The Regional Municipality Of York

    >>

York Regional Council Highlights - March 29, 2018



Tribute to Durham Region Chairman and CEO Roger Anderson

York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson paid tribute to the life and legacy of Roger Anderson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Regional Municipality of Durham who died on Saturday, March 24 following a courageous fight with cancer. The Regional Municipality of York offers sympathies to his family, friends and political colleagues. Chairman Anderson will be remembered for his dedication to putting the best interests of his residents and businesses first and foremost.


York Region Matters: Spring edition coming to a mailbox near you

York Regional Council received the spring edition of York Region Matters. The publication aims to keep residents up-to-date on the important programs and services impacting the lives of our growing communities.

Highlights of this edition include:

  • How your dollars make sense; details on York Region’s $3-billion budget
  • Top three intersection improvements breaking ground in 2018
  • Recover as the fourth R in Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Beginning this week, the newsletter will be distributed to more than 380,000 homes and businesses across York Region. Have your say on future editions by providing feedback on our content and services. Visit york.ca/yorkregionmatters and complete the survey for a chance to win a $50 gift card to one of York Region’s shopping malls.


Election of Regional Chair – municipal campaign contribution rebate program

York Regional Council received a report providing information and options regarding a municipal election campaign contribution rebate program, as it pertains to the elected Regional Chair position. Council voted not to pursue options outlined in the report for the upcoming 2018 municipal election. However, a motion was passed to request the Province amend the Income Tax Act to expand the eligibility provisions of the election contribution tax credit to include contributions made to municipal election campaigns.


Transportation needs and funding considerations

York Regional Council received a presentation outlining the objectives of the 2016 Transportation Master Plan, transportation capital priorities and the Region’s funding capabilities.

The Region has invested a record amount in transportation infrastructure during this term of Council, and a large transportation capital plan can continue to be supported with the current fiscal framework. The 2016 Transportation Master Plan can only be partially implemented within existing tax levy and debt constraints.

To respond to residents’ and Council’s desire for more transportation investment, the Region has recently tabled an amendment to add 56 growth-related road projects identified in the Transportation Master Plan to the 2017 Development Charge Bylaw. This amendment will be brought to Council, in final form, for approval on May 17, 2018.

Council was presented with an option to consider in a future budget process that could advance the construction of high priority road projects identified in the 10-year capital plan. This option involves a one per cent incremental roads tax levy each year for five years.


2018 federal budget and how it relates to York Region

York Regional Council received an update on the recent federal budget and its potential impact to York Region’s service delivery and/or finances.

Among the areas covered:

  • Tax revenue from cannabis sales: It is estimated York Region and its local cities and towns will receive $3.3 million over two years
  • Rural Broadband: The government will be providing $100 million in funding over five years; area of focus will be on low Earth orbit satellite technology which may serve in a complementary role to York Region’s current broadband options
  • Income supports for low-income Canadians: Effective 2019, an estimated 300,000 workers across Canada will receive benefits through the new Canada Workers Benefit. Additional funds for low-cost loans related to rental housing were tabled, however, its impact on housing affordability and rental supply remains uncertain.

Regional Council remuneration

Salaries and benefits are paid by local cities and towns to their respective members of Regional Council, and then recovered from the Region. Annual remuneration for 2017 was $55,234 from January 1 to March 31, and $56,195 from April 1 onward.

Funding for remuneration and expenses for members of Regional Council is included in the annual operating budget.


York Region recognized by the Ontario Public Works Association

The Regional Municipality of York received four awards from the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) for Projects of the Year and Technical Innovation in the public works profession.

The following Environmental Services and Transportation Services projects were recognized:

  • Queensville Holland Landing Sharon wastewater servicing project
  • 2nd Concession project
  • Keswick Water Treatment Plant Upgrades
  • East Vaughan Pumping Station Re-chloramination Facility and watermain project

The OPWA program recognizes outstanding individuals, groups and organizations representing the best public works profession.


Award-winning road services recognized at Regional Council

The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) presented York Region with two John Niedra Better Practices Awards for innovation and better practices. York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson proudly accepted the awards and acknowledged the work of the project teams.

In the category of Innovative Service Delivery OGRA recognized York Region for its commitment to making winter road operations more efficient. The Snow Plow Signal Pre-emption Initiative marks York Region as the first municipality in Canada to use similar technology emergency vehicles use, when travelling through intersections.

In the category of Innovative Management Practices York Region was recognized for our ability to implement systematic approaches to most efficiency manage more than 1,800 road-related tasks and activities, all at the same time.


