Happy Summer Richmond Hill

To paraphrase the late Stuart McLean – ‘Summer is laid out for us like a white line down the centre of a Prairie highway’. Warm weather and sunny days lie before us for the next few months and at this point in the summer we have the promise of lots more to come. I have always really loved summer and I think everyone will agree that this summer in particular has the promise to provide a welcome change to the isolation that we have all been asked to endure during this COVID-19 Pandemic. I hope that everyone can get outside and enjoy the summer weather!
At the same time, while summer allows us to get outside and enjoy the great weather and some further freedoms that confined inside spaces have not allowed, we must still be vigilant to ensure that we are continuing to adhere to all Public Health Protocols to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Summer is here but the virus is not taking a vacation! We must continue to practice all health protocols to ensure our continued success in keeping Richmond Hill’s infection rates in check. To get up to date information about COVID-19 in our community please visit york.ca/covid19.
On the topic of COVID-19 the Region of York Council recently passed a bylaw that will require people to wear masks in most public spaces beginning July 17th. This requirement will be consistent across all nine York Region Municipalities, including Richmond Hill. There will be exemptions for anyone who can’t wear a mask but generally this bylaw will require wearing a mask whenever it is prudent to do so while shopping or doing business. I very much support this initiative and I am glad that it has finally been passed. I fully realize that wearing a mask is, at the very least uncomfortable and inconvenient for all of us, and for some it’s impossible, but it is a temporary measure to help us get back to normal more quickly and without a further shutdown of our lives and our economy. 
Throughout this pandemic it has been clearly demonstrated just how connected we all are to each other. As such it is also clear that we are all in this together and that we will only get out of this terrible situation by working together, being kind to each other, and being patient as we move towards the goal of getting back to normal. I have included more details about the Mask Bylaw and links to the York Region website about other in place Public Health protocols in an article below.
On a lighter note, Richmond Hill Council recently passed my motion to proclaim August 22nd as Flight of the Monarch Day. I have been fascinated by Monarch Butterflies since I was a child. My brother and I, and more recently my son and I, over the years have collected and raised thousands of caterpillars and watched them transform to butterflies. If you are looking for a fun and educational activity to do with the kids this summer I would encourage you to give raising Monarch caterpillars a try. 
In celebration of Flight of the Monarch Day I have ordered 100 Monarch Butterfly tags so that any Monarch Butterfly raised in Richmond Hill can be tagged by citizens before releasing it on its journey to Mexico. An organization called Monarch Watch oversees this tagging program and then tracks any tag sitings or recoveries during the Monarch’s migration to central Mexico.
I would like to challenge my fellow Richmond Hill residents to collectively tag 100 Monarchs between mid August and September this summer. To support citizens who would like to take on this task, I will also be giving away a children’s book about how to raise and tag Monarch butterflies (while supplies last) by local Monarch butterfly expert and author Carol Pasternak. The book is titled How to Raise Monarch Butterflies – A Step by Step Guide for Kids. Details about how to get a book and some tags from me can be found below in this e newsletter. 
As always I have also provided information below in this newsletter regarding other important news regarding Council decisions and activities over the past month. It has always been important for me to keep constituents informed. I know this is crucial for a healthy local democracy and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this e newsletter. I always welcome a call or an email from anyone if they have any comments, questions or concerns. My email is david.west@richmondhill.ca and my mobile phone number is 416-346-3090. I wish everyone all the best, and look forward to being able to speak to residents face to face soon!
Banner Photo – A summer day in Upper Mill Pond Park