Advocating for a Strong Halton

Halton Region is a vibrant and growing community. My Regional Council colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that Halton remains strong and stable in the future.

Our advocacy work with other levels of government helps raise awareness and advance Halton’s positions on key issues important to Halton residents. Our efforts respond to issues identified in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, polling data and align with Halton’s program delivery and overall communications campaigns.

Current advocacy efforts include meetings with Ministers, MPs and MPPs, election readiness surveys and municipal association participation. Our participation in Association of Municipalities of Ontario initiatives and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’Advocacy Days has provided us with many opportunities to initiate discussions with other levels of government about issues that impact Halton residents.

Our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign outlines and defines Halton’s advocacy issues and assists Regional Council in our advocacy efforts. It also serves as a resource for residents.

Halton’s current advocacy issues include:

  • Protecting Halton’s taxpayers from the financial impacts of growth and the costs associated with conforming to Provincial legislation (including changes to the Development Charges Act)
  • Meeting Halton’s community infrastructure needs of today and tomorrow
  • Ensuring that Provincial funding for cost shared programs keeps pace with growth
  • Addressing Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CCAC) issues and offloading delays
  • Partnering with all levels of government to create real and affordable housing solutions

Halton Region is advocating for support from all levels of government in the form of long-term, predictable funding and legislative changes in order to ensure that Halton’s taxpayers are not burdened with the cost of growth.

I invite you to visit http://www.halton.ca/advocacy and learn more about the Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign. By working together we can ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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.”

Halton Region Citizens’ Report 2013

Halton Regional Council is committed to ensuring that you are informed about our priorities and the management of your tax dollars. Our Citizens’ Report 2013 provides a progress report on both.Citizen Report 2

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past year. According to our most recent survey, Halton residents rate the overall quality of life in Halton very high at 99%, which is above the national average. Satisfaction with Halton Regional services is also very high, with 97% of Halton residents satisfied with the job that the Region is doing.

The very high satisfaction rating further supports the achievements of the Action Plan priority areas. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s report:

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Maintained a strong, sustainable financial position, including an AAA credit rating while minimizing impacts on you the taxpayer. In fact, on average, we have had a 0% tax increase over the past eight years.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Increased investment in regional roads of $289 million and approved a Development Financing Plan that ensures growth pays for itself. Planning for and investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing community now and in the future, with minimal impact to taxpayers.

Economic Development

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • 894 new affordable/assisted housing units built since 2007. Launched the Halton Housing Help service providing online, telephone and in-person support for people searching for affordable housing. In partnership with our federal and provincial partners, we updated the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton’s 10 year roadmap for delivering affordable and assisted housing.

Municipalities receive only 11 per cent of every tax dollar. With this small amount, we provide cost effective and high quality programs and services that touch your life daily. Through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, we work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that they are our funding partners in delivering the programs and services that Halton residents have identified as a priority. You can find more information at www.halton.ca/advocacy.

In 2014, we continue to work to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To review the 2013 Citizens’ Report as well as a list of our 2014 key actions, visit www.halton.ca/actionplan.

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.”

 

 

Top 10 things you need to know about 311

Halton Region is committed to delivering quality programs and services to residents. 311 is one of the key services we offer to ensure you have access to the information you need and want.

Here is my top 10 list of things you need to know about 311:

1)      311 is your direct link to information on Regional government programs and services. Residents can call 311 from anywhere in Halton, toll-free and request a service or receive general information.

2)      Access to 311 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3)      When dialing 311, you can expect to speak to an actual person. Your call will be answered by one of the Region’s knowledgeable customer service representatives, who will listen, answer your question or connect you to someone who can.

4)      If English is not your first language, Halton offers oral interpretation in more than 170 different languages. Residents will be connected with a translation service or the Halton Multicultural Council for further assistance.

5)      311 makes it easy for you to find the information you need. It eliminates the confusion that surrounds multiple phone numbers and contacts, by providing you with one easy number that links you to the right people and places – the first time.

6)      Services accessible by 311 include those offered by:

  • Halton Region
  • City of Burlington
  • Town of Halton Hills
  • Town of Milton
  • Town of Oakville
  • Halton District School Board
  • Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Halton Regional Police Service (non-emergency calls)

7)      Regional departments accessible by 311 include:

  • Office of the Regional Chair
  • Office of the CAO
  • Corporate Services
  • Health
  • Public Works
  • Legislative and Planning Services
  • Social and Community Services

8)      On any given day, residents may come in contact with the Region or use multiple Regional programs and services. 311 is your single access point. You can call 311 to report a pothole you noticed on your way to work, ask about newly acceptable blue box items, book a travel health clinic appointment and more.

