Practise water conservation this summer

In Halton, we work very hard to protect our valuable water resources to ensure all residents have access to safe, high-quality tap water. The Region has a variety of programs and services in place to help protect and conserve our water and to ensure that water is safe when it reaches your home, school or business.

This summer has been extremely hot with very little rainfall. In order to ensure there is always sufficient water supply for essential use and emergency services, residents are asked to make water conservation a part of their daily lives. Using water wisely is especially important during extended periods of hot and dry weather.

We ask residents to use water efficiently by:

  • not overwatering your lawn or garden;
  • practicing lawn watering in accordance with the odd/even rule (i.e., odd numbered addresses water on odd numbered days and even numbered addresses water on even numbered days)
  • sweeping your driveway instead of using the hose;
  • using a pool cover to reduce water evaporation;
  • ensuring any irrigation systems are operating efficiently;
  • adjusting sprinklers, so only your lawn is watered – not the house, sidewalk, or street; and
  • ensuring only to water plants when necessary.

Even though residents make every effort to conserve during these warm summer months, the demand for water can increase by 50 per cent. If we experience an extended period of hot, dry weather, the Region may enact outdoor water use restrictions.

Halton’s Outdoor Water Use program consists of a numeric colour-coded system, which indicates the extent of any restrictions on outdoor water use. The Outdoor Water use program considers different factors such as water demand, water storage levels, stream flow and groundwater levels and weather patterns. Currently, we are in a Level 1 – Blue water conservation category which encourages residents to participate in the voluntary odd/even water program.

To learn more about Halton’s water, tips on how to conserve, or to check the current water restriction level, please visit halton.ca/water or dial 311.

Halton Region is committed to working together with our residents and community partners to protect our natural resources to ensure we can meet our needs today and in the future. This summer, re-think your water use by using it wisely and efficiently.

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’s transportation network remains safe, efficient and well maintained

Halton Region is growing at an impressive rate. By 2031, the Region is forecasted to have a population of 780,000 people. With that comes the need for infrastructure and a transportation network that can operate efficiently, safely and be consistently maintained to keep people and goods moving.

The 2015 Halton Region Transportation Progress Report, recently received by Council, highlighted successes related to planning, road safety, maintenance and reduced congestion. To ensure we continue to meet the needs of growth and continue to deliver an effective road network, Regional Council is continuing its commitment to infrastructure by investing nearly $1.4 billion over the next 10 years into the road network and on average, approximately $120 million annually.

The report indicated that Halton Region’s roads are operating more safely and efficiently year-over-year thanks to programs such as the Comprehensive Road Safety Action Plan (CROSAP), the Drive SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone) and intersection speed reviews.

Much of our investment is also allocated to construction projects to enhance travel throughout the region and maintenance projects to ensure roads are kept in a state of good repair that extend the life our road network.

In 2015, the Smart Commute program, which encourages sustainable travel options such as carpooling, public transit, cycling and walking, exceeded the targeted number of participating businesses in Halton. Last year, the program included 26 Halton businesses with more than 20,000 employees.

Finally, supporting and promoting active transportation is another key priority, as part of the Region’s commitment to building healthy and complete communities. We continue to work toward an integrated transportation network that supports other modes of travel, such as walking, cycling and transit. Last year, Regional Council approved the Active Transportation Master Plan and in 2015 alone, 28 kilometers of active transportation infrastructure was constructed on Regional roads. Since 2011, the number of on-road cycling lanes has increased nearly 75 per cent.

Halton’s transportation system is operating well and is part of what makes Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about the progress report and transportation initiatives in Halton, visit halton.ca/transportation.

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”.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!On July 1 we celebrate Canada Day – our nation’s 149th birthday! Many of us will be enjoying a day out at one of Halton’s beautiful conservation areas, cooling off at one of our great beaches, or enjoying a BBQ in the backyard with family and friends.

