpayers to fund this growth.
The City of Richmond Hill does not control how many housing units gets built in our city because:
1. Municipalities don’t build the houses, developers do.
2. Municipalities don’t control market forces like interest rates, the Bank of Canada does.
3. Municipalities don’t control labour shortages and supply, industry do.
So much of what is needed to build more homes faster, is out of a municipality’s control, yet with Bill 23 and this most recent announcement, municipalities are being held responsible for the shortfalls.
After attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference this past week, it is even more clear to me, that Mayors across Ontario including myself are committed to doing their part in meeting housing targets. However, any reduction in Richmond Hill’s ability to pay for growth in a predictable and consistent way to meet the needs and expectations of our community must be addressed beyond a grant program.
Watch Council Meetings Live or Watch the Recording
We continue to offer the opportunity for residents to attend Council meetings in person, to watch live, or to watch a recording.
News from Our Neighbours
TRCA – PAIE Program
PAIE is a part time, 9-month Ontario bridge training program designed to connect employers with highly skilled environmental professionals who bring international experience and credentials in:
- Engineering & Geoscience
- Ecology & Related Disciplines
- Planning and Related Disciplines
Participants will gain an increased understanding of and exposure to the environmental industry and experts in the field, with the goal of finding employment in a highly specialized and competitive sector.
For eligibility criteria and application information visit TRCA PAIE Training website.
Be ‘Saved by the Beep!’ this September!
Thursday Sept. 28, 2023 has been proclaimed “Test Your Smoke Alarm Day” in recognition of Ontario’s first ever day of action!
Last year there were 133 fire fatalities in the province – the most in 20 years. As part of Test Your Smoke Alarm Day, all Ontarians are encouraged to learn more about smoke alarms and fire safety which can save the lives of you and your loved ones.
How can you participate?
- Test YOUR smoke alarms!
- Help spread the word by snapping a photo of you or family members testing your smoke alarms and post it to social media using the hashtag #SavedByTheBeep.
- You can also share FREE social media images & videos in 17 different languages savedbythebeep.ca.
- Tag your friends and family to spread the message…and
- remember to tag @RHFES for a chance to win a prize pack!
Uptown Asian Festival
This Labour Day weekend join the Uptown Asian Festival for a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival and Richmond Hill 150.
With many different cultural presentations, foods, entertainers, and activities, it promises to be a unifying celebration of diverse Pan-Asian culture and tradition.
Richmond Green Park
Heritage Summit – RH150
Sunday September 10 come celebrate 150 years of history with the Richmond Hill Historical Society and the City of Richmond Hill.
Together we can appreciate thebreadth and value of the heritage we have inherited from the past and that we will leave for future generations.
Richmond Hill is seeking submissions from artists of all disciplines wishing to be considered for the Artist in Residence program.
The program was developed to provide artists with the opportunity to develop a new piece of work to animate outdoor public spaces. The goal of the art work is also to engage the community through the creation of a temporary installation(s) or creative experience.
Application deadline: September 13, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. (Note: this is not a live-in residency.)
Are you a resident who would like to organize a community initiative or project? Do you want to improve your community safety and well-being?
Consider applying for the Resident-led Quick Action Grant initiativesthrough the Richmond Hill South Central Community Action Table, with Family Services York Region.
Quick Action Grants of up to $2,000 will support projects led and delivered by residents that address the community priorities of Mental Well-being & Wellness and/or Housing Stability.
These are short-term projects that should be delivered by the end of February, 2024
Application Deadline September 15th 2023 4:00 p.m.
AlectraCARES Community Support Program
The AlectraCARES Community Support Program offers funding to a limited number of charitable, non-profit, and not-for-profit organizations in our service territory. The 2024 areas of focus are:
mental health, food security, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, access to health care, youth & child welfare, climate action, innovation & education, and homelessness prevention.
If you’re involved with, or know of a deserving charity, non-profit or not-for profit organization that serves communities in Alectra’s service territory, please share the application link.
The 2024 application will be closing on September 13, 2023.
Questions? Please contact: email@example.com
The Book Event of the season is back!
- Friday, Sept. 15th – 1 to 8
- Saturday, Sept. 16th – 10 to 4
- Do you like to read?
- Do you love books?
- Do you have kids who likebooks?
- Is there anyone that you may want to give a book to?
There are thousands and thousands of books and all genres for sale at the Richmond Hill United Church.
Cash, debit and credit accepted. Please bring your own bags. Refreshments will be available.
Proceeds are to assist the Richmond Hill United Church’s social justice programs.
Spoof and Scams
Seniors Guide to Fraud Prevention
Join us for a conversation with York Regional Police about Scams and Fraud. Have you received suspicious phone calls, emails, texts, letters, or door knocks? Who can we trust? York Regional Police will be sharing tips on how to keep ourselves safe from these creative criminals.
September 19 6:30 p.m.
Royal Canadian Legion, 233 Centre Street East, Richmond Hill
Presented by the David West Community Volunteers, a group of Richmond Hill residents who organized in November 2022, inspired by Mayor David West’s commitment to community. Their mission is to add value to Richmond Hill communities by encouraging and enabling volunteers to create and participate in local initiatives. Learn more here
Toy Donation Drive for Southlake POGO
Childhood Cancer Month.
Toy donations will brighten the days of children who are receiving treatment.
The need for toys is greater than ever since, due to COVID, toys cannot be shared and therefore they go home with the child. This means that there is always a need to replenish the toys.
Donations welcomed September 23
You’re invited to celebrate Fire Prevention Week at a free community Open House event with Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency staff along with Sparky the Fire Dog!
September 23, 2023 from 9 am to 4 pm
at Fire Station 8-1 located at 191 Major Mackenzie Dr. W
- child-friendly games and activities
- live demonstrations (including auto rescue demonstrations and a fire truck simulator)
- food trucks and more!
Richmond Hill August Events
Here are a few of the events I was privileged to participate in lately, on behalf of the City of Richmond Hill
Important Numbers and Information