Environmental Challenges

Fact:

Rapid urban growth, development and climate change  threatens our environment and the quality of life in our community by polluting our air, water and land.

Action Plan:

  • Promote and complement a greening strategy for Richmond Hill and York Region
  • Invest in a more efficient and convenient public transit system and lobby for the extension of the Yonge Street Subway to Richmond  Hill;
  • Develop alternate forms of transportation for cyclists and pedestrians;
  • Develop public education programs that promote environmental protection;
  • Require developers to build sustainable development with renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal energy;
  • Acquire and protect cultural and environmentally sensitive lands; and,
  • Promote energy and water efficient development policies.

Traffic Congestion

Fact:

Traffic congestion has increased the cost and time to move people, goods and services in our community.

Action Plan:

  • Support a comprehensive approach to reduce traffic congestion:
    1. Develop a comprehensive transportation system that connects employment centres, retail districts and residential neighbourhoods with an efficient network of roads, a convenient transit system and safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians;
    2. Protect employments lands and implement a plan that attracts businesses to provide jobs within the community;
    3. Expand GO Train Service with all-day, two-way service. Extend the Richmond Hill GO Train line north to Bloomington Rd. and Highway 404; and,
    4. Extend the Yonge Subway north from Finch Avenue to Highway 7 in Richmond Hill and push for the completion of the east-west light rapid transit system along Highway 407.

Waste Management

Fact:

Waste management is in crisis–-putting garbage in landfill sites is a non-sustainable short-term band-aid solution at the expense of future generations.

Action Plan:

  • Increase blue box and organic recycling programs beyond the Provincial 65% target;
  • Mandate industry to become an active partner in waste management, with programs that decrease packaging, reuse or recycle materials, and pay for their proportionate share of the waste produced;
  • Lobby Province to recognize the Durham York energy from waste facility as an acceptable alternative to dispose of waste;
  • Expand waste management program to include apartments and office buildings.

New Official Plan

Fact:

95 % of Richmond Hill’s 2010 Official Plan  has been approved by the OMB with the exception of the employment land which have been contested

Action Plan:

  • Pursue the implementation of the new Official Plan that consolidates all existing by-laws and uses, protects environmental areas, preserves neighbourhoods and buildings of historic value, and directs the development of the community along transit corridors;
  • Promote an economic development office to promote the community and attract businesses to Richmond Hill;
  • Facilitate policies that encourage mixed use neighbourhoods where people can live, work and play;
  • Coordinate the Town’s new Official Plan with the neighbouring municipalities and the Region of York to ensure that there is consistency, compatibility and transition in the development of neighbourhoods; and,
  • Protect employment lands from being rezoned to other uses and promote employment opportunities so that residents can work within the community and reduce commuting distances.

Policing

Fact:

York Region is one of the safest communities in Canada. However, rapid population growth contributes to increasing costs.

Action Plan:

  • Support ‘smart’ investment practices to maintain excellent police services while containing costs;
  • Encourage residents to participate and share the responsibility of law enforcement in their neighbourhoods through programs such as Neighbourhood Watch and Road Watch; and,
  • Promote community educational programs on protection and safety.

Property Taxes

Fact:

Rising property taxes are a major concern especially for those on fixed incomes.

Action Plan:

  • Promote policies to help people on fixed income stay in their homes;
  • Tender projects and services to the lowest qualified bidder;
  • Lobby the Province to take back or provide municipalities with proper funding for services that were downloaded such as social services and assisted housing; and,
  • Implement a zero-based budgeting approach where departments must prioritize projects for approval and restrict spending to budget limits.

Community Building

Fact:

Richmond Hill a proud and diverse multicultural community in Canada.

Action Plan:

  • Enhance community building programs such as Character Community and Communities In Bloom by promoting public participation with stakeholders, interest groups and public agencies;
  • Enact policies that promote social planning, community health, environmental protection, education, innovation and a mix of quality housing
  • Celebrate diversity through community-wide events such as Tastes of the Hill and Canada Day; and,
  • Actively promote Richmond Hill as one of the leading small cities of the future across North and South America as identified in fDi Magazine and by the Conference Board of Canada—City Magnets II

Social Services

Fact:

York Region’s waiting list for social housing has grown above 11,000 households and continues to grow. Furthermore, the number of low income seniors, homeless youth and people with special needs is expected to double by 2031.

Action Plan:

  • Increase the quantity of social housing units by investing and building new housing projects with public and private partners;
  • Enact by-laws and zoning regulations that facilitate the introduction of affordable housing and rental units within neighbourhoods; and,
  • Engage Provincial and Federal Governments to commit equitable funding policies based on growth, rather than historic trends, to ensure social service programs keep pace with growth.
  • Build more affordable housing projects for low income seniors families and youth such as the Richmond Hill Hub and Belinda’s Place for homeless and battered women.