However you choose to celebrate, I encourage you to practice safe behaviours on the roads, in the water and anywhere you plan to relax or explore.

Canada Day is also a great time to reflect on what it means to be Canadian and to celebrate our high quality of life, our freedom and peace, and the many opportunities we enjoy. Here in Halton, our high quality of life and thriving economy is due to the Region’s commitment to planning sustainable communities, protecting public health, delivering social services and increasing public engagement.

Glen Williams  Canada Day parade dreamstime_m_5639284In many respects, Halton Region reflects the very best of Canada. We are a diverse, inclusive and supportive community. To that end, I am extremely proud of the warm welcome extended to many families and individuals that are newcomers to our community. Halton will continue to ensure all residents and newcomers have easy access to the services they require in order to prosper in their new home.

I would also like to personally thank everyone in our community who donated to the Fort McMurray relief efforts as that community attempts to clean up and rebuild following the devastating wildfires that displaced so many. At the end of the day we are all one country, one big community, and when our fellow Canadians needed your help, you were there. Another example of why we are all proud to be Canadians.

For a list of activities this Canada Day, be sure to check out the Festivals and Events in Halton page on the Halton Region website. As always, our essential and 24-hour services remain available over the long weekend—visit halton.ca or dial 311 to connect with us.

Halton Region remains as vibrant, welcoming and diverse as ever – for newcomers and long-time residents alike. Our caring nature and diversity help make Halton 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”.

Nearly 1,000 new businesses established in Halton in 2015

2015 Employment Survey results

Each year, Halton Region conducts the Employment Survey to highlight the factors underlying Halton’s economic health. The results of the survey support policy and decision-making at the Region and inform infrastructure improvements that serve local residents and businesses. At Halton Region, we are committed to supporting and sustaining a strong local economy and the Employment Survey helps us plan for the future to ensure that when businesses choose to locate in Halton, they are choosing one of the best places in Canada to do business.

Key results for the survey include:

  • Nearly half of Halton’s businesses were located within Halton’s designated employment areas
  • Strong business investment activity in the region helped Halton attain an average unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent in 2015 – a figure significantly lower than the provincial and national rates.
  • Over 90 per cent of businesses surveyed in 2014 were still operating in 2015.
  • The top three sectors in Halton are retail trade, manufacturing and educational services
  • Halton’s business community has grown 2.4 per cent each year, on average, since 2011.  This growth closely matches the growth rate of the population in the region.

These results are impressive and demonstrate many businesses are benefitting from the strategic advantages of building and investing in Halton. Businesses in Halton profit from a deep talent pool of professionals, proximity to leading educational institutions, easy access to major markets and a high quality of life.

The Employment Survey is an important resource that helps us effectively plan for growth, attract new businesses and visitors, and support economic sustainability in Halton—all key priorities in Halton Region’s Strategic Action Plan 2015 – 2018. We couldn’t do this without the help of the many businesses in Halton that participate in the survey annually. In 2015, our survey response rate was over 98 per cent. I am thankful that so many businesses took the time to participate in the survey. They are a big reason why Halton is such a great place to live, work, do business and invest. By planning for today and tomorrow, we continue to support our vibrant and growing business community.

To review the survey results, visit halton.ca/employmentsurvey.

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”.

Summer Fun in Halton

Halton Region is not only a great place to live, it is also a great place to explore. As summer is fast approaching, Halton Region is packed with events and activities for the whole family. Over the summer months, Halton is home to the Sound of Music Festival, RBC Canadian Open, Strawberry Fair, Musictown and many more exciting events that are sure to make your summer one to remember.

Our region is the perfect destination for some of the finest shopping and dining throughout Halton’s Local Municipalities. Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville each host a wide array of events, festivals and attractions throughout the year, especially in the summer months. For a complete list of upcoming events and festivals, visit our Local Municipalities’ websites.