9)      If you prefer to get your information online, 311 Halton Online allows you to browse information by municipality, register for programs and services, make online payments and report non-emergency issues.

10)  Access Halton, the Region’s call centre, responds to telephone inquiries through 311, email received via accesshalton@halton.ca, web requests from halton.ca/311and through in-person service. In 2013, Access Halton handled over 304,354 calls, 9,282 emails, 12,357 web service requests and 36,907 reception visits!Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) recognized Access Halton as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton Region received the Highest Customer Service (government) award which is based on first call resolution measurement, for the seventh time.

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.”

Farewell to Mitch Zamojc, Commissioner of Public Works

Halton Region’s Commissioner of Public Works, Mitch Zamojc, is retiring after nearly six years of service to Halton residents.

Commissioner Zamojc joined Halton Region as the Commissioner of Public Works in 2008 after serving the public for more than 28 years including 12 years as Commissioner at the Region of Peel.

Under his leadership, numerous infrastructure plans and strategies for the future have been completed, as well as a number of big projects—everything from bridges, large diameter water mains and water storage tanks to wastewater plant upgrades—and the largest investment in roads Halton Region has ever made.

During Commissioner Zamojc’s tenure:

  • Master Plans for waste, transportation, water and wastewater have been updated to ensure requirements are clearly identified to meet Halton’s needs in the future.
  • Several major capital works projects have also been completed including the Sixteen Mile Creek Bridge on Dundas Street in Oakville, a second water feed to Milton, a new elevated water storage tank in Halton Hills, as well as upgrades to the Oakville Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A number of innovative initiatives were implemented including the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for water and wastewater services and a customer service initiative through social media for Waste Management.  Commissioner Zamojc also led staff in achieving Halton’s solid waste diversion target of 60 per cent.

Commissioner Zamojc has been a valued member of the Region’s Management Committee and a real champion for both innovation and exemplary customer service. On behalf of Regional Council, staff and Halton residents, I would like to thank Commissioner Zamojc for his commitment to Halton Region.

The recruitment process to replace Commissioner Zamojc is underway. His last day at Halton Region will be April 11, 2014.

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.”

 

Keeping Halton healthy by ensuring access to local family physicians

For over a decade, the Halton Region Physician Recruitment program has actively marketed Halton to current and prospective physicians to help address both current and future physician needs. In 2013, the Physician Recruitment program enjoyed another successful year with an additional 22 family doctors establishing their practice in the Region. Since Halton’s Physician Recruitment Initiative began in 2003, more than 200 new family doctors have made Halton home to their practice. Attracting new physicians to establish medical practices in Halton is one of the key priority areas in the 2012-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan,

The Halton Region Physician Recruitment program works in collaboration with all four Local Municipalities, local hospitals, clinics and community representatives to recruit physicians to locate their practices in Halton. The program also assists hospitals with their specialist recruiting, such as psychiatrists, pediatricians, emergency room physicians and hospitalists. 

The Region’s Physician Recruitment Coordinator works directly with prospective and existing physicians to ensure a strong family medicine presence in the Halton Community. Since the program’s inception, the Physician Recruitment Program has implemented a number of initiatives including: 

  • Hosting community tours, special events and physician meetings for prospective family physicians
  • Developing marketing materials to support physicians including a Halton Doctors landing page on the Region’s website (www.haltondoctors.ca)
  • Providing ongoing status updates for residents regarding new family physicians in Halton accepting patients
  • Participating in annual trade shows and recruitment tours for physicians, both nationally and provincially
  • Hosting Halton’s Physician Appreciation week which takes place this April 28-May2, 2014
  • Assisting with the arrangement of medical student and medical resident community electives and rotations 

Halton’s Physician Recruitment program also continues to provide support to the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre in Burlington. The Family Health Centre is part of the 2009 Halton McMaster partnership which saw Halton Region and the City of Burlington provide ten-year funding to McMaster University to help establish a variety of programs in the Region. In June 2013, the first group of Halton McMaster Family Health Centre family medicine residents completed their training and from those five residents, three are now establishing practices in Halton. Currently there are eight first-year residents and six second-year residents based at the Family Health Centre site. 

