Have a day to remember in Halton!

Whether it’s rock climbing, shopping, taking in dinner and a show, watching a horse race or enjoying the thrill of an indoor sky diving experience, there are so many reasons Halton Region is a great place to live and visit.

Halton boasts beautiful vistas and landscapes with easy access to Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. Our communities have small town charm, but offer big city shopping and dining. Whether you’re looking for farm fresh fun, cultural experiences, shopping orhiking, you’ll find something for everyone.

With so much to experience in Halton, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Our new tourism map, now available at tourism destinations around Halton, makes it easy to quickly see Halton destinations, attractions and activities. We can also help with our online event listing which showcases some of the highlights going on across the Region. Whether you’re a foodie wanting to enjoy some culinary delights, a family wanting some fun quality time or a weekend warrior looking for a new adventure, there’s sure to be something out of the ordinary waiting for you in Halton.

Our landscape plays a critical role in so many of the things to see and do in Halton. Whether it’s hiking Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, splashing at a beach, rock climbing or fishing, it can be easy to forget how impressive Halton’s landscape actually is. I recently saw a video created for the upcoming Epic Tour Halton, a cycling event that brings thousands of recreational cyclists to Halton, and it reminded me of how beautiful our natural environment is and why Halton Regional Council works so hard to protect it for future generations.

With the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World’s Biosphere Reserve to the north and 25 kilometres of frontage on beautiful Lake Ontario, Halton is home to stunning landscapes that attract people from near and far.

From outdoor adventures to special events at our museums, theatres and other community organizations, fine dining, shopping and much more, Halton is the perfect community to explore. This summer, explore Halton and enjoy everything we have to offer, right in your own backyard. Visit halton.ca/tourism to learn more or dial 311 to request a copy of the tourism map.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

Q2 Accomplishments 2014

Fiscal Responsibility

Tax Policy Report approved
On April 16, Regional Council approved Halton Region’s Tax Policy Report which details the Region’s final 2014 tax rates based on the 2014 Budget and Business Plan, approved by Halton Regional Council on December 11, 2013.

Public Engagement 

Citizens’ Report 2013 released
On April 2, Halton Region released the Citizens’ Report 2013 which highlights accomplishments related to key actions and initiatives in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

Customer Service

Region marks 40 year anniversary
The County of Halton was dissolved and the Regional Municipality of Halton was established on January 1, 1974. Halton Region marked the anniversary and celebrated 40 years of customer service excellence with the launch of a new Twitter account, @RegionofHalton. Additionally, to recognize the contributions of Halton’s namesake, Major William Halton, to the development of the Region and the province, the new North Oakville Transportation Corridor between Bronte Road (Regional Road 25) and Ninth Line, will be named William Halton Parkway. Construction on the new corridor will begin this year. 

Be an Employer of Choice

Halton Region appointed two new commissioners
On April 16, Regional Council approved the appointment of two new commissioners to fill positions recently vacated following the retirements of the Region’s Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Public Works.

James A. Harnum was appointed as Commissioner of Public Works, effective Tuesday, May 20, 2014 and Dr. Hamidah K. Meghani was appointed as Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health, effective Monday, July 14, 2014. 

Advocacy

Pre-election advocacy campaign informed voters
In advance of the June provincial election, Halton Region prepared a questionnaire for the candidates from the ridings of Burlington, Halton, Oakville and Wellington-Halton Hills. The questionnaire provided candidates with an opportunity to explain to voters how they would advocate for Halton and how their party would resolve the challenges facing Halton Region. Responses were posted at Halton.ca/OntarioElection2014.

Economic Development

Halton Region endorsed Sheridan College’s plan to become a university
In June, Halton Regional Council voted in favour of Sheridan College’s plan to expand postsecondary education options. Halton Region endorsed Sheridan’s plan to pursue university status because it will improve access to local postsecondary education, ensure a strong labour force to meet the needs of local employers and attract talent to Halton.

Starter Company announced
Halton Region announced the launch of a new program called Starter Company, perfect for those aged 18 to 29 who have always wanted to be entrepreneurs. The program is offered by Halton Region in partnership with the Ontario Government and provides training, mentorship, business skills development and grants of up to $5,000 to help eligible individuals start a new business, expand a business or purchase a business.

Physician Recruitment Week a success
Every year, Halton Region and local hospitals celebrate the efforts of Halton’s physicians and recognize their contributions to our community with Physician Appreciation Week, which took place this year from April 28 to May 2. Now in its 11th year, Physician Appreciation Week in Halton was originally established in 2003 by the Halton Physician Recruitment program. Attracting new physicians to establish medical practices in Halton continues to be a priority in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. Halton Region’s Physician Recruitment program has helped bring more than 200 new family doctors to Halton since 2003.

