Central Business District Laneway Project a Priority for Canada - Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund - Intake Two
The Central Business District (CBD) Laneway Project will be presented as a priority for the Canada-Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (COMRIF) - Intake Two as approved by Council. The second of three intakes, this stage was launched on June 16, 2005 by the Federal and Provincial governments whose project priorities are local water and wastewater, local bridges and roads and solid waste management. These priorities, in turn, must be supportive of the federal and provincial policy directions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable water and sewage systems, economic development and increased waste diversion. Council believes that the CBD Laneways Project - a project that creates laneways, pedestrian linkages and parking behind businesses and facilities in this area - is anticipated to cost approximately $6.3 million and is the closest to meeting these requirements. The Central Business District is located on Yonge Street north of Major Mackenzie Drive to Dunlop Street. The presentation of the Town's priority demonstrates its commitment to maintaining sound fiscal management and ensures the open information flow and accessible decision-making. Contact Dan Elliott, Commissioner, Finance & Treasurer, at (905) 771-2497 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, September 19, 2005; Staff Report SRFIN.05.058, Agenda Item No. 2).
Town's 2004 Municipal Performance Measurements Program Results Received
Council received a report from staff concerning the 2004 Municipal Performance Measurements Program (MPMP) results. MPMP was first introduced in 2000 by the Province of Ontario and is a prescribed method by which a municipality can track the efficiency and effectiveness of its delivery of services. MPMP results are intended for comparison of year over year results for the same municipality and are not an effective comparison amongst municipalities. By definition, efficiency refers to the amount of resources used to produce a given amount of service and effectiveness is the extent to which a service is achieving its intended results. The Town of Richmond Hill is fulfilling its obligation to the Province of Ontario by reporting these results to the Province and to taxpayers. Presenting the 2004 MPMP results also demonstrates responsible municipal management, ensures open information flow and accessible decision-making and communicates information on municipal services, events and programs to stakeholders. The Report is expected to be available on the Town's Website by Friday, September 30, 2005. Contact Dan Elliott, Commissioner, Finance & Treasurer, at (905) 771-2497 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held Monday, September 19, 2005; Staff Report SRFIN.05.060, Agenda Item No. 4).
Accessibility Plan 2005/2006
Council approved the Town of Richmond Hill's September 2005 - September 2006 Accessibility Plan. The Ontarians with Disability Act 2001 requires the Town to prepare an Accessibility Plan annually to outline the measures that the Town has taken in the past year and measures that the Town will take during the next year to identify, remove and prevent barriers to people with disabilities, including staff and residents, who use the Town's facilities and services. For example, the Plan recommends an audit of all municipal buildings in 2006 to ensure that accessibility issues have been addressed. In addition, the Plan also recommends that the Town work with the Town of Markham and City of Vaughan to update the 1998 Joint Accessibility Design Guidelines, of which all three municipalities produced together. The Plan will be available for public review after September 30, 2005 and will, subsequently, be posted on the Town's Website. Contact Italo Brutto, Commissioner, Engineering & Public Works, at (905) 771-8800, ext. 4401 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held Monday, September 19, 2005; Staff Report SRE.05.104, Agenda Item No. 7).
Council Appoints New Commissioner of Engineering & Public Works
Council unanimously agreed to appoint Italo Brutto as the Commissioner of Engineering & Public Works for the Town of Richmond Hill. Mr. Brutto has many years of experience with the Town, serving most recently as the Director of Maintenance & Operations and, preceding that, as the Director of Construction. Prior to joining the Town's engineering management team, he worked with the Region of York as a Senior Plans Approval Engineer. Mr. Brutto has many years of experience within municipal engineering and brings with him the skills needed to manage the Engineering & Public Works (EPW) Department. This EPW Department is divided into four divisions, including Maintenance & Operations; Design & Construction; Development & Technical Services; and Asset Management, and is responsible for a wide variety of important services that directly impact the quality of life enjoyed by the community, including road design, construction and maintenance, all construction and maintenance of all Town-owned facilities, waste management (garbage and recycling), as well as maintaining water and wastewater distribution. Mr. Brutto will also be responsible for an annual budget of more than $38 million and a staff of 111. He fills the position recently made vacant by Bruce Macgregor who is now a Commissioner at the Region of York. Mr. Brutto will assume the position immediately and joins the Town's Senior Management Team comprised of the Chief Administrative Officer and six Commissioners heading the Town's departments. Contact Joan Anderton, Chief Administrative Officer, at (905) 771-8800, ext. 3834 (From Council Meeting held on Monday, September 26, 2005; New Business).
