Council News and Highlights

1.  Richmond Hill Blooms Gala and Ward 4 Winners
On September 13th Richmond Hill honoured 18 beautiful Front Yard Gardens (3 of them in Ward 4), at the Richmond Hill Blooms Awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the winners for making our community even more beautiful!
1st Place – 290 Gretel Drive
2nd Place – 8 Guinevere Court
3rd Place – 7 Keble Court
2. Grant Strategy Helping to Fund Major Projects in Richmond Hill
Pioneer Park
 Council received an update on the status of grants and gas tax funding and the role that it plays in accelerating infrastructure renewal and financing innovative projects. Richmond Hill has received $52.9 million in gas tax funding since the program began in 2005. Key projects supported by gas tax funding include the environmentally friendly, LEED Silver Oak Ridges Community Centre, the Pioneer Park Stormwater Rehabilitation Project and construction of the Oak Ridges Corridor Conservation Reserve Trail. 
A plan to allocate gas tax funds is reviewed and established annually as part of Richmond Hill’s Grant Strategy and included in the capital budget process. Richmond Hill is set to receive $5.9 million in gas tax funding in 2018. In addition to gas tax funding, approximately $37.1 million in grant funding from a number of federal, provincial and other grant programs has been received from 2007 to present. Approximately 33% ($12.1 million) of this was from the federal government, 65% ($24.3 million) from the provincial government and 2% ($0.7 million) from other sources such as Ontario Tire Stewardship and the Region of York. 
Major projects funded by these grants include the rehabilitation of Elgin Barrow, Elvis Stojko and Bond Lake arenas, the restoration of the George Forster House and Barns, several road reconstruction and stormwater management rehabilitation projects, parks infrastructure renewal at Richmond Green, Crosby Park and Morgan Boyle Park and accessibility upgrades at Richmond Hill’s main Municipal Offices. 
3. Richmond Hill Updates Council Code of Conduct
Council approved changes to its Code of Conduct and Integrity Commissioner Procedures as recommended by its new Integrity Commissioner, ADR Chambers. The new Code and Procedures take into consideration best practices, as well as upcoming legislative changes. A number of sections have been expanded upon to provide clarity which will assist Council, Town staff and the public in understanding, interpreting and applying the Code. Updated sections include Definitions; Application and Responsibilities; Acceptance of Gifts and Benefits; Confidential Information; Council, Staff and Public Relations and Use of Municipal Property, to name a few. Council first adopted its Code of Conduct in 2010 and it was last updated in 2012. 
4. Endorsement of York Region Inclusion Charter
Diversity is one of Richmond Hill’s strengths as both a community and as an organization. And the Town prides itself on being inclusive by creating an environment where everyone can develop to their fullest potential, participate freely and live with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination. With this in mind, Council endorsed York Region’s Inclusion Charter, along with a commitment statement of its own that details Richmond Hill’s unique actions to implement the inclusion charter within the organization. The Inclusion Charter for York Region is a community initiative that brings together businesses, community organizations, municipalities, police services, hospitals, school boards, conservation authorities and agencies with a common commitment to create an inclusive environment with equality for all who work, live and play here. The Charter supports Richmond Hill’s commitment to inclusion and enhances our ongoing work to attract and retain the best talent, promote innovation and provide an excellent service experience.  
Richmond Hill’s Inclusion Charter states: Together with other participating organizations, The Town of Richmond Hill is committed to taking action to achieve the vision of the Charter in our organization and in the community. Richmond Hill celebrates its growing and diverse population and staff as a source of strength and vitality. Richmond Hill’s dedication to inclusion enhances its vision to be a place “where people come together to build their community.
5. Richmond Hill Recognized for Communication Excellence
The “Team” with Mayor Barrow


Richmond Hill Communication Service’s Division presented a number of national and international awards to Council that the team won this year. Communications staff, along with the internal clients they worked with, were recognized with several industry awards for a wide range of projects, including the Gold Quill Merit Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (Gold Quill Awards are acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programs in the industry for excellence in strategic communication) and Gold Hermes Creative Awards for the Canada 150 Video, Creativity Connected Promotional Pieces and the Richmond Hill Skate Trail video. The Canada 150 Banners Richmond Hill displayed along the Heritage Walk at Richmond Green last summer were recognized with a Hermes Honourable Mention. 
These awards reflect the collaborative effort between Communication Services and various divisions, including Event Services, Recreation and Culture, Public Works Operations and Strategic Initiatives.
6. Richmond Hill Introduces New Employee Strategy