Waste Management

Winter Ice Storm Yard Waste Collection Program
Halton Region implemented a special bulk brush collection service in designated service areas from March 31 to May 30, followed by a call-in service throughout June for roadside brush collection in non-serviced areas in response to the December 2013 major winter ice storm. The Region worked closely with the Local Municipalities to ensure that storm debris was collected in an effective and efficient manner. In addition, the Region continued to waive the tipping fee for yard waste at the Halton Waste Management Site to the end of June so that Halton residents and contractors could drop off brush debris or chipped materials at no charge.

Special Waste Drop-off Days held in Burlington, Halton Hills and Oakville
Halton Region held Special Waste Drop-off Days this spring in Burlington, Halton Hills and Oakville. Approximately 2,800 residents attended the events designed to provide Halton residents with a convenient opportunity to safely recycle and dispose of items like electronics and household hazardous waste, which should not be placed in the garbage.

Spring Compost Giveaway
In May, approximately 3,500 residents attended Halton’s annual Spring Compost Giveaway at the Halton Waste Management Site. During the event, residents picked up processed compost to use in their garden and landscaping projects. Halton residents also generously donated 4,340 kg of non-perishable food items and contributed $7,720 for local Halton food banks. 

Scout tree planting event
In May, Halton Region partnered with Conservation Halton and Halton Area Scouts to host the annual Trees for Watershed Health planting event at the Halton Waste Management Site.  The event was a big success with over 300 volunteers planting 3,000 trees at the site. 

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Rain barrel sales events
Halton Region held its sixth annual rain barrel truckload sales events as part of Halton’s Water Efficiency and Conservation Program. Approximately 2,225 rain barrels were sold over the four events. The use of rain barrels helps to reduce outdoor water use.

Outdoor Water Use Program launched
Halton Region launched the annual Outdoor Water Use Program in June. The program is designed to help reduce peak demand associated with summer water use when water consumption often doubles. 

Infrastructure

Well upgrades completed

  • The Region completed a comprehensive upgrade of the Fourth Line Well Field in Acton to ensure that wells continue to meet all provincial water quality standards and to provide water for future growth within Acton.  
  • Upgrades were completed at the Lindsay Court Well Field to include a standby well and to ensure that the wells continue to meet all provincial water quality standards.  The upgrades will ensure that Georgetown’s water supply remains reliable and safe for the long term.  

Planning Sustainable Communities 

Completion of the Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 38 Guidelines
In June, Halton’s Inter-Municipal Liaison Committee endorsed the Regional Official Plan Guidelines. The 17 guidelines, developed through an extensive public consultation process, will assist municipalities and the public with policy implementation of the Region’s Official Plan. 

Annual update on employment activity in Halton
Council received the 2013 Employment Survey Results report in June. The report highlights key findings on employment activity and land use patterns resulting from the 2013 comprehensive door-to-door survey of businesses in Halton Region. 

Annual update on housing trends in Halton
Council received the Halton Region – 2013 State of Housing Report. The report provides an update on housing trends to assist in monitoring the success of the Region’s housing and growth management policies. The report highlights that the Region’s Official Plan targets related to density and affordability for new housing units in Halton were both exceeded in 2013. 

Defining and Preserving Natural Heritage 

75th Anniversary of Halton Regional Forests:  A Biodiversity Strategy and Property Acquisition
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Halton Regional Forests.  To commemorate this event, on June 18, Regional Council approved a Biodiversity Strategy for the Regional Forests, as well as the purchase of a 37 hectare property. This is the first expansion to the Regional Forest in nearly 50 years.  Biodiversity is key to maintaining the function and integrity of the Regional Natural Heritage System. The Biodiversity Strategy will guide conservation and enhancement of the Halton Regional Forests over the next 10 years. 

Halton Region Museum Master Plan
On June 18, 2014, Regional Council approved the Halton Region Museum Master Plan which details a long-term plan and vision to transform the Halton Region Museum into the Halton Heritage Centre (HHC). The Master Plan outlines a new and innovative model for the delivery of regional heritage services in which the Museum will not only continue to care for the Region’s own collection but will provide professional services in exhibit planning and design, public program development and artifact conservation. The details and strategy for implementing the Halton Heritage Centre will be determined during the Region’s next term of Council.

New exhibit launched at the Halton Region Museum
A new exhibit, Flights of Folly: Learning from the Passenger Pigeon, was launched at the Halton Region Museum Visitor Centre on June 11, 2014. Flights of Folly acknowledges the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon by offering an interactive and educational experience that explores issues surrounding extinction and de-extinction and present-day species at risk. 

