A farewell col­umn to Thorn­hill

Thornhill Post - - News - Va­lerie Burke Thorn­hill Ward 1 Coun­cil­lor

It has been my priv­i­lege and plea­sure to work with you as your lo­cal Thorn­hill coun­cil­lor for the last 12 years. We have ac­com­plished many pro­jects to make our com­mu­nity more sus­tain­able, beau­ti­ful and liv­able, while also pro­tect­ing the an­i­mals that roam around us.

In Au­gust 2005, Thorn­hill was hit by a se­vere rain­storm dur­ing which storm wa­ter runoff ex­ceeded the ca­pac­ity of drainage sys­tems, caus­ing ex­ten­sive flood­ing of pri­vate prop­erty and road­ways. This was a se­ri­ous wake-up call about the chal­lenges with ex­treme weather re­sult­ing from cli­mate change as well as in­ad­e­quate storm wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture. Res­i­dents and I ad­vo­cated for a city­wide storm wa­ter fee to help Thorn­hill res­i­dents save thou­sands of dol­lars and fund this $234 mil­lion mul­ti­year project. Many phases of this project have been com­pleted start­ing with the most flood­vul­ner­a­ble neigh­bour­hoods.

In 2014, we wel­comed 15 cats to the new Markham Cat Adop­tion and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre, a first of its kind in Canada. Also in 2014, Markham’s bird-friendly guide­lines were im­ple­mented to help pre­vent mi­gra­tory and res­i­dent birds from death/in­jury due to col­li­sions with glass.

In 2016, Thorn­hill be­came the first ward in Markham to es­tab­lish a “but­ter­fly way” in con­junc­tion with the David Suzuki Foun­da­tion. Sev­eral ca­noes with flow­ers were planted by the com­mu­nity and school chil­dren to com­mem­o­rate Canada’s 150th birthday. The ef­forts of Pomona Mills Park Con­ser­va­tion­ists and res­i­dents have trans­formed Thorn­hill Meadow into a sig­nif­i­cant pol­li­na­tor meadow with na­tive wild­flow­ers and milk­weed for the monarch but­ter­flies.

For many years we have been ad­vo­cat­ing for the Yonge sub­way ex­ten­sion process. Many stud­ies and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions have been com­pleted over the years, and the process needs to con­tinue. Work­ing with coun­cil­lors Alan Shef­man (Vaughan) and God­win Chan (Rich­mond Hill) and our col­lec­tive mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, the project is now in the pre­lim­i­nary plan­ning, de­sign and engi­neer­ing phase. The pre­vi­ous provin­cial gov­ern­ment con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing and the Yonge sub­way ex­ten­sion is a top pri­or­ity for York Re­gion.

In Oc­to­ber, a new Ward 1 coun­cil­lor will be elected, and it is my hope that im­prove­ments to Thorn­hill will con­tinue to be sup­ported with the vi­sion to think glob­ally, act lo­cally and plan for the well-be­ing of our com­mu­nity into the fu­ture, be­yond the next four po­lit­i­cal years.

“Think glob­ally, act lo­cally and plan for the well­be­ing of our com­mu­nity.”

Out­go­ing Ward 1 coun­cil­lor Va­lerie Burke

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