Town Continues its Support of Principles of Open, Transparent and Accountable Government
Richmond Hill Council, in support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario's (AMO) position to oppose the passage of Bill 123, Transparency in Public Matters Act, 2004, will make a submission to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills. AMO believes that Bill 123, if passed, would conflict with the rules of the Municipal Act, 2001 and Richmond Hill Council recommends that changes of this nature should not be discussed outside of the context of the Act. In addition, the Town of Richmond Hill has always supported the principles of open, transparent and accountable municipal government and has conducted its business in keeping with the current provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001. Passage of this Bill would be contrary to current efforts to create a more mature provincial/municipal relationship and to eliminate the prescriptive nature of municipal legislation as was provided in the current Municipal Act, 2001. Contact Doug Luker, Commissioner, Corporate Services, at (905) 771-2485 (From Council Meeting held on Monday, September 26, 2005; Staff Report SRCAO.05.12, Agenda Item No. 6).
Town Continues to Support Veterans
Council gave its permission to The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 375, to conduct its annual Poppy Campaign within Richmond Hill from Friday, October 28 to Friday, November 11. Council supported, as requested, the Town observing a two-minute Wave of Silence at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day. Richmond Hill Council strongly supports Canadian veterans and their families in a variety of measures and in this, the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, proclaimed the year 2005 as the Year of the Veteran (as noted by the flag flying at the Main Municipal Offices). Other veteran events Richmond Hill supports include the annual Remembrance Day parade of dignitaries and veterans and the Veterans Honour Ride, of which Mayor Bell and Members of Council have participated in since its inception. Also of note, in March of this year, Council approved several proposed street names for addition to the Town's Approved Street Name List for future use in honour of commemorating veterans. Contact Robert Prowse, Director, Council Support Services/Town Clerk, at (905) 771-2511 or, for more information about poppy sales, contact Al Kinsman, Poppy Chairman, at (905) 884-7030 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, September 19, 2005; New Business).
Supporting the Arts Community
As part of its ongoing commitment to the arts community, Council approved funding in the amount of $2,000 to assist the York Region Newspaper Group in their efforts to organize their Celebration of the Arts event being held on Saturday, October 22, 2005. The event, now in its fifth year, helps raise money for educational bursaries awarded to young artists from York Region. The Celebration of the Arts program goal is to make a positive difference in the community by encouraging aspiring and talented artists to realize their dreams. The comprehensive program involves an application process, as well as adjudication events where artists compete for scholarships in the categories of dance, opera, theatre, instrumental and popular music, as well as vocals. The gift from Richmond Hill will allow the Town to become a popular benefactor, establishing a bursary in the Town's name, which will be awarded on behalf of the Municipality to a deserving young artist. The Town also supports the arts locally through a number of other programs, including the seasonal film festival, Studio Tour & Art Sale and Heritage Village day, to name a few. Council is pleased to support arts programs, as they contribute o the quality of life in communities, enriching the experiences of citizens, as well as providing opportunities for artistic expression. Contact Mayor William F. Bell at (905) 771-8800, ext. 3123, or Debra Weller, Chair, Celebration of the Arts event for the York Region Newspaper Group at (905) 294-2200 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, September 19, 2005; New Business).
Character Community Day Proclaimed
Council proclaimed Wednesday, October 19, 2005 as Character Community Day in and for the Town of Richmond Hill. Character Community Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance and benefits demonstrating and fostering good character provides business, education, community groups and families. It also affords the opportunity to focus on character development and the ability to develop practical means for building good character. By raising awareness of the importance of good character with an annual Character Community Day, the Town of Richmond Hill emphasizes the importance of implementing positive character attributes into the daily actions of individuals and groups who live and work in York Region. Richmond Hill Council declared the Town a Character Community in May 2002. The Town has since held various events to promote its involvement with the Character Community initiative, including donating 11 street signs to Alexander Mackenzie High School in support of their Character Matters program and holding a "Living with Character" contest. The Town also launched the program for staff in October 2004. The launch featured a video, slideshow and an information session, as well as a visit from former Toronto Maple Leafs Captain and Character Community Program supporter, Wendel Clark. Character Community Day will also be celebrated in many other municipalities throughout the Region. Contact Robert Prowse, Director, Council Support Services/Town Clerk, at (905) 771-2511 (From Committee of the Whole Meeting held on Monday, September 19, 2005; Agenda Item No. 10).
The next Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 6, 2005 at 4:30 p.m. and the next Council meeting is Tuesday, October 11, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held in Council Chambers.