Corporate Sustainability 

Corporate Sustainability Action Plan on track
Implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Action Plan is on track, as reduction of the Region’s ecological footprint for internal operations continues. Recent accomplishments include the Region receiving the E3 Bronze Fleet Rating, recognition as the Smart Commute Halton Employer of the Year and recognition from Oakville Hydro Corporation for completed energy retrofit projects. 

Promoting Healthy Living 

Health Department hosts successful Workplace Health Networking Meeting
On June 17, the Health Department hosted a Workplace Health Networking Meeting entitled “How Much Are You Sitting? Move More at Work, Sit Less!” Over 60 workplace representatives heard keynote speaker Dr. Travis Saunders discuss “Is Sitting Killing Us?” He shared the latest research evidence and effective approaches workplaces can implement to encourage physical activity at work.   

April 8 Smoking Cessation Best Practice Workshop
On April 8, the Health Department participated in the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s Nursing Best Practice Smoking Cessation Initiative by hosting a Smoking Cessation Best Practice Champion Workshop. Forty-eight health care professionals learned simple intervention techniques to dramatically reduce rates of smoking, in addition to connecting with Canada-wide champions and learning about best practice tools and resources. 

Family Health Information Line receives 99 per cent satisfaction rating
A recent evaluation of the Family Health Information Line showed a 99 per cent satisfaction rating from Halton residents who access the line to connect directly with a public health nurse for information and resources.  

Air Quality 

Halton Region climate change picture books recognized with three awards
In June, Health Department staff were recognized with three awards for the ‘Owls for Climate Change’ children’s picture book series, including a 2014 Gold Quill Award of Excellence (from the International Association of Business Communicators – IABC), a 2014 Conservation Halton Award, and a 2014 Apex Award for Publication Excellence. To view or purchase the books, visit: www.halton.ca/owlbooks.   

Children and Youth Development 

Promoting safety with two community car seat safety spot checks
As part of Halton Region’s commitment to community safety, Regional staff, Halton Regional Police Services, Milton and Halton Hills Fire Departments and Cooperators Insurance jointly supported two car seat safety spot check clinics in Acton (April) and Burlington (May). In total, 266 seats were seen at the quick check with 117 requiring a full inspection due to installation errors. 

Over 100 trained in effective youth engagement
Aligned with a release of a new guideline for working with youth by the Our Kids Network, Health Department staff delivered training related to how to engage youth in health and social services to over 100 staff and community partners. 

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

 

West Nile virus: Prevention is the key

Summer is finally here! As we enjoy the warm weather at one of Halton’s beaches, at the Bruce Trail, on vacation or in our backyards across Halton – it is important to take action to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and West Nile virus (WNV).

To help control the mosquito population and reduce the threat of West Nile virus, Halton Region treats areas of standing water with a larvacide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into hungry adult mosquitoes.

This is an important step in protecting Halton residents; however the most important steps we can take to prevent mosquito bites are simple and up to us.

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET.
  2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.
  3. Cover up: wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  4. Remove areas of standing water from your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that does not flow.

Did you know that the type of mosquito that carries WNV is found much more frequently in urban areas than rural or forested areas?  

If you notice any areas of standing water on public property that can’t be drained or removed, please report it to the Health Department and an assessment can be conducted to determine if larvaciding is necessary.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps throughout Halton Region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes are examined and sent for WNV testing.

Visit our West Nile Virus surveillance webpage to see the locations of larvaciding as well as other tracking data.

For more information on WNV or to report standing water, dial 311 or call Halton Region at 1-866-442-5866, or email accesshalton@halton.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

Halton Region’s heat and smog alerts

Summer is here and everyone is thrilled to be outside: biking, camping, exploring, swimming. You name it. It’s a great time of year to be active and having fun. However, there are times when the temperature and the humidity rise so high that we have to be careful to be safe in the heat.

That’s why you might want to sign up to receive heat or smog alerts from the Halton Region Health Department. Last summer the Health Department issued three heat alerts spanning 10 days. That means the temperature topped 30 degrees Celsius or higher and the humidex reached 40 degrees or more, or the temperature itself is 40 degrees or greater.  We also had two days where smog alerts were issued, meaning air quality is poor.

So far, in 2014, there haven’t been any alerts issued, but we know they are likely to come.

Poor outdoor air quality can be a risk to our health if we’re not careful. Those with asthma or heart conditions, or who work or exercise in the heat are particularly vulnerable. So it’s worth getting the alert so you can plan ahead.

