Council received a presentation regarding the Crosby Accessible Park features and fundraising initiatives from Crosby Accessible Park Project Steering Committee Chair, Councillor Arnie Warner. Also present was Barry Munro, representing the Richmond Hill Mobility Foundation, who thanked Council and staff for listening to the community in reconstructing the park into a place accessible to everyone. The presentation showed photos of the recently opened park, highlighting accessible features like one of the largest playground structures in Ontario that can be accessed in its entirety without steps, a fully accessible waterplay area, and gently sloping ramps to navigate all about. Crosby Park, situated amongst a woodland area with mature canopy trees, also has a rubberized play surface that resembles a forest floor, an elevated sandbox for those who are wheelchair bound, drum tables, a redesigned parking lot to allow more room for drop-off and accessibility, along with signage, seating and artwork throughout. The full presentation can be viewed on the Crosby Park section of the Town’s Website at www.richmondhill.ca/crosbypark. As part of the presentation, Ronald McDonald House Charities presented $20,000 to the Richmond Hill Mobility Foundation for the Crosby Park project. This brings the total community support for the project to $432,710. For more information, contact Crosby Accessible Park Project Steering Committee Chair, Councillor Arnie Warner, at (905) 771-2535 (From Council Meeting held on Monday, July 14, 2008; Presentation).
Council approved the naming of a parkette on Kerrybrook Drive in Richmond Hill as Matthew Dinning Memorial Parkette in honour of Corporal Matthew Dinning who lost his life in April 2006 while on duty in Afghanistan. Born in Richmond Hill, Corporal Dinning served with the Canadian military out of Petawawa and was only 23 years old at the time of his death. Corporal Dinning and three other Canadian soldiers were killed when the light-armoured vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb. The site chosen to honour the soldier is the site of the former Dinning family home which was destroyed by a severe rain storm in 1986. A private dedication ceremony was held on July 12 at the parkette with members of the Dinning family in attendance. It is Council’s hope that the parkette will serve to honour Corporal Dinning and all Canadian soldiers. The parkette is located at the north entrance to Pioneer Park – one of the largest forested recreation spaces in the Town and home to some of the oldest oak trees in Richmond Hill. The naming of the parkette is in line with the Town’s park naming process which provides the opportunity to honour individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to Ontario, Canada or internationally. For more information, contact Tracey Steele, Manager of Parks Planning and Natural Heritage, at (905) 771-2476 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 14, 2008; Staff Report SRPRC.08.49, Agenda Item #10).
Council received a report officially notifying them of the successful grant funding for the Crosby Park Waterplay Recirculation project from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Green Municipal Fund. The Town will receive $85,300, which is expected to cover 50 per cent of the project costs. The Town’s Crosby Park project met the goals of the Green Municipal Fund as this innovative recirculating waterplay facility is expected to use only 10 per cent of the water used by a traditionally designed facility and it will also produce 90 per cent less discharge into the sewer system. As a result of this, the
waterplay area will be available more to the public during water restriction periods in comparison to others using more water. This project shows how the Town is a leader in environmental initiatives and also gives a consistent message regarding the need for us all to conserve water. Crosby Park, Richmond Hill’s first fully accessible park, is now fully open to the public. More information on Crosby Park, including a list of features, location and photos, can be found on the Town’s Website at www.richmondhill.ca/crosbypark. For more information, contact Dan Olding, Manager of Grants, at (905) 771-5505 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRCAO.08.033, Agenda Item #24).
