Richmond Hill Council News

Richmond Hill to Accept Online Credit Card Property Tax Payments

I was pleased to support Councillor Chan’s motion to create a new option approved for paying your property taxes. Currently the City accepts payment for property tax through internet banking, pre-authorized debit, cheque, debit card, cash and from mortgage companies administering taxes on behalf of mutual clients. Now residents will be able to pay by credit card as well. Previously Richmond Hill did not accept credit cards as a payment option due to the transaction cost and a lack of electronic infrastructure to facilitate the transaction. In 2020, Richmond Hill will contract Paymentus (Canada) Corporation to accept online credit card payments for property tax on behalf of Richmond Hill. Paymentus will charge a convenience fee of 2.5 per cent of the tax payment amount, which will be paid by the payer (the property holder). Once there is a completed agreement between the City and Paymentus, the online system will be put in place and residents can pay their property tax online using Visa or Mastercard, beginning with the March 2, 2020 interim tax bill installment.

2020 Council Meeting Schedule Approved

As I reported in previous e newsletters I believe that it is important that Council meetings be held at times that are most convenient for residents to attend. I have been advocating that we return to evening meetings, or at least late afternoon times like we had in the last term of Council, rather than morning meetings like we currently have.

A majority of Council however voted recently to approve the 2020 meeting schedule with Council meetings scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Council Public meetings are still scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Meeting dates and agendas are posted to the City’s website RichmondHill.ca .
 
Ash Tree Removals and Replacement Planting
 
The following is an update on Richmond Hill’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) management activities:
 
Over the past few years Richmond Hill, like most Ontario municipalities, have lost a great number of Ash Trees. Ash trees were once the preferred street tree to plant along municipal boulevards. Many majestic Ash trees have graced our streets as they were well suited to thrive in this urban environment.
 
That all changed a number of years ago with the unintentional introduction of an invasive species known as the Emerald Ash Borer. This insect has devastated Ash tree populations in Ontario. In response to this disaster Richmond Hill has been executing our Emerald Ash Borer Strategy to gradually remove and replace dead or dying Ash trees.
We are approaching the last years of this strategy as many of the trees have now succumbed. 
 
A good summary and further information on the progress of this effort can be found at Richmond Hill website.
 
Resident’s Meeting for Application Dogliola Developments Ltd. and Campo Ridge Home Corp. at Canyon Hill and Yonge St.
 
I recently hosted a well attended Residents’ Meeting regarding the above noted development application. At the meeting, residents were quite articulate and vocal about a number of concerns generally related to the height and density of this project and the potential problems related to these concerns. I appreciated the excellent resident involvement and input gathered at this meeting.
 
I also have a number of concerns about this application that is considerably higher and denser than what was initially expected and outlined in the Official Plan for this land. A more formal Council Public Hearing was scheduled in the Council Chambers for this application on January 22nd. A staff report was made available outlining some of the details of this application. It can be viewed at ( https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=30209 ). 
 
Richmond Hill Environmental Symposium – SOLD OUT
 
If you are like most of us and are concerned with the state of our environment, want to help to be a part of the solution, but don’t know where to start, I will be hosting an Environmental Symposium in February. This symposium will concentrate on effective and achievable actions that individuals can take to live more gently on the planet and make a positive difference. The event is sold out at the moment but to be added to the waiting list please visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/1st-sustainability-symposium-in-richmond-hill-tickets-84185748841?fbclid=IwAR1EOL2XKae6fJdmSHKjKMjoTRa7dneXMRUjrIm3xQ27QaduiA3bEzrf3Ng
 
The Historic Jefferson Schoolhouse Demolition Permit
 
At the Council Meeting on January 22nd Council considered a request by the owner of the historic former Jefferson Schoolhouse at 11575 Yonge St. to demolish this 152 year old and important historic building. The building is a designated structure under the Ontario Heritage Act and a recommendation to deny this demolition request has been put forward to Council by the Heritage Richmond Hill Committee and our Richmond Hill Planning Staff. At the Council meeting on January 22nd the matter was deferred to the Council meeting on February 12th.
 
I believe that allowing the destruction of this building is not at all appropriate and the request should be denied. The applicant should continue to work with our Planning Staff to determine how this historic building can be repurposed and incorporated into a new development instead. For more information on this issue please visit my blog at https://davidwest-richmondhill.ca/richmond-hill-council-news-9/ and scroll down to item #8
 
Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services Amalgamation Study
 
Council voted in support of requesting York Region to consolidate Fire Services at the Regional level. The resolution states that fire suppression should be planned without regard for municipal boundaries to determine the optimal location of stations for public safety, as fire services are an essential service for the protection of people and property. It also highlights that the majority of response calls made by Fire Services are medical calls and both police and emergency medical services are already consolidated services delivered by York Region. Richmond Hill Council calls for the uploading of fire services to involve all nine York Region municipalities as effective and efficient service may be better planned and delivered at the Regional level together with the other first response services. Consolidation may also achieve administrative efficiencies on non-suppression fire activities such as training, education, dispatch, vehicle maintenance and inspections.
 
Winter Maintenance Information
 
Given that we are well into the Winter Season I wanted to remind everyone that there is a great deal of information about Richmond Hill’s Winter Maintneance and snow clearing operations available on the City’s website. Please visit https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/winter-maintenance.aspx for this important information. You can also sign up for automatic updates by visiting the Snow Clearing Page (at https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/winter-maintenance.aspx ) and signing up at the bottom of the page to receive email updates.
 
For a video about Richmond Hill’s new Windrow Removal Program visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHRaDoYArLY