Mayor Malcolm Brodie 2017 Annual Address
Richmond: Looking Forward
Presented on February 1, 2018
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We now usher in the final year of Richmond City Council’s four-year term. Province-wide, municipal elections have been advanced to October 20, after decades when they were held every three years in November.
By the end of this year, Richmond’s population should surpass 220,000 residents. Until 2041, our Official Community Plan calls for strong, steady and sustainable growth, mostly concentrated in the City Centre. This population growth is accommodated by development which has maintained its strong pace. As proof, during this Council term, the construction value of issued building permits has exceeded $2.4 billion.
Richmond remains one of Canada’s most diverse communities where we note the highest proportion of immigrants nationwide. Over 76% of our residents are identified as being members of a “visible minority”, with the ethnic origin of 54% of the City’s population being Chinese. Over 60% of Richmond residents are immigrants while 36.5% are Canadian by birth.
Also of interest, in Richmond:
- Our population is aging as the percentage of population below the age of 15 has decreased in contrast to the increase in population above the age of 65;
- Growing by 8% since 2011, the number of local housing units has reached almost 73,500; and
- Approximately 74% of all private households are owner-occupied with the balance being rented. 42% of all private households are part of a multi-family development.
In 2017, Richmond was one of the most active communities in the country as citizens from coast to coast to coast celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. In addition to dozens of local events, we undertook a number of legacy Richmond Canada 150 projects that will permanently enrich the community. I will review the Richmond Canada 150 program and some of the many great experiences, memories and legacies it created. Then I will move on to a number of other initiatives including plans for the coming year and beyond.
With 2017 being such a special year for all Canadians, we are particularly proud of how Richmond marked this anniversary milestone.
The list of recreational events and programs to mark Canada 150 is very long. Supported by special City grants, celebrations were featured each week, from small neighbourhood get-togethers to major cultural gatherings. Council also created special legacies for future years, such as:
- To depict our maritime heritage, City Council commissioned acclaimed maritime artist, John Horton, to create an original painting, Arrival of S.V. Titania. This work recalls the emergence of Steveston as an international port-of-call for ships from around the world. The original artwork, mounted in front of City Council Chambers, was re-created in a spectacular new mural on the south side of the Steveston Hotel;
- Fraser Giant, a legacy public art sculpture project mounted on the south side of City Hall, was unveiled. It reminds us of the mighty sturgeon which has for millennia plied the waters of the Fraser River. These magnificent creatures are known to live up to 150 years and may grow to up to six metres in length; and
- The substantially restored Steveston Tram No. 1220 was re-opened for the public. As one of our largest and most beloved heritage assets, this original car reminds us of the Interurban service that served Richmond and our region until 1958. Council is now reviewing the feasibility of returning it to service along a short route within the Steveston Village.
Council Term Goals
Shortly after each election, Richmond’s newly-elected City Council collaboratively determines priorities for the ensuing term. We identify important overarching priorities and underlying objectives to address.
City Council identified nine priority areas as our goals:
1. A Safe Community;
2. A Vibrant, Active and Connected City;
3. A Well-Planned Community;
4. Leadership in Sustainability;
5. Partnerships and Collaboration;
6. Quality Infrastructure Networks;
7. Strong Financial Stewardship;
8. Supportive Economic Development Environment; and
9. A Well-Informed Citizenry.
Let’s reflect on past and future challenges in the context of these Goals:
1. A Safe Community
Maintain emphasis on community safety to ensure Richmond continues to be a safe community.
Community safety continues to be one of the top priorities for City Council as Richmond remains one of the safest communities in Canada. In 2018, to maintain our security, City Council will direct about 37 cents of every tax dollar received towards police and fire-rescue services as well as emergency programs. The current budget features funding for 16 additional police officers and 3 new municipal police employees. Altogether, Council approved the hiring of 40 additional police officers and 6 municipal police support employees during the current term.
2018 will also see completion of the final step in our ambitious program to update our community safety buildings when we open our new Brighouse No. 1 Fire Hall this Spring. This closely follows the opening of the combined Cambie No. 3 Fire Hall and Ambulance Station.