Council approved a report to initiate the designation process to establish a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the downtown core of Richmond Hill. The proposed area covers approximately one block deep along Yonge Street from Benson Avenue in the north to Major Mackenzie Drive in the south. The report included a proposal put together by downtown area merchants and property owners for the goals, budget, boundaries and areas of focus for a proposed BIA. The construction of the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts has been a motivating factor for businesses in the area and has also demonstrated the Town’s commitment to investing in the downtown core. Should a sufficient number of property owners and commercial tenants support the creation of a BIA and with Council’s approval, the group will be known as “Village of Richmond Hill BIA” after formal designation by a Town bylaw in November. A BIA will help make the downtown core more of a destination for residents and tourists, thereby increasing traffic and revenue for businesses as well as increase property values. Some of the activities that can be undertaken by a BIA include streetscape improvements, marketing initiatives, business recruitment, seasonal decorations and special events. The group of merchants and property owners seeking the creation of a BIA have a goal to make downtown Richmond Hill an area with a clear sense of place and identity, comprised of an exciting and attractive mix of uses and amenities by focusing on four key areas: Parking, Cleanliness/Beautification, Promotion/Marketing, and Street Activities/Festivities. For more information, contact Lise Conde, Project Manager, at (905) 771-9996, ext. 3819 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRCAO.08.28, Agenda Item #22).
Council approved the contracting of a firm to demolish Spruce Hall, located at 31 Spruce Avenue and restore the site as parkland for recreation purposes. The facility, which was constructed in 1955, served the community for many years providing rental space for community groups to meet and hold functions. In May 2007, Council agreed with staff’s recommendation that the building had reached the end of its useful economic life as a municipal facility. As noted in a follow-up report by staff to Council in November, it was determined that significant investments for repair of the facility would need to be made in order to make its continued use viable. The property will be restored to include a grass area for passive recreation while the parking spots, bocce courts and playground equipment currently at this location will continue to be available. Demolition of the building is expected to begin in August 2008, with the full site open for use later in the fall. The long term plan for the site is to undertake a master plan and consider the needs of the community with possible further development of the site and naming of it as park. The facility has not been in use since September 1, 2007. Those groups who regularly used Spruce Hall were accommodated at other Town-owned and operated facilities. Contact J. Patrick Caron, Director of Asset Management, at (905) 771-2403 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 14, 2008; Staff Report SREPW.08.077, Agenda Item #34).
Council approved a staff report and received a consultant’s report that included recommendations that will form the basis for negotiations of an agreement for the operation and maintenance of Town arenas. The report includes several recommendations on the future of the relationship between the Town and the Richmond Hill Arena Association (RHAA), including a reconstitution of the RHAA, adoption of a new financial model and a new contractual agreement. The undertaking and approval of this study demonstrates the Town’s commitment to responsible municipal management by accounting for the ever-evolving requirements and changes within the municipal arena operating environment while also respecting the Town’s strong history with the RHAA. For more information, contact Gwen Manderson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, at (905) 771-9996, ext. 3815 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRCAO.08.30, Agenda Item #43).
Council granted permission to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to install, operate and maintain a temporary weather station in the Doncrest/Beaver Creek Business Park area for the purposes of a climate change study. Over a five year period, the weather station will collect climatic data to help study the dynamics of wind currents within the two storey residential/commercial area. This research study, in collaboration with the University of Guelph, will serve as both a national and international demonstration project to better understand local climate, especially in Richmond Hill, and further encourage the stewardship of the Town’s air, water and land resources. The Open Space lands on which the weather station will sit are located directly behind Fire Station 8-3 on 16th Avenue. After passing on several other locations in southern Ontario, the TRCA chose this site as it provided the greatest number of characteristics suitable for monitoring urban area climate. The station will consist of a hollow tower (similar to an older television tower) that will be roughly the same height as the residential buildings in the area (10 metres). The TRCA will be solely responsible for all project costs as well as the operation and maintenance of the tower. For more information, contact John Nemeth, Manager of Water Resources, at (905) 771-5495 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SREPW.08.073, Agenda Item #32).
Council received staff comments on Metrolinx Whitepapers 1 and 2 that outline the vision, preliminary directions and test concepts for the development of a Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The plans include the possibility of extending the Yonge subway line to Richmond Hill for which Council expressed their strong support and encouraged residents to continue using public transit in their daily travels. The People Plan Richmond Hill consultation process also recently revealed that public transit and transportation were the top concerns for Town residents. Council also directed staff to request that Metrolinx consider the development of the Town’s portion of the Richmond Hill/Langstaff Regional Centre at Yonge and Highway 7 as a pilot or demonstration project in partnership with Metrolinx. Metrolinx was also present at the meeting to address the Town’s questions and concerns in a presentation. Rob MacIsaac, Metrolinx Chair, told Council that Richmond Hill is a big part of their plans, namely with the all-day, two-way GO Transit on the Richmond Hill line and giving serious
consideration to extending the subway north to Richmond Hill Centre. The Metrolinx Board is scheduled to meet again in September at which time they plan to present its Draft Regional Transportation Plan and Investment Strategy. For more information, contact Paul Freeman, Manager of Policy, at (905) 771-2472 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRPD.08.098, Agenda Item #20).
