Keep you and your family safe this summer

Emergencies can happen at any time, and now that summer is here, it’s important to prepare ourselves in the event of a summer storm event. Here at Halton Region, we work with our local partners every day to ensure we are well-prepared for emergencies. Severe weather, floods and power outages are just a few things summer can bring.

Individuals and families need to be prepared in advance so they know what to do during the first 72 hours of an emergency, while fire, police and paramedics help those who need immediate support.

Stay safe for the first 72 hours by following these 3 simple steps:

  • Know the risks specific to your community.
  • Make a plan: Have an emergency plan in place to help you and your family know what to do if disaster strikes.
  • Get a kit: Buy one or make one yourself.
    • An emergency kit should include these basics:
      • Your personal emergency plan
      • Flashlight
      • Battery-powered or crank radio
      • First-Aid Kit
      • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
      • Bottled water

Be sure to check out the full list of emergency kit items and for information on where to buy a kit.

For more information on how to keep yourself and your family safe before, during and after an emergency, visit halton.ca/beprepared or dial 311. Also don’t forget to read our flood guide to learn how to handle flooding.

Stay safe, be prepared and enjoy your 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.”

ReThink Water this summer

Halton is proud to provide our residents with access to high-quality tap water. The Region has a variety of programs and services in place to help protect and conserve our water resources and ensure that water is safe when it reaches your home, school or business.

Our water purification plants, source water protection plans and well water monitoring programs monitor the quality and provide protection of Halton’s drinking water systems 365 days a year. Initiatives like the toilet rebate program, the annual rain barrel truckload sales and the Household Guide to Water Efficiency help engage residents in water conservation to ensure the community can enjoy a safe reliable supply of tap water both now and in the future.

This summer, residents are asked to ReThink Water and make water efficiency an important part of your daily life. With the arrival of warmer weather, be mindful of your outdoor water use to ensure there is always sufficient water supply for essential use and emergency services like firefighting.

Water conservation is very important during the summer months, especially in residential areas supported by municipal well-based systems. Residents are asked to use water efficiently by not overwatering lawns or watering just before, during or after rainfall, sweep or rake driveways rather than using a hose, use a pool cover, and ensure any irrigation systems are operating efficiently. 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. The three levels of the program include:

LEVEL 1 (Blue) – Careful Use

  • Voluntary odd/even lawn watering between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. & 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.:
    • Properties with odd address numbers water on odd numbered calendar days
    • Properties with even address numbers water on even numbered calendar days
  • Car washing and watering of trees, shrubs and gardens is allowed.
  • Although level one is voluntary, resident cooperation to reduce regular outdoor water use is important.

LEVEL 2 (Yellow) – Limited Use

  • Mandatory odd/even lawn watering between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. & 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.:
    • Properties with odd address numbers water on odd numbered calendar days
    • Properties with even address numbers water on even numbered calendar days
  • Watering of trees, shrubs and gardens should be done using a hand-held device such as a watering can.

LEVEL 3 (Red) – Stop Use

  • No outdoor lawn watering or car washing is permitted in order to conserve water for emergency and essential services.
  • Watering of trees, shrubs and gardens can be done using a hand-held device following the odd/even watering rule.

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 as wisely and efficiently as possible.

If you would like 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.

Supporting student entrepreneurs helps build a strong economy

Supporting our youth through innovative entrepreneurship programs and services plays a critical role in job creation and economic growth in Halton, for today and for the future.

Summer Company, a provincially funded program co-ordinated by the Halton Region Small Business Centre, provides students aged 15 to 29 with the necessary support to become self-employed during the summer months. The program aims to support students interested in entrepreneurship as a possible career, through funding and mentorship from local business advisors.

Successful applicants can receive up to $3,000 in funding, including up to $1,500 for start-up costs and up to another $1,500 upon completion of the program.