Around the turn of this century, Council recognized our public safety buildings were insufficient to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing community. As most of these aging buildings had not been built to meet demanding seismic standards, they posed a real risk in the event of a major earthquake. This led Council to replace two of our oldest and most out-of-date buildings, the Sea Island and Hamilton Fire Halls. The replacement of the Steveston Fire Hall and a major retrofit of the Crestwood No. 7 Fire Hall soon followed. All of these are constructed to withstand a major earthquake and serve our community through the response and recovery stages.
City Council also seized the opportunity to acquire the building used as RCMP security headquarters for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. As significant security-related upgrades were completed for the Games, the building became the new home of the local RCMP detachment at a saving of tens of millions of dollars.
Few municipalities in such a short time period could have undertaken such a significant public safety building program. Council’s prudent approach to financial management enabled the City to finance these projects with minimal impact on our property taxes.
Looking ahead, we expect to continue making major investments in community safety, such as a closed-circuit, high definition camera system at major intersections to enhance police investigations.
2. A Vibrant, Active and Connected Community
Continue the development and implementation of an excellent and accessible system of programs, services, and public spaces that reflect Richmond’s demographics, rich heritage, diverse needs, and unique opportunities, and that facilitate active, caring, and connected communities.
One of City Council’s most exciting projects lies in the fulfilment of the longterm vision for the Garden City Lands. This 136 acre open space in the City Centre promises to emphasize our agricultural heritage, sustainability and natural environment. The new trail system surrounding the park will soon open to the public. About one-third of the Lands will become an environmental preserve, showcasing the bog ecology that historically comprised most of eastern Lulu Island. The first phase of a farm school is envisioned to soon open in partnership with Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The Richmond Harvest Fest, held for the first time last Fall on the Lands, showcased to the public this site’s potential and our agricultural heritage.
We also look forward to the summer opening of the new Minoru Centre for Active Living. As the Minoru Place Seniors Centre, Minoru Aquatics Centre and Minoru Pavilion had become outdated and inadequate to meet growing community needs, the new 110,000 sq.ft. complex will double the program space for aquatics, seniors, fitness, sport and recreation services. New public plazas and interior space will support many of the activities throughout Minoru Park.
Though the Minoru Aquatics facility has proven too costly and difficult to re-purpose, Council is reviewing uses for the balance of effective life of the existing Seniors Centre building. A strong focus will be the need for community arts programming space since demand elsewhere far exceeds capacity.
In 2017, City Council also re-opened Lang Park following redevelopment. We saw a major expansion of the fitness centre at South Arm Community Centre while preliminary planning is underway for a re-designed Steveston Community Centre and Library. We look forward to opening Aberdeen Park in City Centre North, as well as a new public waterfront pedestrian pier on the Middle Arm at Hollybridge Way.
3. A Well-Planned Community
Adhere to effective planning and growth management practices to maintain and enhance the livability, sustainability and desirability of our City and its neighbourhoods, and to ensure the results match the intentions of our policies and bylaws.
Our Official Community Plan provides a comprehensive blueprint for Richmond’s future. Sustainable growth within the highly dense City Centre is based on transit-oriented development while our single family neighbourhoods, farmland, open space and natural environment are preserved. Our inventory of employment lands supports business growth and retention to ensure we maintain a vibrant economy.
The development community has embraced our vision as they make significant investments in Richmond. Total construction value of building permits for 2017 was $709 million for our third highest year’s total.
Of particular note for the future is the rapid pace of development within the Capstan area in North Richmond. A levy on all new units built in the immediate area is being collected to amass $27 million for construction of the new Capstan Canada Line station. We hope to achieve that goal within the next two years. Station design has been funded. Near that station will be a 35,000 sq.ft. community centre to serve future area residents.
Development also remains strong elsewhere in the City Centre. For instance, public consultation is underway on a redevelopment plan for Lansdowne Centre. This new development will include a mix of commercial and office space along with new residential towers and townhomes, together with a major new park featuring an expanded public greenway along Lansdowne Road. As the project’s phase-in period is very long, most of the existing retail use of the site will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
City Council has also long sought to increase our local inventory of office space within the City Centre near the Canada Line so that residential growth can be supported by a strong employment base. New office developments along the No. 3 Road corridor have recently been approved at Public Hearing. As well, there is an office development under construction in the Bridgeport area.
