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When on the cusp of a by-election be wary of "feel good" Member Motions

If Richmond Hill residents have learned anything from this current term of council we've learned that certain Councillors always seem to have ulterior motives with every motion and "free" giveaway event that they bring forward.

With an impending by-election to fill the Richmond Hill Mayor's seat be wary of a sudden flurry of "feel good" Member Motions.

For example there are two Member Motions coming forward to the October 13th council meeting. On the surface these are good "we really care" motions about restoring the cenotaph and an outdoor AED unit for Lake Wilcox Park. What's not to like?

When digging a bit deeper you realize that there may be more to the story, which may or may not matter to many, but does make one wonder how altruistic the Councillors' motions are.

The Central York Girls Hockey Association (CYGHA), have done an amazing job of raising thousands of dollars through their “She Shoots…She Saves” campaign and have placed outdoor AEDs in their communities. A great initiative! According to Councillor Perrelli it was through his support of the CYGHA, that they have decided to place an outdoor AED at Lake Wilcox Park.

Installing a lifesaving AED anywhere and everywhere is a good thing and we are grateful to CYGHA for their incredible fundraising and for donating the outdoor AED and this post is not meant to diminish their accomplishments and altruism in any way. We the residents of Richmond Hill appreciate and thank them for their AED donation.

The questions are with Councillor Perrelli and how he already accepted the gift of the outdoor AED on May 25, 2021 and decided where it was going to be installed and all without council approval.

He then sat on this AED gift for 5 months only to unveil it as a "feel good" member motion when we are on the cusp of a by-election.

  • Who decided that the AED be installed at Lake Wilcox?

  • Why not at Richmond Green a much larger recreation area with many more users?

  • How much will the installation and ongoing maintenance cost?

According to Perrelli's motion staff have already met and consulted with the AED installation company. At a recent meeting Perrelli himself said "staff do not take direction from individual members of council they only take direction from council as a whole".

  • So who authorized staff to begin consultations with the installer if council hadn't approved this new level of service?

Suffice it to say that the generous gift by CYGHA should have been brought forward by Perrelli to council months ago for the appropriate approval process and with a staff report detailing costs and a location assessment. CYGHA deserve official recognition and thanks from the City and it's residents it should not be just another Perrelli pre-election and self promoting photo op or video.

The motion states that city staff be directed to work with the Richmond Hill Legion on cenotaph restoration and potential expansion; and that a budget of $20,000 be set aside from the community enhancement reserve fund for this project.

There is no question that the cenotaph is a treasured part of Richmond Hill and if it needs restoration then it needs to be done but this too should come to council with a staff report detailing costs and what restoration is required. It should not be a motion directing staff to work with the Legion and spending $20,000 without council knowing what work is required and the costs involved.

There is no mention that in 2016 the cenotaph underwent a $175,000 major restoration paid from capital funding and $25,000 from a Federal Monument Restoration fund. According to this article by Kim Zarzour the cenotaph was restored to more closely resemble its original façade. Seems odd that after only 5 years the Cenotaph again has "major restoration needs that affects it’s appearance, safety and accessibility to residents" one would have thought those issues would have been addressed went it underwent the extensive $175,000 renovation.

It's also surprising that Budget Vice-chair Beros is so willing to just hand out $20K of our tax dollars without due diligence when it suits his needs. This "feel good" motion makes him look good so maybe that's all that matters.

The moral of the story is when voting for our next Mayor or Councillor look beyond the "feel good" motions and "free" giveaways.
Instead look at each candidate's performance and behaviour since being elected to council and base your voting decision on that. Be an informed voter!


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