Happy New Year!! What can Richmond Hill expect in 2008?

Richmond Hill’s population is expected to surpass 185,000 people by year end. The 2006 Census Data shows Richmond Hill is one of the most diverse municipalities in Canada with more than 51% of residents born outside of the country. These trends will drive community planning and development.

During 2008, Town staff will be completing the public consultation process to develop a Strategic Plan that establishes the future vision for the Town and a new Official Plan that establishes land use policies. These documents will influence the shape of our community for many years to come.

The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts is under construction and scheduled to open by October 15, 2008. The 631 seat theatre will be the stage for multicultural performances and art exhibitions. This landmark building will help revitalize our historic downtown centre.

Detailed design and construction of the Oak Ridges Community Centre and Park is expected to start next summer. The initial phase involves the construction of old Bayview Ave. and restoration of Lake Wilcox’s shore line. Construction of the community centre is scheduled for 2009.

The construction of Crosby Park as the first fully accessible park is underway. The park features a waterplay area, climbing apparatus and other facilities for disabled and able-bodied people of all ages. The park is expected to open by September 2008.

York Region is expected to complete the construction of the first of two water towers in Oak Ridges and the 19th Avenue-Leslie St Trunk Sewer by mid year. As a result, the Town will release up to 1200 residential building permits. Future residential building permits may not be available until 2011 when the new sewage treatment plant is built.

York Region will consult residents with the design of a Community Environmental Centre next to the Town’s Operation Centre on Elgin Mills Ave. East. The Environmental Centre will be a drop off for household hazardous waste, re-usable residential construction materials and recyclables that can not be picked up at the curb.

York Region Transit plans to introduce the “Smart Card” for transit riders to travel throughout the GTA without pre-purchasing tickets or passes for inter-system transfers by the fall of 2008.

These are some of the high lights for 2008. For further information email vspatafora@richndhill.ca or call 905-771-2517.