To meet the needs of our rapidly-aging population, the City approved a number of new developments to increase the supply of congregate care beds in the City. These include an expansion to the Fraserview residential care facility on Williams Road and a new congregate care facility in Hamilton. A further development on the Steveston Buddhist Temple site is in process.
As Richmond grows, City Council has also experienced some stress points, particularly around the issue of house massing. This started with the phasing-out of the residential Land Use Contracts. We also introduced new limits on residential house massing and farmhouse sizes. The latter are currently under review to determine whether additional measures are required.
In Steveston, to ensure the continued vibrancy of the Village in keeping with its unique character, City Council also voiced concerns regarding the rezoning of the Mixed Maritime Use (MMU) property on the waterfront. After a number of Public Hearings, the matter is being further analyzed in the hopes of reaching a satisfactory conclusion. Council also approved an updated Steveston Area Plan, including new design guidelines for Bayview, Moncton and Chatham Streets.
During the term, Council also expressed its opinion on a number of issues, including the Province’s original plan to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a 10-lane bridge, the largest and longest of its kind in North America. Though the urgent need to address congestion on Highway 99 at the tunnel is universally understood, City Council is pleased that the new Provincial Government is taking a longer look at the original plan and viable options. While this chokepoint negatively affects our economy, our environment and our quality of life, Council believes there are preferable options to address the challenge such as upgrading and twinning the existing tunnel.
The City also expressed concern about Airport Zoning Regulation changes being sought by the Vancouver International Airport Authority (YVR). To protect the flight path of a proposed third runway at the airport, YVR has asked Transport Canada to lower potential building height limits in key areas of our City Centre. These suggestions would have dramatic impacts on both the City’s Official Community Plan and the Regional Growth Strategy, especially by compromising plans for sustainable, transit-oriented development within our City Centre. Further, awaiting analysis for the potential new runway are the significant noise and safety impacts to be experienced by local residents. While Council has always supported the airport’s growth and recognized its importance to our local, regional and national economy, there is real doubt that a new runway will ever be necessary. We hope to resolve our differences with YVR in a collaborative manner as we have done in the past.
City Council also voiced its concerns over the status of the Richmond Hospital. Opened in 1966, the acute care tower at the hospital has become an obsolete safety hazard. The need for a new tower is urgent. In the event of an emergency such as an earthquake, important services normally provided by the hospital will likely be unavailable. With generous support from our community, it is critical that the Provincial Government commit immediately to a new tower.
Looking forward, the consequences of the legalization of marijuana promise to take much attention this year. Council has indicated its strong opposition to such legalization, although the Federal Government’s commitment seems firm. Once the guidelines for production and use are formulated, there remains a myriad of details surrounding appropriately-controlled implementation in our community.
4. Leadership in Sustainability
Continue advancement of the City’s sustainability framework and initiatives to improve the short and long term livability of our City, and that maintain Richmond’s position as a leader in sustainable programs, practices and innovations.
In the past decade, Richmond’s numerous sustainability initiatives have contributed to an overall 6% reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions despite a 7% growth in population, saving $13 million in residential energy costs in one year alone. Our civic energy savings corresponds to a cumulative reduction of over 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to taking 2,500 cars off Richmond roads and reduction of $3 million in total operational costs.
As an important part of a commitment to sustainability, the City of Richmond has become a leading innovator in the development of district energy, using locally-generated energy to supplant non-renewable energy derived from fossil fuels. This approach allows us to reduce energy consumption, save taxpayer dollars, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide local energy security with pricing stability as energy costs fluctuate.
Under the umbrella organization, Lulu Island Energy Corporation, the original Alexandra District Energy Utility located in the West Cambie area has been supplemented by the Oval Village District Energy Utility. Moreover, the plan is now formulated to dramatically expand the district energy utility to include 9 million sq.ft. of development area in North Richmond. Full realization of this vision could result in Richmond having the largest district energy utility in North America.
Beyond district energy, the City remains generally committed to investment in energy conservation and reduction. This is demonstrated by a number of programs aimed to reduce energy use within civic control. We also have a wide array of energy-reduction programs to assist individual residents and businesses. Among these are rebates on the purchase of energy-saving appliances, promoting the use of electric vehicles as well as offering advice to businesses regarding energy use and cost reduction strategies.
