Halton Region Quarterly Accomplishments (Q4, 2011)

Fiscal Responsibility

Approved 2012 budget with a zero per cent tax increase

On December 14, Halton Regional Council approved the Region’s 2012 Budget and Business Plan, delivering a zero per cent tax rate increase for Regional programs and services. In the past six years, Halton Region has one of the best records in all of Canada for keeping taxes low. The approval of the 2012 budget marks the third consecutive year the Region has not increased taxes for its services, while maintaining service levels in a growing community. Regional services account for approximately 25 per cent of the residential property tax bill received by Halton residents.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

  • The Economic Development Strategy 2012-2021 Implementation Plan

The Economic Development Strategy 2012-2021 Implementation Plan was approved by Regional Council on December 14th.  The Implementation Plan will guide Halton Region Economic Development, in concert with its local municipal partners to fulfil the Region’s vision for economic development by 2021. 

  • Halton Region’s Small Business Centre reaches 1000 followers

Over 1,000 people are now following the Centre on Twitter and connecting with each other for small business news, tips, expert advice, and information about the Centre’s services, resources, and events.

  • Entrepreneurship Week

Halton Region’s Small Business Centre and HalTech, Halton’s regional innovation centre, combined for a successful inaugural Entrepreneurship Week, November 15-17 at Sheridan College in Oakville.  More than 200 registrants participated in learning sessions and enjoyed networking opportunities. 

  • Release of the Development Charges Background Study

Halton Region released a Development Charges Background Study for Water, Wastewater, Roads & General Services Development Charges on November 30.  The Background Study has been prepared in accordance with the Development Charges Act, 1997 and, together with the proposed By-laws, is being made available to the public prior to a public meeting scheduled for February.

Promoting Tourism

  • Social media

Halton Tourism announced the winner of the fall photo contest on its Facebook page and reached 442 twitter followers.

  • Halton Region Museum hosted successful fall events

HaltonRegionMuseumhosted a number of events in fall 2011. In addition to its successful Jazz at the Museum concert series, the Museum brought back its popular Hearthside event, an evening of entertainment, great music and superb food. Held in honour of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, the well-attended event featured a new caterer, talented Juno nominated entertainment and a younger trio and served to showcase the Museum. 

Be an Employer of Choice

  • Halton named one of the GTA’s Top Employers for 2012

Halton Region was named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2012.  The annual Greater Toronto’s Top Employers competition recognizes employers that lead their sectors in areas such as health, financial and family benefits; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. 

Safe Communities

  • Halton announced as safest regional municipality in Canada

For the fourth year in a row, Maclean’s Magazine has named Halton Region the Safest Place to live in the Great Toronto Area and the Safest Regional Municipality in Canada.  Maclean’s bases its ranking on aggregate results of the 2010 annual crime data from Statistics Canada’s for Municipal police services serving the nation’s 100 largest populations and the Crime Severity Index (CSI) scores.

Transportation

  • Tremaine Road widening, Derry Road to Main Street, Milton, includes roundabout

Thank you to all the drivers who use Tremaine Road, between Derry Roadand Main Street, for your patience during the construction over the last two years. This $16 million project (including federal and provincial funding) included widening Tremaine Road to four lanes between Derry Road and Main Street, installing new watermains, building Halton’s first Regional roundabout, creating dedicated on-road cycling lanes, adding multi-use paths on the east side of the road and more. For more details on how to safely drive the roundabout, visit www.halton.ca/goround.

  • Derry Road repaving from Walkers Line to Tremaine Road including intersection improvements at Walkers Line and Derry Road

This quarter also saw the repaving on Derry Road between Walkers Line and Tremaine Road. Not only will this give a smoother ride to drivers, but the intersection at Walkers Line and Derry Road has been improved.

  • 16 Mile Creek North Bridge (Dundas Street from Proudfoot Trail to Neyagawa Boulevard)

Drivers using Dundas Street in Oakville will have noticed construction between Proudfoot Trail and Neyagawa Boulevard. This infrastructure project hit a milestone this quarter when the new north bridge crossing the 16 Mile Creek opened to traffic in October. When the project is finished later this year, Dundas Street will be six lanes with bicycle paths and sidewalks on both sides of the two new bridges.

  • Transportation Master Plan

On Wednesday, October 5, Regional Council approved Halton’s most recent Transportation Master Plan, The Road to Change, which plans the Regional transportation system up to the year 2031. The master plan examines transportation infrastructure, identifies new road corridors and ways to provide for cycling and walking, promotes travel demand management programs (such as carpooling) and accommodates enhanced municipal and inter-regional (GO) transit services. For more details on The Road to Change – Halton’s Transportation Master Plan 2031, please visit www.halton.ca/htmp.

Infrastructure

  • Water and Wastewater Master Plan 

On October 5, 2011 Regional Council approved the Sustainable Halton Water and Wastewater Master Plan. This plan ensures that Halton will continue to provide a safe and uninterrupted water supply for all Halton residents and businesses that receive Regional water, as well as ensuring that wastewater is treated efficiently and effectively.

Waste Management

  • Solid Waste Management Strategy

On November 16, Regional Council approved Halton’s new Solid Waste Management Strategy which will guide Regional waste diversion programs towards the goal of achieving a 65 per cent waste diversion rate by the year 2016. To learn more about each of the new initiatives included in the 2012 to 2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy visit www.halton.ca/wastestrategy.   

