Council News and Highlights

Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke

On Saturday May 6, myself, along with many other runners participated in the Mackenzie Health Strides for Stroke. It was a cold and rainy morning, but a fun time was had regardless. Over $200,000 was raised for our Mackenzie Health Hospital. (Needless to say the young guy on the left finished with a much better time than the old guy on the right!)

Shaftsbury Ave. / St. Theresa of LisieuxCatholic High School Traffic Report Comes to Council

Over the past several years traffic volume has increased on Shaftsbury Ave. in the area near St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School. This situation has become particularly problematic during the morning drop off and afternoon pick up times. I have been working with our traffic staff, the Parent Council, and school administration at the school towards improving this situation. Improving the traffic flow and especially improving pedestrian safety along this stretch continues to be a key concern for the community. A staff report will be considered at Committee of the Whole on June 6th, and at Council on June 13th, related to these proposed improvements. The staff report can be viewed here.

Council Approves New Waste Collection Contract for Richmond Hill

At the council meeting on Monday, May 8, a new waste collection contract for Richmond Hill was approved. The new eight year contract, which begins on April 1, 2019, was awarded to Miller Waste Systems Inc., and has a total estimated cost of $41.1 million (excluding taxes). 

The contract features enhanced services and an estimated $572,000 annual cost reduction.

Richmond Hill’s current waste collection contract with Miller Waste Systems Inc. includes garbage, recycling, organics, yard waste and appliance collection for single-family homes, multi-residential and municipal buildings, as well as residents and small businesses in the Downtown Core. The contract value is approximately $5 to $6 million annually (excluding taxes), and is based on a cost per tonne model for waste collection. 

The new contract builds upon existing service levels and includes new and enhanced services. With an annual cost of approximately $4.8 million, the new contract will save the Town just over half a million dollars each year. A breakdown of services, enhancements and cost savings effective April 1, 2019 is as follows: 

Schedule changes: 

  • Yard waste collection will take place on the same days as regular waste collection (garbage, recycling and organics) as opposed to Mondays. This will save the Town more than $100,000 annually and align collection schedules for all waste.
  • Yard waste collection will begin in mid-April as opposed to the beginning of April. This will save the Town an additional $20,000 annually. 

New services: 

  • Recycling collection at super mailbox locations will be added in response to residents’ feedback about neighbourhood litter and convenience.
  • Garbage and recycling collection from public (municipal) containers in the Downtown Core on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (including holidays) will be added to address the community’s request for recycling services in public areas.
  • Front-end collection of organics from large multi-residential buildings will facilitate and promote waste diversion in multi-residential buildings.
  • Illegally dumped material along collection routes will be collected on an as needed basis and as directed by the Town to assist with addressing instances of illegal dumping promptly. 

Enhanced tools: 

  • All new waste collection vehicles will be equipped with reversal cameras and two-person crews to improve efficiency and enhance safety.
  • GPS tracking will be available on every vehicle with real-time access to this information by Town staff to improve Richmond Hill’s contract management capabilities.
  • Data collection tools such as on-board scales and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on waste containers will provide better information about waste generation and diversion rates for multi-residential and municipal buildings. 

Projected costs and savings:  

Current contract cost (2016 costs projected to 2019) $5,387,000
New contract cost (2019) $4,815,000
Annual cost savings $572,000 (10.6%)

The estimated annual savings of $572,000 is due to negotiated lower pricing ($435,000) and the modified yard waste collection schedule ($137,000). 

Over the past few years, staff evaluated service levels through a comprehensive information gathering and analysis process, which included pilot projects, municipal benchmarking, public and vendor consultation, as well as cost benefit analysis. Discussions between the Town and Miller Waste Systems Inc. to refine the proposed contract took place between September 2016 and February 2017. 

Current waste collection services will continue with existing service levels until March 31, 2019. Information on this can be found at RichmondHill.ca/Waste and in the Waste Management Calendar delivered to households annually in December. 

The new contract will begin on April 1, 2019 and run until April 1, 2027 with the option to extend the contract for an additional two, one year terms. The transition is expected to be seamless.

Yonge Street Transit Projects Continue to Move Forward

Council received a presentation from York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) about progress of the vivaNext rapid transit project on Yonge Street, from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive and from Levendale Road to 19th Avenue/Gamble Road. Construction continued throughout the winter and a new water main has been installed from 16th Avenue to Harding Boulevard.

The majority of work in 2017 will be utility relocation, with Alectra, Bell, Rogers and Enbridge moving their infrastructure to allow Yonge Street to be widened and to accommodate dedicated bus lanes. While construction continues, Yonge Street remains open and residents are encouraged to continue to support local businesses. YRRTC provides regular updates to the community, distributing thousands of newsletters and providing regular website updates. Residents and businesses can sign up for updates at vivaNext.com. YRRTC also updated Council on the Yonge subway extension project, which is moving forward with $55 million in provincial funding to initiate preliminary engineering design work. York Region has also applied for $36 million in federal funding from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund to complete the preliminary engineering design. 

I continue to be disappointed that there is still no committed funding for the project itself from the Provincial and Federal Governments, but the Region of York and the Town of Richmond Hill as well as other groups, such as the Richmond Hill Board of Trade,  will continue to press our Federal and Provincial Representatives about the crucial importance of transit as we continue to grow as a community. 

Community Improvement Plan Proposed

A Community Improvement Plan (CIP) is a planning tool that allows municipalities to target specific areas for rehabilitation and/or growth by directing funds and implementing policy initiatives. Through Section 28 of the Planning Act, municipalities have the authority to implement CIPs through tax assistance, grants and loan programs for projects that enable development or rehabilitation of lands and buildings within a specified Community Improvement Plan Area. 

This background study was recently considered at a People Plan Task Force Committee meeting but has not yet come to Council. In Ward 4, a Community Improvement Plan could play a role in promoting redevelopment in our Village Core. At the present time the Facade Improvement Plan is in place in the Village Core.

The Facade Improvement Plan has been used by a number of landowners to revitalize their historic buildings while receiving a grant for doing so. This particular program is but one tool proposed in this background study. 

The Study also outlines a number of other incentives that if put into effect, could also add tools available to the Town to incentivize revitalization in the Village Core.

For more information click here, to view the staff report click here.