For sustainability, since waste diversion benefits all by reducing disposal costs and enhancing our environment, Richmond has also become a regional leader in recycling. As we are already diverting 78% of our waste stream from landfills, our goal of 80% diversion by 2020 seems well within reach. To heighten the effectiveness of our efforts, City staff and residents have engaged in a major awareness campaign to reduce contamination in the curbside blue box.
Working with Metro Vancouver and the Province, the City continues to closely monitor the issue of odours emanating from the Harvest Power compost facility in East Richmond. We continue to press Harvest Power as well as Metro Vancouver, the agency responsible for air quality issues, for a permanent solution. In the meantime, the City has diverted its organics collection to another facility to further reduce the volume of material going to Harvest Power.
5. Partnerships and Collaboration
Continue development and utilization of collaborative approaches and partnerships with intergovernmental and other agencies to help meet the needs of the Richmond community.
Because no City can alone provide for every need and to ensure we remain highly livable, Richmond works with partners in government, business and the community. Further, while many increasingly-needed social services fall within the actual responsibility of other levels of government, funding of such programs has sometimes fallen short. Though City resources are limited, we are increasingly called upon to fill the gap. This has caused us to rely heavily on our partners including revenues from development activity, particularly in regards to affordable housing and child care.
Affordable housing is critically needed in Richmond as it is across our region. Home ownership and rental markets have become unavailable to many as housing costs have sharply increased. In Richmond, we want every person of every age to have the means to live here if they choose.
Late last year, we celebrated the opening of the Storeys affordable housing project on Granville Avenue near City Hall. Three levels of government and five not-for-profit agencies collaborated to create 129 affordable housing units and supportive services for residents at risk of being homeless. This unique partnership promises to serve as a model for other cities.
The opening of Storeys followed the highly-successful, City-supported Kiwanis Towers project with 295 affordable housing units for seniors. In addition, located on City-owned land, work has started on a new project with Pathways Clubhouse to provide 80 new affordable housing units for low-to-moderate-income renters as well as adults with mental health challenges. With the closing of Richmond’s other shelters, the City plans to open in the Spring a critically-needed 36 bed emergency shelter operated by the Salvation Army for both women and men. These are in addition to many hundreds of units created under Richmond’s Affordable Housing Strategy in conjunction with the development community. All of these projects have required the participation of multiple levels of government, in addition to business and not-for-profit organizations. This entire approach aims to start to address the community’s urgent need for broader affordable housing choices.
Many Richmond families also find themselves struggling to find affordable, licensed child care. To date, the City has invested in over 1,060 new licensed child care spaces operated in partnership with local agencies and funded by new development. Three new child care facilities have been opened in recent years and a further five more are under development. These new facilities should provide an estimated 233 licensed child care spaces for the Richmond community.
6. Quality Infrastructure Networks
Continue diligence towards the development of infrastructure networks that are safe, sustainable, and address the challenges associated with aging systems, population growth, and environmental impact.
Important to the foundation of Richmond’s continued civic growth together with a high quality of life is the expansion and renewal of our civic infrastructure. Throughout the current term, Council has approved more than $800 million in capital spending, including a $160 million capital budget for 2018 alone. As this ambitious program has been funded largely from reserves, developer contributions and external sources, the result is a minimal increase in civic debt or property taxes.
In addition to the previously-mentioned initiatives, the long-awaited extended section of Lansdowne Road opened in 2017. This created a much-needed new east-west corridor stretching from the Garden City Lands to the Richmond Olympic Oval which should help to reduce traffic congestion.
Our extensive capital plans for 2018 include, among many other projects:
- Development of River Parkway from Gilbert to Cambie Road to create a new north-south arterial roadway in the City Centre along the old railway right-of-way. This promises to reduce the current cross-town congestion on the existing stretch of River Road east of the Dinsmore Bridge;
- Pedestrian/cycling pathway and intersection upgrades along the south end of No. 2 Road to be completed with the assistance of a $4 million infrastructure grant from the Federal Government;
- A new Animal Shelter as well as a Lawn Bowling Clubhouse;
- To assist with potential flooding, nearly $17 million in investments in diking and drainage improvements. Our investment adjacent to the river has exceeded $44 million in the current Council term; and
- Infrastructure upgrades to the Phoenix Netloft and the Gateway Theatre among others.
