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King Township easily maintains rural charm
Biggest municipality in York Region; smallest population


Special to Postmedia Network

From jaw-dropping mansions and horse stables nestled amongst rolling hills to farm combines and tractors that roll down Main Street during the Farmers’ Parade of Lights in the Village of Schomberg each December, everything about King Township seems bigger than life. 

Alison Mumford owns The Roost Cafe, a charming cafe located in a beautiful century home in the heart of King City.

Everything, that is, but its population. Though it’s geographically the largest municipality in York Region, it has the smallest population.

“We’re so big, we’re bordered by eight municipalities,” says Mayor Steve Pellegrini. “There are more than 800,000 people around us...yet our population is just 26,000.”

Because large portions of King Township are located within the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario’s Greenbelt and the Holland Marsh, that number’s not about to change much: its projected population in 2041 is 37,900.

King City, one of the township’s three main villages (the other two are Nobleton and Schomberg), is welcoming the bulk of new residential development.

The township grows by about 300 to 400 residential units a year. Treasure Hill will be building a new home community featuring estate homes on lots that are 200 feet deep. Zancor Homes is advertising it has just one ‘personalized castle’ left in its Castles of King City community.

King Township has firmly established itself as one of Canada’s most affluent communities, both in terms of property value and household income.

Inside the Roost Cafe and enjoying the view. "There's something about the rolling hills. It's stunning," says Alison Mumford.

The grand prize home in the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Home Lottery — an 8,900-square-foot mansion valued at $4.3 million and featuring a skating rink in the basement,two-storey dining room and cocktail lounge — is also located there. 

But with dozens of hamlets, including Kettleby, Pottageville, Laskay, Snowball and Holland Marsh, protecting its rural charm is really no challenge and that suits residents like Alison Mumford just fine. 

She grew up here and last year opened The Roost Cafe, a quaint and cozy cafĂ© located in a beautiful century home in the heart of King City. 

“I lived on the west coast for a few years but it just wasn’t home,”  Mumford says. “I loved the mountains  in Whistler but I can take a drive across King Road and look at beautiful horse farms. There’s something about the rolling hills. It’s stunning.” 

She’s also looking forward to the Farmers’ Parade of Lights. “It sounds so odd when you tell someone from the city that you’re getting excited to go watch a parade of tractors covered in Christmas lights but it’s so fun. It brings the entire community out.” 

It’s almost hard to believe King Township is just minutes from Hwy. 400, conveniently connecting it with the rest of the Greater Toronto Area.Hop on the express GO Train 

and you’ll arrive in downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes.” 

It’s the most desirable location — people are calling it the ‘Forest Hill of the GTA’ – and it’s because you’re surrounded by green,” Pellegrini says. “The Oak Ridges Moraine Trail originated in King and you can walk for miles…You really are in the Central Park of the GTA.” 

Yet King Township is hardly standing still. Knowing “tremendous changes were on the horizon that had the potential to impact King’s economy,” it developed an economic development strategy in 2012 that is now in the process of being updated, says communications officer Jason Ballantyne. 

Those changes included the expansion of Seneca College’s King Campus, improvements to the 400-series highways and the GTA West Corridor, and the expansion of public transportation, including GO Transit.

Auto parts manufacturer Magna plans to build a new office buildingin King City, which will also contain research and development facilities. 

King Township is home to three public skating rinks and four libraries and credits unique community partnerships with paving the way for new recreation facilities that will be located on the southeast corner Of Seneca College's King campus

In King City, you are surrounded by green. Large portions of King Township are located within the Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario's Greenbelt and the Holland Marsh

York Region approves year-round shopping, except Christmas Day Nov 16, 2017 by Lisa Queen  

Except for Christmas Day, you will be able to shop every day of the year in York Region if store keepers want to open their doors.

Beginning on New Year’s Day, stores will be able to open on all statutory holidays other than Dec. 25, thanks to a new holiday shopping bylaw passed by council Nov. 16.

Under provincial legislation, stores must close at least one day of the year.

Council chose Dec. 25 as the region’s common day of closure because Christmas is the day stores seeking exemptions to the Retail Business Holidays Act were least likely to ask to open in the past.

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti urged councillors not to throw the doors open to virtually wide-open shopping without holding public meetings to gauge opinions from residents, retail workers who will have to work instead of being home with their families, and shop keepers.

“I was trying to remember a decision that we would make that would impact the lives of thousands of people across the region that we didn’t undertake any consultation of the public at all and I couldn’t remember one,” he said.

On this issue, there’s a reluctance for some reason to go out and actually speak to people about it.”

Even shoppers who hit the stores on statutory holidays feel “in their heart of hearts” stores should be closed on certain days, Scarpitti said.

