You asked? RH Councillors Answer! Councillor Karen Cilevitz

You asked the following questions so CAG sent to all Councillors. CAG received the responses below from Councillor Karen Cilevitz.

Motion on climate change: Is there an expected report related to a climate change motion? If so, when is it anticipated? Will Council address a climate change motion again?

Councillor Cilevitz’s response: Staff were directed by Council on June 11, 2019, to report back to Council within 6 months with quantifiable action items on addressing climate emergency. This staff report is to be presented to Council on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Council Meeting, 9:30 am.

I am very pleased with this staff report which definitively shows that Richmond Hill, as other municipalities have already undertaken, should consider clear action/s to address the impacts of climate change, both in the local and broader sense. I fully support all informed discussion and any subsequent actions deemed necessary to address the concerns relating to climate change, and I look forward to the fulsome discussion and debate on February 12 at Council regarding this matter.

It is my hope that as a municipality, we can move positively forward to ensure Richmond Hill effectively addresses the concerning issue of a global climate emergency, directly affecting us all.

Should you wish to address Council as a Delegate regarding this matter, please ensure you send your Delegation Request to the Clerks Department by noon, Tuesday, February 11: clerks@richmondhill.ca : Agenda Item 13.8: https://pub-richmondhill.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=30516

Indigenous Peoples: Will the land acknowledgement motion be brought back to Council? How many Richmond Hill staff have been offered the Indigenous Peoples education package and how many staffers have participated in the course? Will this course be offered to residents?

Councillor Cilevitz’s response: I fully support bringing back a motion to Council to amend our Procedural By-law to include an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement to open our Council Meetings, together with the singing of O Canada.

I continue to have discussions with some of my fellow members of Council to ensure we undertake this as soon as possible.

It is my absolute belief that in order for us, as individual residents and as a municipality as a whole, to respectfully acknowledge Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, an Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, in keeping with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, should become a welcome and wanted part of the official opening of every Richmond Hill Council meeting.

The Indigenous Peoples education package was offered to all staff in 2019 in keeping with the direction of Council. I have no information as to how many staff participated as of this date, and I would definitely support a direction from Council that this same education package be offered to our residents.

Fire Safety: How did the Council determine the number of firefighters needed for Richmond Hill? Has do those numbers per-capita compare with other municipalities in York Region? What is the plan for a highrise emergency? To what extent are the firefighters of Richmond Hill equipped/prepared to handle such a crisis?

Councillor Cilevitz’s response: In June, 2016, Council received the Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan Final Report prepared by Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services senior staff which, amongst many addressed issues, clearly laid out the necessities of future personnel hirings and the future purchase of more fire emergency equipment. These recommendations were to take effect via implementations through both future Capital and Operating Budgets.

I continue to support the tenets of the 2016 Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan, and look forward to Fire Chief Kraft’s review of this document when he brings the 2020 iteration to Council this coming spring.

According to the 2016 Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan, Richmond Hill’s current structure and envisaged future plans relative to fire and emergency preparedness compare well with other York Region Municipalities with similar population and area size.

In order for us to maintain appropriate service levels in a growing municipality, and in keeping with legislative requirements, necessary improvements must be made in the coming years.

I defer to the professional staff whom we trust to give us the appropriate guidance as to our next important steps. In my opinion, safety of our residents where fire and emergency services are concerned, can and should never be underestimated.

High-rise emergency plans are difficult to quantify and all high-rise buildings must have their own approved fire evacuation plans in place to protect residents. Currently, any possible rescue of residents living above the 6th floor of any high-rise building during an emergency situation, cannot be dependent on the aerial truck we currently possess as it can only reach the 6th or 7th floor of any building. High-rise rescue requires multiple emergency platforms working together to effect a successful operation.

I am fully confident that Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services are more than adequately trained and equipped to deal with any emergency situation that may arise. While we will most definitely require more firefighters and equipment to staff a growing department to appropriately and safely serve a growing municipality, these additions must be Council approved. I supported, and continue to support, the tenets of the 2016 Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan and look forward to Chief Kraft’s upcoming 2020 plan – Together in fire and life safety, always.

2016 Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan: https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/our-services/resources/rhfes-master-plan.pdf

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