7. Strong Financial Stewardship
Maintain the City’s strong financial position through effective budget processes, the efficient and effective use of financial resources, and the prudent leveraging of economic and financial opportunities to increase current and long-term financial sustainability.
Strong financial stewardship has been one of our hallmarks thanks to our Long Term Financial Management Strategy developed 15 years ago. This Strategy has led us to tightly monitor property tax increases, while making significant investments in infrastructure and programs. Richmond’s property taxes remain among the lowest in the region while our residents and businesses enjoy an enviable level of service. City Council continues to responsibly replenish our reserves each year to ensure we meet the City’s long-term needs and minimize debt. At the same time, the City has invested in innovative new services and technology to ensure we remain at the forefront of service delivery and efficiency.
The operating budget for 2018 is an example of sound stewardship. For this year, Council approved a 2.30% tax increase to cover operating expenses with an additional 1% invested in our building reserves for a total tax increase of 3.30%. The additional 1% annual tax increase applied to our building reserves has enabled Council to renew and expand our civic infrastructure without significant additional borrowing or extraordinary tax increases to date. Council used our rate stabilization account to budget for 16 more police officers along with civilian support.
8. Supportive Economic Development Environment
Review, develop and implement plans, policies, programs and practices to increase business and visitor appeal and promote local economic growth and resiliency.
Continual economic development, along with business retention, ensures that we maintain our well-managed and highly livable City.
Civic investment often makes a major impact on local economic stability. A prominent example of this is the Richmond Olympic Oval. Built for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games without incurring new debt or using property taxes, the City invested $178 million to build the Oval as well as supporting subsequent facility improvements and ongoing operating costs. The proceeds of the sale of the land adjoining the Oval were sufficient to partly fund building construction, with the excess funds supporting other land and infrastructure investments such as the purchase of the Garden City Lands.
KPMG’s Economic Impact Study commissioned in 2017 demonstrated the Oval has generated more than $300 million to date in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through its construction and ongoing operation. The Oval operation supports 400 full-time equivalent jobs, including direct, indirect and induced employment. In addition, the study shows the Oval has served as a catalyst for $3.8 billion in added property value within the surrounding neighbourhood.
A specific example of economic benefit results from the Oval last year becoming the primary training home for Canada’s Women’s Volleyball Team. We hope that training and competition at the Oval will enable the team to qualify for the next Olympic Summer Games as they rise in the international rankings. The Grand Prix Women’s Volleyball Tournament held at the Oval last Spring featuring national teams from four countries sold out each tournament day.
Another legacy of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games has been the Richmond Sport Hosting program. The program generates more than 20,000 hotel room stays annually with an estimated economic value in excess of $6 million. While the Sport Hosting events are held at many Richmond venues, the Oval is a key element in the program’s success.
In 2017, under our Sport Hosting program, Richmond won the rights to host the 2020 Hockey World Cup organized by the Canadian Adult Hockey Recreation Association. This week-long competition is labelled the “Olympics of Recreational Hockey” as it attracts at least 120 adult recreational hockey teams from more than 15 countries to participate in the world’s largest international adult recreational hockey tournament.
Generally, growth in tourism continues to be important for economic development. Richmond continues to be among the Canadian leaders for hotel occupancy rates. To support tourism marketing in Richmond, 2017 marked the first year of a new 5-year agreement under which the local hotel tax was increased from 2% to 3%. Funding will be shared between the City, Tourism Richmond and the Richmond Hotels Association for marketing and further development of local tourist attractions.
While Richmond’s economy continues to grow and diversify, we must not forget the traditional industry of farming which was, and remains, extremely important to our economy. 39% of the City’s land base is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. About 3,122 hectares (7,714 acres) of Richmond is actually farmed. As has been the case for many years, the dominant crops are cranberries, with 807 ha (1,995 ac.) in production, followed by blueberries with 577 ha (1,426 ac). In 2016, Richmond accounted for 31% of BC’s and 11% of Canada’s cranberry acreage. Work will begin in 2018 to update our Agricultural Viability Strategy. This will ensure the City is helping our farms and farmers to thrive now and in the future.
9. Well Informed Citizenry
Continue to develop and provide programs and services that ensure the Richmond community is well-informed and engaged on City business and decision making.
