Halton is ready for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

Pan Am MiltonExcitement is building for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games starting on July 10.  Halton Region has been working closely with the Town of Milton and the TO2015 organizers on areas including transportation, paramedic services, public health and emergency planning to ensure the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Halton are safe, fun and successful for our residents, athletes and visitors to the region.

Milton will host official cycling events at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre (known as the Cisco Milton Pan Am Parapan Am Velodrome during the games), which allows us to promote Halton as the Home for Cycling in Ontario. We have so much to offer cyclists of any level, including our vast network of rural routes and trails, and paths along the waterfront.

Milton is also ramping up celebrations throughout the community to get residents and visitors excited for the games. Some of the events include a yarn bomb, fan stands and cycling trading cards. Visit milton.ca/games for more details.

We look forward to our residents and visitors enjoying the beauty of our region, the local restaurants and other tourist attractions during the Games because there is so much to see and do in Halton.

We encourage residents to keep in mind that traffic will be busier than usual during the games throughout the Greater Toronto Area and in Milton. Be sure to plan ahead. You can visit toronto2015.com or halton.ca/TO2015 for details.

If you would like to know more about the games, please visit halton.ca/TO2015 or milton.ca/games.  Enjoy the games and thank you for making Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire! Go Team Canada!

Helping newcomers make Halton their home

Newcomer_event_2015-06-10_057Halton is a place where we welcome, respect and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of all residents. Recently I attended an event where I was honoured to represent Halton Region for its role in the award-winning Halton Newcomer Strategy.

The Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) has recognized Halton Region and 45 community partners who work together through the Halton Newcomer Strategy with a Local Municipal Champion Award for our commitment to making Halton a welcoming, inclusive and supportive community where newcomers can prosper.

The award was presented at the Halton Newcomer Strategy’s first recognition event where community partners and stakeholders, including Halton Region, joined to celebrate the accomplishments of local newcomer heroes, as well as receive recognition for the great work they’ve accomplished so far.

As Chair, I talk to many newcomers to our Region, hear about the many sacrifices they make in order to be successful in Halton and I’m reminded how our wide range of backgrounds, traditions and experiences are a source of strength for our Region, providing us with new perspectives and talents. I’m honoured that our commitment to creating welcoming communities for our newest residents was recognized with this award, as the Halton Newcomer Strategy is an important part of keeping Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Halton Newcomer Strategy can help welcome you or other newcomers to Halton, visit www.welcometohalton.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@garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Protecting yourself against heat and smog this summer

With the summer months just ahead of us we can expect higher temperatures and increased humidity and smog.  In order to protect yourself, your family and help those in our community, residents can sign up to receive heat and smog alerts from the Halton Region Health Department. These alerts help you plan your outdoor activities so you can enjoy a safe and fun summer in Halton.

A heat warning is issued when:

  • the temperature is expected to reach 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for two days, or
  • the humidex value is expected to reach at least 40°C for two days.

Alternatively, an extreme heat warning is issued when:

  • the temperature is expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for at least three days, or
  • there is a humidex of at least 40°C for at least three days.

During these heat and smog warnings, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent activity breaks and use sun protection. While you’re protecting yourself and your family from preventable heat illnesses, it’s also important to visit your neighbours to make sure they’re cool and hydrated, especially if they are elderly, don’t have air conditioning or are at high-risk for a heat illness.

High heat and humidity are often accompanied by smog. Poor outdoor air quality poses a risk to our health in Halton Region and in many other communities across southern Ontario. Halton Region has various programs in place to help improve our air quality and the Halton Region Health Department regularly posts information on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) so that you can stay informed and make decisions about how to protect your health from these environmental impacts.

Everyone knows that Halton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire, and part of what makes it so great here is the sense of community.  By staying informed, we can protect ourselves and our families, help those 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@garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Investing in the safety and health of Halton residents

Regional Council recently approved almost $1.5 million in funding for 28 community health and social service programs and projects. The funding, provided through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund, will help keep our communities safe and healthy and is part of what makes Halton such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

One of the great things I get to experience daily as Regional Chair is the opportunity to meet people in Halton who are making important contributions to the lives of others in the community. We have a vibrant non-profit sector with dedicated staff and thousands of volunteers who provide community programs and services to people of all ages in Halton. The Community Investment Fund makes it possible for these programs to expand their services, enhance their equipment or even try something new.

The community investment fund supports innovative initiatives including providing cost-free arts programs to children from low-income families; helping to reduce wait lists for children needing assessment and treatment services; supporting single mother-led families and other programs that are so important to a happy and healthy Halton. For a full listing of the programs/projects being funded this year, visit halton.ca/investmentfund.