The majority of councillors argued the holiday shopping issue has been debated publicly for many years and it’s now time to bring in one consistent policy across the region.

There are many retail workers, such as gas station attendants, pharmacy employees, restaurant workers, garden centre staff and employees of stores and malls in tourist areas that work statutory holidays and nobody has issued an outcry on their behalf, Newmarket Regional Coun. John Taylor said.

“This is a wildly uneven playing field that has been created by the province and this council and by other jurisdictions around Ontario,” he said.

“We are, as a government, creating winners and losers.”

Councillors also rejected a suggestion by Scarpitti that would have forced all stores to close on Canada Day, in addition to Christmas Day.

King Weekly Sentinel Thursday, October 5, 2017

King Chamber of Commerce 

Concerned with Reports of Sweeping Labour Law and Employment Standards Reforms

Potential changes would stifle investment, eliminate jobs and diminish economic opportunities in Ontario, especially among small business owners

King Township, ON, Wednesday, May 17, 2017: The King Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the business community in King Township, fully supports and endorses the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) who has sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne warning against potential changes to Ontario's Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), including the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. Many of these potential reforms, if enacted, will stifle job creation and competitiveness, as well discouraging investment in the province.  We are concerned that many of the potential reforms being discussed may have more to do with advancing the institutional interests trade unions, as opposed to sound policy for the protection of workers in Ontario.

The potential reforms are coming at a time when costs for consumers and the cost of doing business is increasingly putting Ontario at a competitive disadvantage. The changes we understand are being discussed will have a disproportionate impact on costs and flexibility for small employers, who constitute the majority of the business community in King.

"We are concerned about unintended consequences. Where are the economic impact analyses? These sweeping changes could seriously impact job creation and the health of our local economy in King" said Tom Allen, KCC’s President. "The proposed changes would discourage investment in Ontario and diminish economic opportunities for all Ontarians. Politics cannot drive decision-making, evidence must."

On issues of non-standard and part-time work, Statistics Canada data shows that part-time work has risen 22 percent since 2003, down from the 36 percent increase in the previous 12-year period. Recent studies show that 76 percent of part-timer workers voluntarily choose part-time work to better accommodate schooling or personal life. 

"We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic impact analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth," said Richard Koroscil, Interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "We support reform where and when it is needed, but we caution against change for change's sake."

The OCC's letter reminds the Premier that Ontario's employer community is doing its part to create better jobs and working conditions in the province. Budget 2017 points out that 98% of all new jobs created since the recession have been full time, and 78% have been above-average wage for their respective industries.

The letter notes that the goals of economic growth and improved employee rights are not mutually exclusive. The OCC believes that what supports the competitiveness of Ontario's economy can also help enhance the quality of work. Increased education and enforcement may assist with compliance to Government regulations and can improve worker environments. Regulatory reform that raises costs for business, only to reduce the ability of business to invest in and grow the labour force, is counterproductive.

Read the OCC's letter to Premier Wynne.

York plans to boost Internet services via federal program 

By Mark Pavilons 

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - THE WEEKLY SENTINEL

 York Region is taking the lead on trying to secure federal funding to boost internet services in rural areas like King Township. York’s Committee of the Whole last week approved a staff report to seek federal funding through the government’s Connect to Innovate Program. The plan in York is to expand the broadband network in King, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville through a massive, 175-kilometre network. Both York and its rural member municipalities have pegged broadband as a key priority. York wants to be a “Gigabit Region,” where an innovative collaboration results in a connected lifestyle community. This means “raising the bar where there is under service” and staying ahead of the curve. King was well represented at the committee meeting, with councillors, staff and a representative of the King Chamber of Commerce all in attendance. Mayor Steve Pellegrini told his regional colleagues just how important this is to King. He pointed out Internet is a needed service, not unlike roads. The CRTC has declared Internet access an essential service. “This is the foundation for having high-speel (Internet) everywhere,” the mayor pointed out. “Connect to Innovation is so important to King,” said Councillor Dave Boyd. He admitted there are a number of gaps in and around King, particularly in the outskirts of Nobleton and throughout Lasay. Staff have gathered data to present to regional staff.
In February, York regional councillors met with federal government officials to articulate York’s infrastructure priorities, which include expanding the broadband network.
 The presentation focused on the opportunity to expand this network to facilitate economic development across York, especially in more rural communities. In January, it was announced that King will receive $1.6 million in a joint federal, provincial and private partnership for fibre optic broadband expansion. Communications company Vianet, who will be responsible for providing the service to residents, will contribute the remainder of the project costs. In June 2016, York council agreed that broadband was considered infrastructure that should be considered for both federal and provincial funding support and Regional staff would make applications. In December of 2016, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced the Connect to Innovate program, which plans to invest $500 million by 2021, to bring high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities. The program anticipates direct public sector and municipal involvement. York staff noted Connect to Innovate will fund up to 75% of the cost of providing “last mile connections” to customers. The program also requires extended services must connect to institutions like municipal offices, libraries, schools, hospitals, etc. The program also extends eligibility to rural areas if under service can be proven. Every application to the fund must have a network of public/private partnerships. King Township created “King Connects,” to solicit public input and map where Internet services are lacking or non-existent. This data will help shore up York’s application in the future. York is well positioned to make an application, and has full support from its rural municipalities.  A proposed fiber loop in King means connecting Nobleton and Schomberg to the existing telecom network in King City. The King portion is roughly 38 kilometres, with a cost of $2.88 million. The proposed route is designed to maximize internet access to Regional and municipal infrastructure and facilities. “It will also put thousands of existing and future households within 2 kilometres of the optical fibre backbone; placing them within reach of Internet service providers that leverage the network to deliver broadband services,” the staff report noted. “Improved high-speed service to rural residents has the additional benefit of supporting the many home-based businesses in these areas.” The existing York Telecom Network is a natural vehicle for leveraging federal funding. The total estimated cost to build the three proposed routes (175 kilometres) in York is roughly $14 million, and an estimated $8 million can be recovered from Ottawa. That leaves York on the hook for the remaining $5.6 million. At this time, York has not earmarked the funds and will have to identify potential funding sources. Staff hopes to bring these details forward as part of the 2018 budget process. Mayor Pellegrini said it’s spread out over three years, so it shouldn’t be a problem for York to find the $2 million per year. The staff report and recommendations will go to regional council for final approval.