City Council remains strongly committed to keeping our community engaged in the decision-making process. In addition to traditional communication approaches, we are taking advantage of digital communication tools as outlined in our innovative Digital Strategy.
This year, we updated our RichmondBC app which provides users with mobile devices to have convenient access to information about civic services and events. Currently, many online City services use a variety of databases with each requiring a separate account and password. Through the new Single Sign-On project, users will soon be able to set up a single account on the City’s website with one password to allow simple access to a wide variety of civic services. By setting up this account through the City’s website, users will gain access over the next few months to an expanding variety of services.
2018 will also witness the launch of our innovative program registration system designed by a company called Perfect Mind. Our heavily-subscribed program registration system is used for aquatics and community centres among others. Richmond is an early municipal adopter of this system.
In 2017, the Brighouse Library officially kicked off its new Launch Pad which provides a designated area to support public interactive learning and access to technology. This adds to the Library’s innovative ways to serve the community, including its mobile “pop-up” library and a new automated book vending technology slated to launch this year in the Hamilton area.
The City of Richmond Archives continues to quietly add to its online inventory of historical records and photographs. In 2017, they introduced a new database with profiles of local veterans recognized on our cenotaph who were killed in the line of duty. It also launched a new “Name Origins” data base that provides the history behind the names of local streets and landmarks. Reaching back to the days of the early European immigrants, this department provides a valuable public resource to remind us of the important approaches of our community over the years.
Awards and Recognition
While we seek to adopt best practices throughout the civic organization, one of the many measures of corporate success is through the recognition and awards received. 2017 was again a banner year with Richmond receiving numerous international, national and provincial honours.
In particular, our much-acclaimed energy programs continue to win accolades with more than a dozen awards since 2011, including five awards in 2017 alone. The 2017 awards include:
- Canada Region Institutional Energy Management Award from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) for our District Energy program;
- 2017 Climate and Energy Action Award from the Community Energy Association for our Community Energy Save Program;
- Wood WORKS! BC Community Recognition Award for the use of wood in the construction of the Alexandra District Energy building;
- Canadian Consulting Engineering Award of Excellence for the design and construction of the energy plant located at the Garden City shopping area; and
- Honourable Mention in the Leadership & Innovation – Green Initiative category from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for the City’s Climate Action Programs;
Other 2017 recognition includes:
- Recreation Facility Association of BC’s Bill Woycik Outstanding Facility Award for City Centre Community Centre. This award recognizes an outstanding facility that meets the community’s needs and exemplifies innovations in design, energy management, and operations and demonstrates community need;
- 2017 Parks Excellence Award from the BC Recreation and Parks Association Provincial Awards (BCRPA) for the Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment;
- Two awards from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada for our Annual Report: The Canadian Award for Financial Reporting for the 14th consecutive year and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting for the 7th year;
- Canadian Cancer Society Platinum Level Extra Mile Award for our employee wellness program;
- Employer of the Year Award from the Developmental Disabilities Association’s Jobs West division for the City’s initiative to create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities;
- 2017 Recognition Award from Pathways Clubhouse for the City’s role as an employment partner;
- 2017 Accessible Cities Award from the Rick Hansen Foundation for our leadership in planning accessibility into our built environments and encouraging more inclusiveness in our community. As part of the Award, the Richmond Olympic Oval was inducted into the Award’s Circle of Excellence for exemplifying best practices towards universal access;
- The World Leisure Organization’s Community of Excellence for 2017 Award for the City’s innovative and successful use of leisure to improve its citizens’ quality of life; and
- The Richmond Maritime Festival was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Canadian Event Industry Award for Best Public Entertainment Event or Festival.
As we look back over the past three years as well as forward to the final year of this Council term and beyond, we measure real civic progress. Infrastructure growth as well as the economy remain balanced and strong in Richmond as does our quality of life. The City provides a wide range of services for our residents and businesses while our taxes and tax increases remain among the lowest in the region. Richmond continues to win widespread acclaim for excellence, leadership and innovation.
Our community is strong and resilient due to the stewardship of City Council, the hard work of civic staff as well as the collaboration and support of our many partners from government and the community. Thousands of volunteers who make a tremendous difference every year remain engaged in various facets of City life. All contribute to making Richmond a better place in which to live, work and play. We boast a proud heritage and foresee a future that remains bright and strong.