I want to start by sending a huge ‘THANK YOU’ out to everyone who wrote, texted or called me with messages of support for my candidacy to become the next
Mayor of Richmond Hill. The response has been overwhelming and I cannot thank you all enough. Hearing from so many people has truly been humbling and has further inspired myself, and the campaign team, as we are planning our campaign activities over the next few months. I am looking forward to getting to meet as many residents as possible both
virtually and in-person.
conversations about how we can make it even better, for both current and future residents.
We live in an amazing community and I am looking forward to engaging in
As we ramp up our campaign plans, I am hoping you will take a few minutes to check out our “How Can I Get Involved?” page on our website https://votedavidwest.ca/get-involved/ There are links there to sign up to volunteer, to get a lawn sign (these will go up at the end of December) and, if you can, to donate. Even if you cannot be actively involved, anything you can do to share information on our campaign, and share your support with your friends, neighbours, family and any organizations that you may be part of, is greatly appreciated.
Why Am I Running?
This is a question that I have been asked almost daily since I announced my candidacy Ultimately, my decision to run for Mayor was based on my commitment to work to build a better Richmond Hill. We are a community that has many, many positive elements. We have an abundance of people committed to their community, a thriving and innovative small business community, an abundance of green space and community services and a strong and vibrant arts community to mention just a few of the things that make this place special. None of these things are perfect and all need to be nourished and supported as our city continues to grow. City government must be a positive force as we embrace the future and sustain what is working well today. I know that I want to be part of a City government that works with Staff, Residents, Community Groups, Businesses and all members of the Richmond Hill community to make this a place where we all thrive. I believe I bring the experience, skills and commitment to public service to this role, and can provide the leadership needed to make the City government a positive force in the community.
I am going to use this section of the updates to start a dialogue on the things that I believe are most important to the residents of Richmond Hill. Each week, I will look at a selection of topics that I believe are important to all of us in Richmond Hill. I would love to hear your thoughts on these or any other areas that interest/concern you. You can send your comments/thoughts to email@example.com.
Places That Make Richmond Hill Special
While communities are, ultimately, defined by their people, places where people gather and, which are treasured by neighbourhoods, are also an important element of any city. Richmond Hill has an abundance of such places – Mill Pond, Richmond Green, Lake Wilcox Park, Phyllis Rawlinson Park, the David Dunlap Observatory, McConaghy Centre and many, many others. One of the things that I am very proud of, is the way the City has committed to both sustaining these important places and ensuring we are planning to have them continue to be vibrant places for the future. As an example, the Parks Department sustains Mill Pond Park as wonderful place for the community to gather, stroll around or just sit and appreciate watching the pond wildlife. The Richmond Hill Artists are an active presence at the Mill Pond and maintain a gallery in an adjoining City owned building. Whether it is hosting Concerts in the Park, the Winter Carnival or a multitude of other festivals and events, the Mill Pond Park is a historic site that has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the community. At the same time, we are in the process of developing the Mill Pond Park Revitalization Plan, which is a highly collaborative effort managed through the Planning Department and involving many City departments with multiple points where resident input is solicited. This plan will ensure that Mill Pond Park continues to be an important place in our community, and it is a shining example of how City government can be a positive force in all our lives. Going forward, we need to ensure that all of the important places in Richmond Hill are sustained and plans are made to ensure they continue to thrive in the future.
The Role of the Arts in Richmond Hill
I have always been a strong believer that supporting the Arts is an important role for City government. Fundamentally, the Arts matter. The statement from the Creative City Network of Canada resonates strongly with me:
“Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. Arts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.”
We have a vibrant and energetic arts community here in Richmond Hill and I have been honoured to serve on a number of boards and committees that support some of our local arts groups. While it is easy to get caught up in issues around growth, development, transportation, housing, etc. (all of which are very important), I believe it is also important to remember that we must support our Arts community if we are to truly consider ourselves as a fully developed City. Whether it is art programs being offered through our Recreational Programming, support for local arts groups, sustaining a vibrant
and varied program at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts or supporting the many local artists who enrich this community, I will always advocate for the role of the City in supporting the Arts.
To close, a big Thank You to all of you who have reached out in support of my campaign to become the Mayor of Richmond Hill. If you are interested in getting involved, please check out the ways you can do so on my website votedavidwest.ca/get-involved. I would love to hear your thoughts on the first installment of Looking Forward.. please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
David West, Candidate for Mayor, Richmond Hill