Pioneer Park will undergo construction of wetland projects thanks to Council’s agreement to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). Over the next few months, as part of the overall Pioneer Park Stormwater Management Rehabilitation, the TRCA will construct three instream erosion control works that will include a ground slope repair, a watercourse bank repair and a realignment of a watercourse around a sewer. The TRCA will also build an upstream wetland facility to be completed in the spring of 2010. This partnership will reduce Town costs by approximately $160,000 and the Town will also derive a significant benefit from the valuable expertise and restoration experience that the TRCA has. Pioneer Park, located just northwest of the intersection of Major Mackenzie Drive West and Trench Street (immediately west of and adjacent to York Central Hospital), is a 26-hectare open space parcel that receives stormwater discharge from the surrounding Don Head Village community. It provides erosion and flood control protection for approximately 700 hectares of land extending to points north of Gamble Road. Recently, the Town also received a $2.25 million grant for this project from the Province’s Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative through Infrastructure Ontario. For more information, contact John Nemeth, Manager of Water Resources, at (905) 771-5495 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SREPW.08.074, Agenda Item #33).
Council approved over $1 million worth of road reconstruction projects and over $500,000 for watermain replacements in Richmond Hill. The Town awarded a tender to Mar-King Construction Co. Ltd. for the reconstruction of Gells Road and Skopit Road in the area of Bayview Avenue and Elgin Mills Road East. Town records identified that the watermains are aging and require replacement and the roads have reached their optimum life cycle. Council also approved the reconstruction of Puccini Drive from Bathurst Street to Verdi Crescent to meet full urban standards. As Puccini Drive is currently a paved rural road without curbs, storm sewers and sidewalks, the subdivision’s developer developing the lands on the north side will reconstruct the road, add curbs, sidewalks and a new storm sewer system as part of their first phase of development. This project was initially planned to be done in 2012, however, the work will be done this year in conjunction with a submitted development proposal to take advantage of significant cost savings by having approximately half being borne by the developer. Also, there will be less disruption to the existing community by combining the projects into one. Temporary road closures will be necessary in completing the work at all sites and the Town asks for the public’s assistance and understanding during these times. For more information, contact Steve Fick, Director of Design, Construction & Water Resources, at (905) 771-9996, ext. 3501 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Reports SREPW.08.069& SREPW.08.072, Agenda Items #28 & 31).
In an effort to provide clarity to the Fence Bylaw, Council approved an amendment to compensate for the height of privacy screens on raised decks. The Town’s Fence Bylaw regulates the heights, locations and other features of fences, swimming pool enclosures and privacy screens on all properties. Recently, there have been a number of questions raised by the public that specifically address the height of privacy screen when located on a raised deck. The previous bylaw stated that a privacy screen could not be more than 2.4 metres (8 feet) above grade regardless of it being on a deck or not. The new bylaw now allows for privacy screens to be not more than 1.9 metres (6 feet) from the floor of the deck provided the deck is more than 0.6 metres (2 feet) above grade. It is felt that this amendment will eliminate any confusion by staff and the public when interpreting the provision. For more information, contact Rick McGee, Manager of Licensing & Bylaw Enforcement, at (905) 771-2427 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRPD.08.104, Agenda Item #18).