At the Monday, September 17 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council received a presentation about Richmond Hill’s new Employee Strategy and an update on Workforce Planning. The new Employee Strategy details Richmond Hill’s vision for an ideal workplace, along with three goals and a number of actions to continue to build a healthy workplace. 
Actions include enhanced learning and development opportunities for staff, succession planning and other efforts to retain and attract the right staff with the right skills to ensure the Town continues providing quality services to its residents. Work to develop the workforce planning framework has already begun, including an approach to succession planning and career pathing, and management supports to implement these changes.
7. Richmond Hill Abuzz with Bee City Designation
Richmond Hill has been recognized for its ongoing efforts and commitment to protect pollinators and their habitat with a Bee City Designation from Bee City Canada. The Town has a number of policies and initiatives in place to help pollinators, including an Official Plan policy to increase the percentage of native plants in town landscaping, such as milkweed; and a new Community Garden Policy that led to the establishment of a pollinator garden at the Mill Pond Gallery in 2018. 
In addition, through its Community Stewardship Program, volunteers plant thousands of native trees and wildflowers in parks and natural areas each year. Richmond Hill also has a Healthy Yards Program that offers residents the chance to purchase native plants for their own property at a subsidized cost. Richmond Hill is committed to continuing to create a healthy pollinator habitat, educating the community about the importance of pollinators and celebrating pollinators by building on initiatives already underway and exploring new opportunities.
8. Young Richmond Hill Entrepreneur Recognized
Each year, the William F. Bell Young Entrepreneur Award is presented to a young business person to recognize their entrepreneurial successes. This year, Joshua Gomes-Szoke, founder of Grass Stylists, was selected to receive the award. Joshua provided 
lawn mowing services to the community during the summer with assistance from the Ontario Summer Company Program. He achieved the most revenue amongst his colleagues and made a positive impression in the community, having his story covered in The Liberal. 
The William F. Bell Young Entrepreneur Award was established in honour of Richmond Hill’s longest-serving Mayor and long-time supporter of youth and business. In partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Richmond Hill’s Small Business Enterprise Centre delivers the Summer Company Program, which, since 2004, has helped more than 130 young people explore entrepreneurship as a career option and launch summer businesses through the program. 
Mayor Barrow with recipient Joshua Gomes-Szoke, John Bell & Jackie Bell – former Mayor Bell’s brother and wife
9.  International Watercolour Society –  “A Symphony in Watercolour”
A group of international watercolour artists visited Richmond Hill for the International Watercolour Society convention in October. Thanks to Richmond Hill’s Ona Kingdon for inviting her colleagues from all over the world to stay and paint in our community. I appreciated being able to help, along with Councillor Cilevitz, to ensure that Richmond Hill was the host community for this year’s international event. 
Demonstrations, and awards for a number of beautiful works of art were handed out to international artists, including a few of our own local artists. Beautiful art from around the world was displayed in the Boynton House Gallery. Supporting Art and Culture is an important priority in our community. We know art enriches our lives and it also directly and indirectly contributes to our economy. I was very proud that Richmond Hill was the host community for this group.  For more information please click here.
10. Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services Welcomes new Recruits and Honours Long Serving Members 
In October Richmond Hill welcomed new recruits to our Fire Service and also honoured members who have been protecting and serving our community for many years. Richmond Hill appreciates the service that these brave men and women provide us!
11. Ignite Fair – Promoting Youth Involvement in our Community
For the 5th year the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts hosted the Ignite Fair. This conference is designed to connect youth willing to volunteer in the community to organizations looking for help. Through this annual initiative thousands of volunteer hours have been donated to many worthy organizations in our community. To learn more about Ignite Fair visit
12. Remember – Yiddish Ghetto Songs
For the 10th year in a row Richmond Hill has partnered with Beit Rayim Synagogue to honour victims of the Holocaust. 
This year’s performance featured a selection of songs and music written during the Second World War by Holocaust survivors . 
The event was a time to honour the victims and survivors, to remember this horrific time in human history, and to help ensure it never happens again.
13. Creativity Connected Awards
Richmond Hill hosted its annual Creativity Connected Symposium promoting and supporting the Creative Industries in Richmond Hill. The attendees were treated to a number of talks on the future of technology in the Creative Industries. 
At this annual event awards are handed out to several artists. The Creativity Connected Awards recognize companies or individuals in Richmond Hill who have demonstrated excellence in the creative industries field. The purpose of the Awards is to celebrate creativity and the power of ideas in all forms. Sharon Kirsh received an Emerging Artist award and the Richmond Hill Curtain Club received the Creative Laureate Award for their long and excellent history of work in the field of community theatre. Congratulations to the award winners and all who attended the conference.
Sharon Kirsh Emerging Artist Award
The Curtain Club Creativity Connected Award