Halton has a rich and diverse landscape featuring beautiful waterfalls and outdoor attractions for people of all ages. Discover Halton by embarking on a hike, bike ride or walk along the Greenbelt Areas, Niagara Escarpment, Conservation Area, Bronte Provincial Park or on one of the region’s local trails. Discover what makes Halton the home of cycling in Ontario and download the Region’s Cycling Map.

Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario, Halton also offers a variety of summer water activities along 25 kilometres of waterfront. Visit the lakeshore, take a stroll along a waterfront trail, check out one of the local harbors and enjoy the view at a lakeside restaurant!

Halton’s strong agricultural sector and vibrant rural communities offer residents and visitors an opportunity to experience some of the best local food and farms in Ontario. To learn more about the farms and markets throughout the region, visit Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms.

Beginning in June, Halton Heritage Services will host the Beyond Sit and Stay: Dogs in Our Service exhibitionat the Halton Region Museum located inside Kelso Conservation Area before the exhibit goes on the road travelling to other Halton locations September. Kids can also learn about the Escarpment and its ecosystem by visiting Heritage Service’s online exhibit, Jeff’s Home.

This summer season, choose Halton and discover everything that makes our region 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”.

Our AAA rating helps Halton maintain a strong financial position

I am proud to say that Moody’s Investor Service has reaffirmed Halton Region’s Aaa credit rating, ranking us once again at the top end of Canadian municipalities. This is the highest credit rating possible and it helps us borrow for infrastructure at much lower rates, minimizing the impact on taxpayers, which is a top priority for Halton Region.  In July 2015, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services also reaffirmed the Region’s top credit rating. We have maintained our AAA credit rating for 27 years based on our strong budgetary performance and prudent financial management practices.

ChairsAaaVideoWEBOur commitment to being a transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government contributes to our success and ensures value for taxpayer dollars. To learn more, I encourage you to check out my latest video which highlights the importance of our AAA credit rating.

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”.

Stay safe this summer by protecting yourself against heat and smog

AQHI_KidsWEBHalton Region is committed to helping you make safe and healthy choices to enhance your quality of life. This summer, sign up to receive environmental alerts delivered right to your inbox to help protect yourself and your family from the health impacts associated with heat warnings and times when air quality is poor.

Protect yourself from low air quality

By promoting the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) across the region, Halton can help you make healthy choices to help improve your health and well-being. The AQHI helps you to understand what the air quality around you means to your health. It helps you stay healthy by telling you the best time of the day to be physically active and when to reduce or reschedule outdoor activities.

AQHI_IndicatorTo help people gain a better understanding of the AQHI this summer, Halton Region will be promoting the various colours related to the levels of risk:

  • On a blue air day (low risk: 1-3 on the AQHI scale), air quality is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities.
  • On an orange air day (moderate risk: 4-6 on the AQHI scale), people with heart or breathing issues may want to consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if they are experiencing symptoms. Otherwise, enjoy being physically active outside.
  • On a red air day (high risk: 7-10 on the AQHI scale), people with heart or breathing issues, as well as children and older adults, should reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Others should also consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities, especially if experiencing coughing or throat irritation.
  • On a maroon air day (very high risk: +10 on the AQHI scale), everyone should either avoid, reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activity.

By knowing whether it’s a blue, orange or red air day in Halton Region, you can protect your health and adjust your outdoor activities appropriately. Sign up for electronic alerts to be sent to your inbox when air quality is a concern.

Protect yourself from the heat

With the summer months now here, we can begin to expect higher temperatures. In order to protect yourself, your family and help those in our community who may be more vulnerable to higher temperatures, you can also sign up for electronic heat alerts from the Halton Region Health Department.

During heat warnings and on days with poor air quality, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent activity breaks and use sun protection. It’s also important to visit family members, friends and neighbours to make sure they’re cool and hydrated, particularly the elderly who are at a high-risk for heat-related illnesses.

By staying informed, we can protect ourselves and our families, help others in our community and enjoy all Halton has to offer this summer.

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”.