York Region receives 99.96 per cent on 2017 drinking water report

York Region achieved top marks on the 2017 Drinking Water Report which show 99.96 per cent of the 2017 laboratory samples comply with provincial water quality standards as confirmed by Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report.

The Drinking Water Systems Report summarizes how York Region’s drinking water systems performed in 2017. More than 15,000 laboratory drinking water tests were performed and 36 million online analyzer readings were recorded to confirm the quality of Regional tap water.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, York Region reports annually on the quality and quantity of drinking water produced. It is one component of a multi-barrier approach which also includes source water protection, operator training, water treatment, extensive monitoring and testing, as well as emergency preparedness.

York Region has also developed an online tool which allows anyone to view the performance of York Region water systems and drinking water quality details in an accessible and easy to understand format. Access to the new online reporting tool is available at york.ca/drinkingwater


York Region 2017 vacant employment and land inventory report

York Regional Council received the 2017 Vacant Employment and Land Inventory report outlining the provincially designated land available for employment purposes (such as office towers) in York Region.

Report highlights include:

  • 2,588 net hectares of vacant employment lands available within designated employment areas and 41 per cent of these lands contain an active plan of subdivision or site plan
  • 84 per cent or 2,183 net hectares of vacant employment lands are within five kilometres of a 400-series highway and nearly two thirds are within 500 metres of a transit stop
  • The City of Vaughan has the largest supply of vacant employment land in York Region, with 40 per cent of the total inventory
  • Approximately 283 net hectares of vacant employment lands were built between 2013 and 2017

Employment growth in York Region continues to promote economic vitality – a key pillar of the York Region 2015- 2019 Strategic Plan. The vacant employment land inventory will inform York Region’s Employment Strategy, as part of the Municipal Comprehensive Review and updating of the York Region Official Plan.


York Region continues to support a waste-free future in Ontario

York Regional Council reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing a zero-waste future as set out in the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 by advocating for early transition to full producer responsibility before the current provincial target of 2023.

The Act includes plans to divert even more waste from landfills by re-examining what gets recycled through municipal Blue Box programs and how they are managed.

The proposed changes set out in Ontario’s Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016, intend to:

  • Encourage more innovative packaging design
  • Reduce packaging waste and overall environmental impact
  • Result in cost-savings for municipalities
  • Improve the recycling program experience

York Region will continue to engage and work with our local cities, towns and the province to provide a Regional perspective on issues related to the Waste-Free Ontario Act while delivering a Blue Box program that meets the needs and best interest of our communities.

For information on waste reduction initiatives in York Region, visit york.ca/sm4rtliving and to learn about reuse, recycling and disposal options for unwanted items, visit york.ca/bindicator


2017 transit performance update

York Region Transit (YRT/Viva) ridership reached 23.1 million in 2017. This is an increase of 300,000 riders or 1.2 per cent, when compared to 2016 ridership statistics.

These ridership statistics and other system performance updates are contained in the 2017 Transit Performance report. York Region’s investment in public transit provides residents with an enhanced, efficient and reliable transit service.


Modifications to the York Durham Sewage System (YDSS) forcemain twinning

York Regional Council received an update regarding modification to the York Durham Sewage System, a significant component of the Upper York Sewage Solutions project.

On March 7, 2018 the Province approved York Region proceeding with twinning of the wastewater forcemains and alterations to the Newmarket and Bogart Creek Sewage Pumping stations.

The project will include a new 5.2-kilometre forcemain (sewer) from the existing Newmarket Pumping Station to the existing sewer that discharges to the Aurora Sewage Pumping Station, as well as a new 0.5-kilometre forcemain from the existing Bogart Creek Sewage Pumping Station to the new Newmarket forcemain.

Given the potential risk to public health and the natural environment due to either sewer breaks or high-flow conditions, York Region requested the Ministry separate the York Durham Sewage System modifications component from the other two components of the Upper York Sewage Solutions Individual Environmental Assessment and exempt it from the Environmental Assessment Act. This allows the Region to proceed with implementing this work.

York Region will continue to work with Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and the Town of Newmarket to deliver this project in a collaborative manner. York Region will continue to coordinate with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on the other two components of the Upper York Sewage Solutions project.


Economic development 2017 year in review

York Regional Council received the York Economic Development 2017 Year in Review Report. The report summarized last year’s economic activity and the impact York Region programs had on business growth.

