1. Richmond Hill to Establish Committee for David Dunlap Observatory Park Development
Council approved the establishment of a steering committee for the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) Park Project. The committee will be comprised of the Mayor, Ward’s 5 and 6 Councillors, as well as two citizen members. In September 2016, after extensive public consultation, a Master Plan was approved for the DDO Park. The Plan sets out the vision for the future enhancement, management and programming of the park. The steering committee will review and provide guidance and advice with respect to the planning, design development and construction of the park. Recruitment for the two citizen positions will begin soon. Residents who wish to apply are encouraged to visit RichmondHill.ca/Committees and subscribe to receive email updates. A call for applicants is being advertised in the Bulletin Board pages of The Liberal newspaper.
2. Modifications Planned for the Lake Wilcox Boardwalk
Council directed staff to continue with design modifications to the boardwalk planned for Lake Wilcox. The boardwalk, approved as part of the Lake Wilcox Park Master Plan, is a 127 meter long, 3 meter wide crescent shaped wooden deck on a steel frame that is supported by metal poles drilled into the lake bed. It is suspended out into the lake and attached in two locations to the walkway promenade. After much consideration, it was determined that the original boardwalk support structure would not be able to withstand the pressure of the ice each winter and as a result, the structure would likely fail over time. Staff will now work with coastal engineering specialists to modify the design of the support structure and the existing boardwalk. This will allow the original planned boardwalk to be constructed with all its intended features, theming and use of all materials already received. Staff will report back on the budget required to complete the boardwalk as part of the 2018 Capital Budget process this fall.
3. Richmond Hill’s Launches First IT Strategy
Council endorsed Richmond Hill’s first Information Technology (IT) Strategy which sets out a comprehensive vision and IT roadmap for the next five years. The Strategy is the result of a comprehensive process that included a detailed document review, interviews with Council and leadership, roundtables with all departments and a corporate-wide staff survey. Implementation will take place in three phases: building technology foundations (2017-2020), evolving systems and processes to deliver service excellence (2019 and ongoing) and becoming a digital, smart and innovative Town (2020 and ongoing). Much of the foundation work has begun, with current projects aimed at updating the customer service, planning, finance, human resources and recreation systems. A significant technology investment of approximately $22 million is required until at least 2023 to implement the Strategy, which will result in greater service to residents and a more efficient and productive workforce.
4. Richmond Hill introduces ActiveRH System for Fall Registration
Richmond Hill has launched its new recreation registration system, ActiveRH, that will help streamline and reduce waiting times during the registration process.
ActiveRH will be available for fall registration which begins on August 30. Current users who register online using their client barcode can now personalize their own accounts by using their email address and by creating their own passwords.
Recreation programs play an important role in the lives of our community. From music and rhythm classes for babies to a ropes challenge course for teens and art classes for adults, our residents keep active through our programs that are offered for all ages and interests and abilities. Residents can visit RichmondHill.ca/ActiveRH to start using the system.
Through ActiveRH, residents can go online to register for recreation programs and to request facility bookings. The system has an increased capacity to process over 5,000 transactions per minute on peak registration days, so users will be able to register faster for programs. Over the past 10 years, program registrations have increased by over 17,000 participants.
In addition, users will benefit from being able to:
* create their profile for ease of future registrations with a point and click;
* search programs by location, participant age, activity and more;
* request gymnasiums, meeting rooms, arenas and other facilities; and
* sign up for text message alerts to be notified of unexpected cancellations of activities.
Users who create their account before August 30 will be entered in a draw to win a $100 credit towards their new ActiveRH account or two tickets to the Peking Acrobats at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on Monday, February 19 at 3:30 p.m. The Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 Community Recreation Guide will be available online on August 9. Visit RichmondHill.ca/ActiveRH to create an account today.
5. Community Garden Policy Blossoms with Council’s Approval
Council approved a new Community Garden Policy due to the ever-growing demand for community gardens within Richmond Hill. The Policy provides consistent support and delivery of new and existing community gardens by setting guidelines and service levels and identifying responsibilities. Richmond Hill anticipates the development of one new allotment garden and approximately four collective gardens within five years.
Allotment gardens are divided into individual plots to rent and are administered by the municipality; collective gardens are maintained and managed by a group of volunteers and can be wholly communal or contain plots. Currently, Richmond Hill has one allotment garden and three collective gardens where residents and community groups are responsible for the gardens, including watering, pruning, disease/pest control and harvesting. In turn, Richmond Hill offers onsite water, disposal bins and annual soil preparation. The staffing and financial implications of this new policy will be considered in the 10-year Capital and Operating Budgets as required.
6. Education and Innovative Programming Slows Down Drivers and Improves Safety
Council approved 18 new locations for pole-mounted radar speed boards and the purchase of 22 new pole-mounted radar speed boards. Council also approved the acquisition of associated traffic data monitoring equipment, adjustments to the pole-mounted unit relocation timeframe (from six months to 12), and annual operating costs for the relocation of these units. The first pair of pole-mounted radar speed boards was installed in Richmond Hill in 2008 and was well-received, serving as a community education tool to raise awareness of driver travel speed. These boards were intended to be semi-permanent and scheduled for a new location within the town every six months. The initial results were positive, realizing a decrease in operating speeds and compliance with posted speed limits.
As a result, the units remained in their original location (High Tech Road) and two additional units were purchased for the six-month placements within the Town. Following this, staff developed a policy to prioritize the deployment of the pole-mounted radar speed boards (2009) and in 2011, purchased 20 additional radar board units. The total estimated cost for the new radar speed boards, new monitoring equipment and unit relocation is $158,000 plus $20,000 annually for the ongoing replacement of exiting pole-mounted radars board units at the end of their lifecycle and the addition of new radar boards in future. The approved recommendations address the traffic challenges facing the community and are aimed at improving road safety.
7. Council Committed to Providing Parkland
As Richmond Hill continues to grow, securing valuable parkland is key. In that regard, Council approved the purchase of 17 Rockwell Road, a 0.23-acre property located behind the new condominium buildings at 370 and 372 Highway 7 East and Rockwell Road. The land will be used to further develop the adjacent and existing undeveloped park creating a new public green space.
In 2013, Richmond Hill acquired the existing 0.42 acre parcel of parkland from the developer through the Planning Act approvals for the condominium buildings. The Town accepted the parcel of parkland given the challenges of attaining suitable parkland areas in spaces with high density developments. The acquisition of this property will bring the existing park to a usable size of 0.67 acres. Funds to acquire the property came from the Cash in Lieu of Parkland Dedication Reserve fund collected through the development process.
8. Canada 150 Celebration July 1st at Richmond Green
A party fitting the celebration of 150 years of Canada happened at Richmond Green on July 1st. There were many great activities for children and families and a spectacular fireworks display to cap off the day.