Council approved execution of an agreement that will realize significant resource savings and improve ecology and water quality in Lake Wilcox. The agreement will authorize the Town to purchase shoreline restoration services from Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) under a partnership framework. The Town and the TRCA have been working together for over a decade to improve aquatic habitat in the Lake and the shoreline restoration work will build on past initiatives. The public is reminded that Sunset Beach is permanently closed to facilitate the restoration of the shoreline as Phase 1 of the new Oak Ridges Community Centre and Park. The planned waterplay facility at the new park will serve to replace some of the functions associated with the former beach. It is anticipated that the new waterplay will be operational for use by mid-summer of 2010. For more information, contact Tracey Steele, Manager of Parks Planning and Natural Heritage, at (905) 771-2476 (From Committee of the Whole meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008, Staff Report SRPRC.08.27, Agenda Item #7).
New residential developments totalling 3,000 units (approved by Council in May 2007) that have been waiting on the completion of the 19th Avenue Interceptor Sewer and the Oak Ridges Elevated Storage Tank can now proceed with construction. Both pieces of infrastructure are critical to servicing these projects and it is expected that the sanitary sewer will be operational on time, by the end of July 2008 while the storage tank has been completed six weeks ahead of schedule. Council delegated the authority to allocate sanitary sewer capacity for projects ready to proceed during Council’s summer recess to the Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works. The completion of this infrastructure will also allow the Town to allocate servicing capacity to an additional 1,146 units from the residential reserve between now and 2010, subject to Council’s approval based on compliance with the recently adopted Interim Growth Management Strategy. For more information, contact Kelvin Kwan, Acting Director of Planning, at (905) 771-2410 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRPD.08.114, Agenda Item #44).
Council designated the Ada Mackenzie House at 86 Major Mackenzie Drive West as a property of historical and architectural value under the Ontario Heritage Act. The property is an early example of a “salt-box” farmhouse structure built in the early 1850s with surviving architectural details. In the 1940s, Ada Mackenzie (1891–1973) adapted the structure into a residential dwelling with the aid of a well-known Canadian architect, Charles E. Langley, without changing the farmhouse’s original form or footprint. Heritage attributes include historical window and door designs, an internal brick chimney and the original fireplace and mantelpiece. This highland cottage structure has since undergone several renovations, including a second storey and garage addition, but is still a rare example of yesteryear Richmond Hill and a direct link to the origins of the historical development of the area. The property is also of significance as Ada Mackenzie was Canada’s pre-eminent woman golfer from the 1920s through to the 1940s who founded the Ladies’ Golf Club of Toronto. Winning the Canadian Open five times and the Canadian Women’s Seniors’ Golf Championship eight times are just a few of Ada’s many achievements that earned her the title of the “First Woman of Canadian Golf.” The Town inducted her into the Richmond Hill Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Ada also has a large, open space park named after her located off of 16th Avenue, just east of Bayview Avenue. For more information, contact Donna McLarty, Town Clerk, at (905) 771-2529 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRCSD.08.10, Agenda Item #41).
To keep up with the evolving signage industry and constantly changing signage technologies, Council approved a Sign Bylaw Study to be conducted over the next five months. The purpose of the study will be to create a new and modernized Sign Bylaw to reflect what is needed in the Town, as the current Sign Bylaw was approved in 1990. With the hundreds of site specific amendments, the current bylaw has largely become obsolete in terms of anticipating and dealing with the different types of signage in Richmond Hill. Consultation will be a vital component of the study, with input expected to be received from Council, government agencies as well as the Sign Association of Canada and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Canada to formulate a bylaw that will outline the approved visual aspects of signs. The study will create a streamlined approval process for dealing with new signage schemes, as well as new or amending signs on existing buildings. Much of the background research has already been completed so it is expected that staff will report back to Council to enact a new Sign Bylaw in the fall. For more information, contact Salvatore Aiello, Acting Manager of Site Plans, at (905) 771-2471 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, July 7, 2008; Staff Report SRPD.08.099, Agenda Item #17).
Council will now break for summer recess from July 15, 2008 and resume in September. The next Committee of the Whole Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. and the next Council meeting is Monday, September 8, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. Both of these meetings will be held in Council Chambers.
This document was produced by the Communication Services Division staff at the Town of Richmond Hill. The contents of this summary are intended to be for information purposes only. The actual text of Council resolutions can be found on the Town’s Website. Copies of staff reports and other correspondence can be obtained from the Office of the Clerk.