Volunteers in Richmond Hill – Building a Vibrant Community One Act at a Time

For many reasons, I have always been proud to call Richmond Hill home. Like many towns and cities in the GTA we are a growing community with all the benefits and challenges that go along with it. Our success provides many opportunities today, and in the future. Success also presents challenges, and it is those challenges that we must always address to ensure that we remain a vibrant community. A good part of our success is due to many residents contributing to our community in so many ways, each and every day.
I had the pleasure of attending the Richmond Hill Volunteer Awards at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts this week (I will report on this celebration in next month’s e newsletter). During National Volunteer Week, and through that annual celebration we honour those individuals and groups that volunteer each and every day in Richmond Hill, in a variety of capacities, big and small. Individually and collectively these volunteer acts add up to an immeasurable value to our community. 
Individual actions by so many volunteers better connect us to our friends, families, and neighbours, and this creates the foundation of a great community. Volunteers also provide much needed services and opportunities to celebrate various aspects of our collective culture and community. There are many citizens who volunteer to coach youth sports, and in doing so leave a lasting positive mark on children. There are those that volunteer to run countless community events that so many of us enjoy. There are those that help out in schools, not only for their own children and grandchildren, but for the benefit of all the children in that school. There are people who volunteer to lead a myriad of charity and not for profit organizations that do their good and important work in our community. We also have volunteers that work to support those that need help in our community. This work makes a positive difference in people’s lives. If you ask any dedicated volunteer they will also tell you that the volunteer often gets as much benefit from their work as they give. Volunteering is definitely a two way street.
I have always admired the work that volunteers do in our community as they provide enormous value to all of us. There have been those that have attempted to determine how much monetary value volunteers bring to the community. I know it is a very big number, that we likely can’t afford, but the way that volunteers do their job, reacting to a need in the community when they see it, and the love and passion that they put into this work, makes volunteers, and their actions, irreplaceable.
The engagement of so many of our citizens does not end with volunteering. So many of us also take opportunities to be engaged and involved in the decisions that all levels of government make on our behalf. In doing so they further shape our community of Richmond Hill. There have been many examples where citizens have come out in large numbers to express their views on a potential Council decision. I always appreciate the care and passion that people show in attending Council meetings or reaching out to me, as an elected representative, to express views on issues and needs in the community. Individually and collectively citizens continue to actively participate in decisions of Council and in doing so shape the community in which we call home. It is a true honour to hear from citizens. Given all the volunteer and civic engagement actions that happen in Richmond Hill every day I have hope that we will continue to be a strong and vibrant community in the future because it is clear that people care about their community.
Contained in this e newsletter is information about some of the key decisions and directions of Council and information about a number of interesting events that are taking place in Richmond Hill over the coming weeks and months. Below is also a link to a Provincial government survey seeking input on the future of Richmond Hill and the Region of York. I would encourage you to participate in this survey as the Provincial government undergoes its Regional Governance Review. 
Finally after decades of waiting, an announcement has been made by the Provincial Government that they are committed to begin construction on the Yonge Street Subway extension from Finch Station to Richmond Hill. Council has been advocating for this much needed project for years and it would now appear that the project is one step closer to becoming a reality. More detail about this recent announcement is contained below.
As always I would invite you to contact me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about any information in this e newsletter or any matter in Richmond Hill.
David West 
Ward 4 Councillor Richmond Hill
Cell -416-346-3090
Office 905-771-2480
Banner Photo – Twickenham Trees by Chris Robart