King Weekly Sentinel Thursday, February 23, 2017

THE WEEKLY SENTINEL - Thursday, January 5, 2017

   King Township enjoys strong economic activity in 2016

     By Jamie Smyth Economic Development Officer King Township

2016 Economic Development Program Accomplishments
• ShopKING Resident Survey resulted in 523 residents completing the survey. Survey profi les resident consumers’ current and desired purchasing habits for local goods and services.
• Successful in applying and receiving a Township Wide exemption from the Province’s Retail Business Holidays Act for 7 Statutory Public Holidays. This was in collaboration with the King Chamber of
Commerce in support of and on behalf of all King’s larger retail businesses.
• Four businesses were approved for $27,000+ Community Improvement Plan (CIP) grants during the second year of Plan’s implementation.
• Branded the financial incentive grant program “Partners in Prosperity” and developed and produced a series of video vignettes of grant recipient testimonials and an infomercial on the program.
• Continued implementation of a three-year Community Tourism Plan that was approved in principle by Council in April 2014.
• Oversaw the 2nd year implementation of Experience King tourism marketing campaign including a Facebook advertising campaign that generated over 1000 Facebook Fans (likes) of which 92% are non-residents, hence potential visitors.
• Influenced the exemption of existing commercial or industrial businesses wanting to expand on their property, from having to pay a cash in lieu of requirement through the Provision of Parkland or Money in Lieu of By-Law
• Administered and actively promoted the new Agri-business and Tourism Wayfinding Signage program in collaboration with Clerks and Parks Recreation & Culture Departments.
• Oversaw the development, production and broadcast of an eight minute video presentation at the mid-term point of the Economic Development Strategy in Action (2014-2018). This strategy update video was premiered during the annual King Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Luncheon in April.
• Partnered with the King Chamber of Commerce and London Publishing to produce and distribute 10,000 copies of the fifth annual 2016/17 Business and Community Directory.
• Completed a series of four 2016 Spotlights on Business video vignettes launched at the 2nd annual Mayor’s Business Networking Breakfast in October. 23 business spotlights have been produced to date over the past six years of the program.
• Conducted three village revitalization forums in the spring of 2016 presenting an ongoing and regular opportunity to partner, collaborate communicate and share information and resources with King Chamber, village association and business stakeholders.
• Developed and deployed a series of templated e-newsletters using Mail Chimp for various targeted audiences including: equine sector businesses; King City, Nobleton and Schomberg businesses; tourism stakeholders; and township-wide businesses.
• Renewed Headwaters Horse Country Partnership Agreement for second three-year term ending March 2019.
• Actively and successfully promoted the Headwaters Horse Country Stable 
Tour participation resulting in 6 of the 11 stable participants being King Township based.
• In 2016 there were 18 grand opening/ribbon cutting celebrations, 15 of which were in new commercial/retail units hence new commercial tax assessment – 9 in King City, 5 in Nobleton and 4 in Schomberg.

King Chamber of Commerce - Box 381 Schomberg, L0G 1T0                                905-717-7199           info@kingchamber.ca               

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