To see a list of newly recruited doctors who are accepting patients across Halton, visit www.halton.ca/newphysicians. For more information on the Physician Recruitment program, visit www.haltondoctors.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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Enhanced Collection for Storm Related Yard Waste and Bulk Brush Begins March 31

In December, Halton experienced a tremendous ice storm that caused significant damage to many trees and shrubs across the Region. Since the storm, Halton Region has been working closely with the Local Municipalities to implement a coordinated response to manage yard waste brush and debris. As part of this response, Halton has implemented a special bulk brush collection program that will run on the same day as yard waste collection this spring.

Beginning Monday, March 31 until mid-December, the Region’s annual yard waste collection services will run in Burlington collection areas 1-7, Halton Hills collection areas 3-5, Milton collection areas 3-5, and Oakville collection areas 1-8. Residents must place their yard waste material in compostable paper bags or reusable rigid containers or bundle and tie brush for collection on their scheduled yard waste collection day. 

The special bulk brush collection program will also begin on March 31 in Burlington collection areas 1-7, Halton Hills collection areas 3-5, Milton collection areas 3-5, and Oakville collection areas 1-8 and runs until May 30, 2014. 

Bulk brush must be placed in one pile no larger than 10 feet long by six feet wide and be no more than 4 feet high, with branches a maximum of 3 inches in diameter. Residents who have bulk brush materials that are larger than 3 inches in diameter must make their own arrangements to have the materials collected and taken for disposal as these larger materials are unable to be collected safely in standard yard waste collection vehicles. 

In addition to the enhanced bulk brush collection, storm related brush debris and chipped materials can also be dropped off at the Halton Waste Management Site by residents and contractors free of charge until May 31, 2014. 

Since the storm in December, Halton’s Waste Management Services has provided additional collection vehicles and forestry equipment to collect and chip brush debris roadside, set up temporary transfer sites for residents and contractors to drop off materials at no fee and also waived the tipping fee for storm related debris to be dropped off at the Halton Waste Management Site. 

For more information on Halton’s yard waste program or the special bulk brush collection program, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/waste.

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.”

Saving money and the environment through corporate sustainability

Halton Region is committed to working together with residents, businesses and our Local Municipalities to make sure we can meet the needs of Halton today and in the future. Residents have indicated that protecting the natural environment is a top priority, and Regional Council is focused on making positive changes to help minimize our impact on climate change.

In the 2011-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, residents included Corporate Sustainability as a priority area for Halton. In response, Halton staff developed a Corporate Sustainability Action Plan which is used to provide guidance and support for some of our programs and services to ensure we consider sustainability in all we do.

The Action Plan includes focusing on:

  •          Corporate Facilities and Land Management by implementing green building practices in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of Halton Regional facilities;
  •          Transportation and Fleet Management by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants associated with transportation;
  •          Corporate Energy Management by reducing corporate energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while participating in energy conservation programs;
  •          Water Conservation and Waste Management by reducing water consumption and increasing waste diversion at corporate facilities and from Regional projects;
  •          Green Procurement by including sustainable practices and products for bid calls and future contracts of goods and services; and
  •          A culture of sustainability by promoting sustainability awareness among staff and reducing paper use, including paperless Council meetings.

But we can’t do it alone and that’s why Halton’s commitment to sustainability extends past our corporate operations. Whether we’re planning how our communities will grow while protecting our natural heritage systems, creating water efficiency programs or introducing sustainable waste management practices, our local actions make a difference and help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For example, Halton’s landfill was originally planned to close in 2012. Thanks to the diversion efforts of our residents, the landfill life has been extended to 2044. With a replacement cost running up to $1 billion, this commitment to increasing diversion not only benefits our natural environment, it’s also good for Halton’s taxpayer.

Halton also makes it easier for you to make sustainable choices while on the road. Carpooling is something that not only saves you time and money, it also helps to remove pollutants from our air. With every carpool having the potential to take at least one car off the road, it’s a smart alternative and that’s why Halton has partnered with Metrolinx through the Smart Commute Halton program. Working together, we’re making it easy for you and your company to have sustainable transportation options.

We’re committed to making it easy for you to make sustainable choice in your home, on the road and in your community. Working together we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment. If you would like to learn more about Halton Region’s sustainability initiatives, please visit www.halton.ca/sustainability.

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.”