For more information on any of these alerts, visit halton.ca/airqualityalerts or dial 311. You can also email accesshalton@halton.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

Keeping Halton moving by investing in infrastructure

To meet the needs of a growing population, Halton Region has continued to deliver a roads capital improvement program which invests, on average, more than $120 million every year towards ongoing or new construction projects. In 2013, Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads, an increase from $50 million in 2006. Not only is investing in infrastructure important to our residents, it also attracts businesses to our region which helps keep our economy strong.

Join me at Halton’s first Regional, dual-lane roundabout on Tremaine Road in Milton as I discuss the importance of investing in our transportation infrastructure.

By continuing to plan for today and tomorrow, Halton Region will make sure our transportation infrastructure meets the needs of our community, while protecting the environment, today and in the future. I’m proud that our investment is helping keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Active Transportation: Making it easier to walk, bike and roll in Halton

It’s important that Halton residents have a safe, convenient and well-connected active transportation network. With more choices for traveling throughout our Region, residents will be able to choose to be more active as there will be more opportunities for walking, cycling, roller-blading, skateboarding and the use of mobility devices. 

Through the creation of an Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP), Halton will be building new on-road and off-road facilities including bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks and paved shoulders, as well as working with the Local Municipalities to create sidewalks and multi-use trails – making it easier to walk, bike and roll in Halton! 

The Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP) is being developed to help promote an integrated, accessible and efficient active transportation network for residents, while providing safe and easy options for alternative forms of transportation. 

Citizen feedback has played a crucial role in the development of the Master Plan as residents have been engaged throughout the process through public information centres and stakeholder workshops. We have been working closely with Halton Region’s Health Department and the Local Municipalities to ensure that all relevant factors are considering future Regional Cycling and Walking Networks. 

Halton residents have one of the highest standards of living in Canada, in part because of Halton Region’s strong commitment to being well planned, resident focused and safe and healthy. Our dedication to planning complete and vibrant communities helps make Halton a great place to live. 

Working together we can ensure we have created a Master Plan that works for the Halton community and provides enhanced opportunities for active transportation. If you would like to learn more about the Active Transportation Master Plan, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/activetransportation

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Providing employment lands in Halton to keep our economy strong!

Halton Region is an economic hotspot! Businesses are choosing to locate here because of our low taxes, strong financial position and high quality of life. Halton has had eight consecutive years with a tax freeze and has made significant investments in infrastructure. For example Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads in 2013, an increase from $50 million in 2006. Importantly, 99% of Halton residents rate their quality of life as very high, something we are committed to maintaining.

Providing employment lands in Halton is critical to ensuring we support the Region’s long-term economic development potential. With 14 existing and three new employment areas planned by 2021 – Winston Park West in Oakville, Derry Green in Milton and 401 Corridor East in Halton Hills – Halton is investing in a long-term supply of employment lands to meet our forecasted growth and strengthen our economy.

To further grow and support our strong economy there is important work being done with Halton’s local municipalities.

City of Burlington:

The City of Burlington and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation have undertaken a major Employment Lands Strategy to review the competitiveness and marketing of its five distinct employment districts – Prosperity Corridor (QEW East and West), Downtown, 407, 403 West and Bronte Meadows (west of Burloak Drive).

Town of Halton Hills:

Halton is working closely with the Town of Halton Hills to leverage the infrastructure in place for the Toronto Premium Outlets. The servicing of the Halton Hills 401 Corridor east of Trafalgar Road supports the Halton Hills Premier Gateway. The Region and Town are also working on a Regional Official Plan Amendment to service the employment lands (between Sixth and Eighth Lines and north of Steeles Avenue) to facilitate development before 2021.

Town of Milton:

Halton Region and the Town of Milton are working together to obtain final approval for the existing Derry Green Corporate Business Park Secondary Plan. Once the Secondary Plan is approved, Halton Region will move forward with servicing for Derry Green which will allow the Town to capitalize on the next wave of office and industrial developments.

Another exciting development is the Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Milton velodrome) currently under construction for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Games. The velodrome is part of the larger Milton Education Village. The proposed future home of the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre is currently located at 555 Industrial Drive. The Milton Education Village could feature a 150-acre Wilfrid Laurier University satellite campus.

Town of Oakville:

The new Oakville Hospital is the catalyst for the Town to create a distinct 200-acre global innovation park focused on the life sciences and technology sectors. The proposed Life Sciences & Technology Park will include a cluster of companies in product development, services and research and development (R&D). The Park also proposes to integrate academic institutions that link education and business in R&D and commercialization initiatives. Transportation and regional infrastructure upgrades are underway throughout Oakville to support both the new hospital and the Winston Park West employment district on the west side of Highway 403.

By protecting and investing in our employment lands we’re ensuring Halton’s economy will remain strong. See first-hand how Halton’s strong economy supports the high quality of life for Halton residents – keeping Halton a great place to live, work and retire.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”