On behalf of Halton Region, I’d like to congratulate our 2015 Summer Company student participants, who were selected from a large group of applicants from across the region:

  • Darryl Apple, InFaction Studios, Oakville
  • Marlee Armour, Summer Swim Academy, Burlington
  • Leslie Ashworth, Suite Melody Care, Oakville
  • Evan Attard, Art Hero Summer Camp, Burlington
  • Neha Bhasin, Summer Soaps Co., Oakville
  • Michael Clegg, Clegg’s Athletic Program, Oakville
  • Julia Dedic, Jewels by Julia, Oakville
  • Lucy He, Keys to Success Piano & Tutoring, Oakville
  • Emily Hollick, Golden Years Training & Care, Oakville
  • Stephen Johnson, Jeunessis, Oakville
  • William Lomoro, Glen Valley Photography, Oakville
  • Nia O’Brien, Nia O’Brien Creations, Oakville
  • Madeline Webb, The Alternative Baker, Burlington

Get to know this year’s Summer Company participants and see a list of our 2015 volunteer mentors.

By enhancing our support through programs and services targeted at youth entrepreneurs, we can continue to provide the next generation with the tools and guidance they need to help their business ideas come to life. Growing the Regional economy continues to be a top priority for Council and this, in part, will help build a strong economy in the years to come. I wish all 2015 Summer Company students success with their summer businesses!

Don’t forget to follow Halton’s Summer Company program on Facebook, and apply next year if you’re a student with a business idea.

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.”

Tracking immunizations to keep our residents, schools and communities healthy

Halton Region is committed to the health and well-being of all our residents and immunization is one way to protect our community from the threat of preventable diseases.

While the majority of families in Halton immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware of the need to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any immunizations their children have.

SchoolImmunizationChecklistThe provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) outlines which immunizations students must have in order to keep our students and schools healthy in order to protect our children from the deadly diseases that can easily spread in schools. The province requires that local health departments confirm the immunization records of students to ensure they have the legally required immunizations in order to attend school.

This summer, please take a moment to ensure your family’s immunizations are up-to-date, your children have all their legally required immunizations to attend school and the Halton Region Health Department has your updated records on file by dialing 311. If your child is unable to get immunized, you must have a notarized exemption on file with the Health Department in order to meet school attendance requirements.

To help make it easier for you to update your vaccination history with the Health Department, we’re also working on a new, online immunization reporting system that should be ready this fall.

Thank you for helping us keep Halton a great, safe and health 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@garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton delivers high quality housing programs

Halton Regional Council is committed to providing safe, affordable and accessible housing to help those in our community that need support. Our housing programs are a critical component of building healthy, inclusive communities in Halton.

Some of the key highlights of Halton Region’s housing programs include:

With our ongoing commitment to provide accessible housing in Halton, I’m proud that we were recently recognized by the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA) and received a Local Municipal Champion Award for our role in the Housing Collaborative Initiative. By partnering with eight municipalities to create a single housing management software application, Halton will be able to:

  • modernize housing operations;
  • reduce administrative costs;
  • improve customer service by automating many manual activities; and
  • support Halton Access to Community Housing (HATCH) applicants by making it possible to apply online for housing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the cost of housing, I encourage you to look into our Regional Housing Services online or dial 311.

Working together we can support all members of our community and continue to be a great place to live today, tomorrow and in the future.

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”.

Halton’s Regional Forests achieve Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification

RegionalForestOn Feb. 8, 2015, the Regional Forests achieved Forest Stewardship Council®  (FSC®) certification (FSC® C018800) through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s Forest Certification Program. This is a voluntary process for organizations wanting to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining forest ecosystems and environmental  integrity.

The Halton Regional Forest Management Plan is a 20-year plan to guide forest management and recreational activities for our Regional Forests.

Under Halton Region’s Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, protecting the natural environment has been identified as a key priority.  Having our Regional forests certified is one way we meet our goals of promoting responsible environmental management, adding to our leadership in environmental policies and programs.

Being responsible about the way our forests are used is important to improving and protecting the environment. By having forests we are able to:

  • Purify the air
  • Alleviate the effects of climate change (wood and vegetation absorbs carbon from the atmosphere)
  • Reduce winter heating and summer cooling energy demands
  • Maintain water quality
  • Prevent erosion

Halton Region is home to 665 hectares (1,645 acres) of forests, with 65 rare types of plants and over 95 species of birds, which can be enjoyed year-round and help make Halton Region a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Learn more about Halton’s Regional Forests at halton.ca/regionalforests.

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”.

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!