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.”

Protecting Halton from West Nile virus

To help keep West Nile virus (WNV) out of our communities, Halton Region has begun its West Nile virus prevention program. Whether by monitoring and reducing the amount of mosquitoes in Halton or helping our residents make smart choices to prevent West Nile virus, together we can help keep Halton safe and healthy this summer.

Since West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes, Halton Region is diligent in monitoring and preventing mosquito larvae from hatching to help keep WNV out of Halton. As a result of the relatively dry spring, the Halton Region Health Department has found higher numbers of mosquito larvae in catch basins and other places with standing water. To help control the mosquito population and reduce the threat of West Nile virus, the Health Department has started treating areas of standing water with a larvicide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into hungry adult mosquitoes.

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.

While Halton works behind the scenes to reduce the chance of WNV in Halton, you can also help protect yourself and continue to enjoy the warm weather this summer.

The most important step to preventing West Nile virus it to prevent mosquito bites and a few simple actions can make all the difference.

  1. Wear insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin.
  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.

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 they can determine if larviciding is necessary.

Working together, we can enjoy a safe and healthy summer and keep 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.”

Explore Halton this summer!

Halton Region is a great place to live and also a great place to visit. The summer season offers both residents and visitors a wide variety of things to see and do including cycling, rock climbing, shopping, arts and culture, farmers markets, concerts and festivals and so much more!




There is always something great happening in Halton. Our region 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 experiences. Residents and guests can also visit our unique festivals and events for the whole family throughout the year. For complete listings and calendars of festivals and events taking place this the summer season, I encourage you to visit each of our local municipalities to find out what is going on throughout Halton.

For those who are looking for a little adventure, Halton has a rich and diverse landscape with many outdoor attractions and natural and man-made activities for the whole family. Halton is the home of cycling in Ontario, from biking along the waterfront to riding our vast network of trails and rural routes – there is something for all levels of cyclist. For young families and recreational cyclists, we have safe multi-use paths and a number of dedicated on-road bicycle lanes. For more committed cyclists, we offer beautiful views along challenging routes on the Niagara Escarpment. You can also check out the new Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, which will be used this July and August for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. To learn more about cycling in Halton or to view a copy of the Halton Region Cycling Map, visit halton.ca/cycling.

Summertime is also a great time to take full advantage of all the fresh produce our local farmers have to offer. Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms is an excellent resource for mapping out your tour of farmers and farmer’s markets throughout the region. Many farms offer various goods for sale as well as special events and activities to keep the entire family entertained. Buying local is good for our economy, good for the environment and good for your health. For more information, visit halton.ca/simplylocal.

This summer, why not invite a friend or family member to Halton and share your favourite spot? For more fun activity ideas, visit halton.ca/tourism.

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 Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “the Carr Report”.

World class legacy park planned for Burlington Beach

imagerec_burlington_beach_regional_waterfront_park_01Work is about to begin on the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park to transform it into a world class destination over the next 25 years. On Wednesday, May 27, Regional Council approved the park’s long-term Master Plan, which builds on six unique areas within the Regional park.

The Plan illustrates how the park will become a legacy, four-season urban waterfront experience that will attract visitors from far and wide to our beautiful region. The premise is to develop a series of distinct character areas that celebrate the diversity, and unique characteristics and landscapes within the park so that visitors will explore beyond their intended destination.

Some highlights include:

  • Accessible beach areas
  • Dune and significant natural area rehabilitation
  • Flexible “Green” parking areas
  • Exercise stations
  • Artisan and market buildings and washrooms
  • Flexible special events space
  • A diverse interpretive and education program
  • Fire circles/ warming stations
  • Shoreline and dune boardwalks
  • Unique children’s play areas
  • Sports facilities for beach volleyball, bocciball and multi-use courts

The Region in collaboration with the City of Burlington and Conservation Halton, Regional and City Advisory Committees, including feedback from local residents, developed the Plan with careful consideration over several years. Council directed staff to ensure it balances recreational, educational, cultural and tourist opportunities, while still being environmentally sensitive to preserve the complex ecosystem in the area.

We are so fortunate in Halton to have this extraordinary resource. It is one of the only natural sand beaches in a downtown urban context that is fully accessible to the general public in North America. It also contributes significantly to the identity and culture of Downtown Burlington and the region. I am proud to be a part of this Council who is committed to keeping Halton a great and beautiful place to live and visit today and for generations to come.

For more details about the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan to see visual concepts, please visit www.halton.ca/burlingtonbeach.

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 Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “the Carr Report”.