Highlights include:

  • Employment in York Region outpaces national, provincial and Gr eater Toronto Area average, up 3.3 per cent
  • York Region remains a destination of choice for global businesses; since 2010 Regional business advocacy programs helped create over 3,000 jobs York Link continues to expand its reach digitally to attract employers, with 40,000 web visits and 18,600 social media followers last year
  • The Toronto-York Spadina subway extension into York Region is driving major development and fueling economic growth
  • Innovation and research remain important - York Region was selected as a Smart 21 Community from approximately 380 global applicants

Economic vitality is a strategic priority of York Regional Council as outlined in Vision 2051, the York Region Official Plan and the Strategic Plan. The findings in the 2017 Year in Review Report were guided by the Economic Development Action Plan 2016 to 2019.


Canada’s National Housing Strategy: a place to call home

York Regional Council received a report regarding Canada’s National Housing Strategy: A Place to Call Home. The 10-year, $40 billion plan aims to stabilize funding for social housing, renew and repair existing properties, provide monthly rent benefits to renting households and assist residents in finding and keeping housing.

The Strategy is expected to positively impact our communities by providing direct support to families and individuals in need of affordable housing, further supporting the Region’s 10-Year Housing Plan, Vision 2051 and the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, the Human Services Planning Board of York Region 2016-2018 Action Plan and the Seniors Strategy.


York Region to modernize the subsidized housing wait list

York Regional Council approved a recommendation to change the eligibility for asset and income limits for future and current tenants of subsided housing across York Region. Asset limits for new tenants will be set at $75,000 and existing tenants will have a $150,000 asset limit. An asset is anything of value that can be converted to cash, such as savings accounts, vehicles, properties and investments. Effective October 1, 2018, income limits for new tenants will be set at the 40th income percentile, rounded to the nearest thousand and will be reviewed every three years.

Currently, applicants are added to the wait list based on the date they complete their submission and there is no limit on the amount of assets or income an applicant can have at the time of application. The wait list has doubled in size to over 14,000 households over the last seven years, causing significantly longer wait times. Applicants in 2016 waited an average of 7.4 years for a subsidized housing unit.
 
Changes to the administration of the wait list will ensure the Region’s limited housing resources are targeted to residents who are most in need of support while better aligning current residents’ needs with a broader range of support and services.

I count. I’m not just a number

From April 17 to 20, 2018, The Regional Municipality of York will conduct its 2018 Homeless Count: I Count. I’m Not Just a Number. During this time Regional staff and volunteers will connect with as many York Region residents as possible who are unsheltered, emergency sheltered, those who are experiencing hidden homelessness (couch surfing or living with friends and family) and sleeping outdoors. The goal is to better identify the Region’s most vulnerable residents and provide them with the supports and programs they need to get off the streets and into their own homes.

I Count supports Council’s strategic objectives of protecting public health and increasing the range of available and affordable housing choices and mandated by the Province of Ontario under the Housing Services Act, 2011. Moving forward, the count is set to take place every two years.


Water and wastewater research brings innovative solutions

York Regional Council received an update on water and wastewater research activities undertaken in 2017, demonstrating the Region’s continued progress to stay ahead of regulatory changes in the water and wastewater industry and implement innovative solutions.

Highlights of ongoing and future projects include:

  • Investigating alternative sources of disinfection by-products
  • Investigating emerging contaminants at the source
  • Innovative upgrades to improve water quality in local municipal distribution systems
  • Early detection and treatment of blue-green algae toxins
  • Mussel control at drinking water intakes
  • Data Analytics to Drive Energy Optimization

These ongoing efforts demonstrate York Region’s commitment to continuous improvement, leadership and operational excellence in water and wastewater service delivery.


Bird-friendly standards

York Regional Council received an update on bird-friendly guidelines and requirements implemented in the City of Markham to help avoid the unnecessarily death of birds who collide with buildings emitting reflective light. York Region staff will provide York Regional Council with a report outlining recommendations to help mitigate the unnecessarily death of birds through design practices.

These efforts demonstrate York Region’s commitment to The Greening Strategy and support healthy natural environments and sustainable communities today and for the future.


Next regular meeting of York Regional Council

York Regional Council will meet on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 9 a.m. in the York Region Administrative Centre Council Chambers, located at 17250 Yonge Street in the Town of Newmarket.


The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns, and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 51,000 businesses with 620,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices.

- 30 -
 
Compiled by:
Lauren Villani, Communications Advisor, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675, ext. 71207
Cell: 905-251-6412
Email: lauren.villani@york.ca


York Regional Council; Council Highlights; March Council Highlights The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release