April 2015 Council News

Council News and Hilights

1. Strides for Stroke for Mackenzie Health Hospital

For the 10th year in a row many residents and supporters of Mackenzie Health Hospital participated in Strides for Stroke. Over this period close to $1M has been raised to support our Hospital. This year I participated as well – it was a lot of fun and the culmination of a challenge that I gave myself – to complete this 5K race and finish in a respectable time.

2. Blue Dot Mill Pond Clean Up

Thanks to all volunteers for “Pitching In” and cleaning up our Town in April. In particular thanks to the newly formed Blue Dot Committee for cleaning up the Mill Pond Park (more on this subject below).


Some Blue Dot Volunteers – including a number of familiar faces

3. Elgin Mills Greenway Open

After a significant amount of bank and creek bed erosion during several storm events in the past few years, the Elgin Mills Greenway (between the Elgin West Community Centre and St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School, south of Shaftsbury Road) was closed due to resulting unsafe conditions. Staff has been able to reopen this section of trail after creating a detour and repairing a damaged pedestrian bridge. A longer term solution to fixing this valley land is currently being considered (see Elgin Mills Greenway PIC report below) but I am pleased that we have been able to safely open this busy section of trail again.

4. Elgin Mills Greenway Public Information Meeting (part of the Environmental Assessment Process)

As was stated above a more permanent repair is necessary to solve the erosion issue that has closed the pedestrian trail in this area. There is a likelihood that  more valley land erosion will occur while also filling two storm ponds with sediment. As a result, our staff has been tasked with researching solutions to this problem. Three different options for this repair were presented to the public during this meeting, along with associated costs. For those that were unable to attend the meeting we would still welcome your input. For more details about the potential plans and methods to provide feedback please contact Azadeh Rashvand, Water Resources Coordinator, Town of Richmond Hill, [email protected]


5. Harris Beech Resident Meeting and Council Public Meeting Report

Over the past month I hosted a Resident’s meeting and attended a Council Public Meeting to listen to resident comments regarding several development applications in the Harris Beech area. The meetings were well attended and a number of comments and concerns were referred to staff for consideration as the applicants move forward in this process. Of particular note, there was a good deal of opposition to the connection of a road between Wicker and Brass Drive and Beech Avenue.

6. Volunteer Achievement Awards and Volunteer Recognition Evening

It was with great pleasure that members of Council attended two events to celebrate our many volunteers that we are fortunate to have in Richmond Hill. It is amazing the work that individuals like those listed below (and many others) perform for our town. It was pointed out during the speeches that we enjoy the benefit in Richmond Hill of over 30,000 hours of volunteer service that make so many aspects of our community better and richer. Thanks to all who volunteer their time!


Volunteer Achievement Award Recipients

Anneli Leivo, Cathy Danton, Chuck McClelland, Haopeng Yang, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Toronto Centre, Sherry Caldwell, Louise Wilson, Arthur Zhou (Endbridge Youth Volunteer Achievement Award), Asad M. Malik (Naim Malik Volunteer Achievement Award for Intercultural Friendship.
Volunteer Recognition Evening Award Winners

Elfriede McDermid, James O’Reilly, Ashley Pranajaya, Shu’ayb Simmons, Kai Dingman, Daniel Tameer, Kenneth Wong, John Sguigna, Mehul Upadhyaya, Saba Mirabolghasemi, Andrey Beskrovnyi, Craig Lee


Awards for Outstanding Dedication (most hours/shifts)

Alessia D’Alessandro, Vicky Degaetano, Mary James, William Morgan, Antonia Reed, Grace Bly, Cynthia Haynes, Doris Kosch, Sharon Low, John Lau, Ingeborg Luty, Thomas Lo



Presenting a Volunteer Achievement Award to Long Time Volunteer Chuck McClelland (Winter Carnival Committee Member among other volunteer activities)


6. YRT Update to Council

Mary-Frances Turner, President, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, provided an overview of the vivaNext Rapid Transit Projects, noting the current process of building bus separated lanes rapidways across Highway 7, the commencement of construction on Yonge Street, and the continued work being conducted with TTC on the Spadina Subway extension. She explained how York Region Transit contributes to building future communities as well as rebuilding infrastructure for future generations.
Andrea Witty, Senior Project Manager reviewed the Yonge Street rapidway project, encompassing the 3 segments on Yonge street; upcoming construction activities; Shop Yonge – business support program, and reviewed the various communication tools used for the project noting that Leslie Pawlowski was the business contact for the Yonge Street project.
Mary-Frances Turner, advised of the new Operations, Maintenance and Storage Facility (OMSF) located in Richmond Hill, reviewed the facility’s purpose and features, noting it would be open for service by the end of June, and extended her appreciation to Town staff in working with the Region for making the building become a reality. Ms. Turner provided updates on the Yonge North Subway Extension, and the Regional Express Rail (RER), and advised they would continue to work with Town staff in providing updates for the projects.


7. Richmond Hill Blooms – The New Front Yard Garden Recognition Program

At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting Jeff Stewart, Manager of Parks Operations, introduced members of the Richmond Hill Garden Horticultural Society that were in attendance: Emily McLeod, Director of Publicity, and Santhosh Pillai, Director at Large, and extended his appreciation for all their efforts in the success of the program. Mr. Stewart provided an overview of the former program, and outlined the need for a review. He further reviewed the Richmond Hill Blooms 2015 program highlighting details for nominations, participation, shortlists, awards, and reviewed important dates for the 2015 program. Stay tuned for more details on this program.

8. McConaghy Seniors’ Centre 100th Anniversary

During the Recent Doors Open Event in Richmond Hill we had the opportunity to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the McConaghy School (now McConaghy Seniors’ Centre). It was really great to speak to a number of residents that attended the building when it was a school. This building is an iconic and beautiful part of our Village Core and is now a home to vibrant programming  for our residents.


Members of Council (Councillors  Liu, Hogg, Cilevitz, Chan and Mayor Barrow and myself), staff (Maggie Mackenzie and Jennifer Ayres), and our MPP Costas Menegakis, as well as Bert Hunt from the McConaghy Centre, accepting best wished from our Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

9. Civic Precinct Project

At a recent Civic Precinct Committee meeting the committee recommended that a report be brought to council this fall outlining some of the  possible design elements  and costs associated with the building of a Civic Precinct. The proposed project includes a moving the Town Offices to the south west corner of Major Mackenzie Drive and Yonge. Street. The project has been discussed for many years, and extensive public consultations regarding this subject have been held. This report will represent a next step in the possible development of these lands as a Civic Centre for the residents of Richmond Hill.