Planning Sustainable Communities

  • Approval of ROPA 38

On November 25,  the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a Notice of Decision to approve ROPA 38 (Sustainable Halton) with modifications to align the Region’s Official Plan with the Province’s Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement. 

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • Completion of two new HCHC seniors buildings – Martin House Residence in Milton and Aldershot Village in Burlington

The construction of two new Halton Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) seniors’ housing developments was completed at the end of 2011.  Martin House Seniors Residence, located at 189 Ontario Street South in Milton, provides Halton with 80 new units for seniors, including eight units for persons with disabilities. Aldershot Village Residence, located at 540 Plains Road East in Burlington, offers 65 new affordable housing units and is home to the Burlington Public Library’s new Aldershot Branch.

Children and Youth Development

  • Innovation funding

Halton’s Our Kids Network/Early Years Committee received Innovation Funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services for the development of a new Service Navigation System model. The new system will allow Halton to move forward with the Best Start Child and Family System (BSCFS) designed to support families during a child’s early years

  • Our Kids Network Report Card

Halton Our Kids Network released A Vision for Children in Halton, Report Card 2011.  The third report card since 2004, A Vision for Children in Halton 2011 is a powerful tool and more information can be found online.

  • Halton Our Kids highlighted in Ontario’s Chief MOH Annual report

On December 1, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, released her 2010 Annual Report, Health, Not Health Care – Changing the Conversation. The report cited Halton Our Kids Network (OKN) as an example of an Ontario municipality crossing government and sectoral lines to create healthy public policy. Halton Region’s Health and Social and Community Services Departments are key partners in OKN.

  • New intake/information line accessed by dialing 311

Based on the research from two focus group surveys conducted in 2010, the Health Department created a new intake/information line staffed by public health nurses to increase access to comprehensive health and parenting information.  This new intake/information line went live on December 5. Public health nurses provide comprehensive, best-practice advice, information, support, and counselling on a variety of topics. They also assist with linkages and referrals to Halton Region programs, classes, services and other community resources. The line also benefits health care professionals, school staff, childcare professionals, and staff from community agencies.

  • Halton Baby Friendly Initiative common messages document to become provincial resource

In November, the Health Department signed an agreement with the Province to adapt the department’s “Key Common Messages Supporting the BFI (Baby Friendly Initiative)” working document into a provincial resource. The document has been widely used in the Halton community to provide consistent messages for health care providers.  Health Nexus, Best Start Resource Centre and the Ontario Breastfeeding Committee recognized it as a valuable tool for other organizations working towards BFI accreditation and maintenance.  This recent agreement means that the Halton document will be adapted by a committee of academics, hospital and community experts and become a provincial resource.

  • Community of Aldershot focuses on mental health

In October theAldershotcommunity hosted a youth event called the Big Chill. The day was organized by the “Partnering Aldershot Safety Team” to promote mental health and increase awareness of community resources.

Seniors

  • Successful bid for provincial funding to support community seniors’ fall prevention

Halton Region Health Department staff provided key leadership in a successful bid for provincial funding of seniors’ fall prevention research. The research project, “Engaging Community-Based Organizations in Fall Prevention for Older Adults: Moving from Research to Action,” received $100,000 to better inform public health and the community to prevent falls in older adults.

Protecting Public Health

  • Health indicators reports

Monitoring the health of Halton citizens is a key priority for Regional Council and the Halton Region Health Department (HRHD).  Using data from a variety of sources including the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, Canadian Community Health Survey, Our Kids Halton Youth Survey and sources such as vital statistics births and deaths, and hospital discharges, HRHD regularly develops Health Indicator Reports on various health issues such as tobacco use or body mass index (i.e., weight). Each report includes demographic comparisons by age, sex, and municipality, as well as trends over time related to that health issue and helps to inform HRHD programs and services. In the fall, several new and updated reports were posted on the Region’s website.

  • Fall 2011 paramedic continuing medical education training

All paramedic staff completed an eight-hour continuing medical education session in November.  Continuing education is delivered throughout the year to ensure Halton paramedics are proficient with current standards, and to educate paramedics on new protocols, medication and equipment. 

  • Emergency Services tiered response agreement completed

In the early 1990s, a tiered response guideline was established amongst the three emergency services—EMS, police and fire services. The agreement outlined when the various emergency service agencies would be dispatched to emergency incidents that require more than once agency to respond to assist the primary emergency service.  Halton’s EMS, police and fire services have been working under this guideline since 2000 when Halton Region assumed responsibility for EMS.  One of Regional Council’s key actions identified in the 2011-2014 Action Plan was to create an updated tiered response agreement with the three emergency services. The new agreement was completed in fall 2011 by a working group of Deputy Chiefs from each agency, and was implemented early January 2012.

Promoting Healthy Living

  • Healthy Weights Takes Action Community of Practice

On November 22, 2011, the Halton Region Health Department launched the Healthy Weights: Halton Takes Action Community of Practice (CoP).  CoP’s are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.  Twenty-one participants, from many sectors such as education, community-based organizations, NGOs, health and municipal/provincial governments, gathered for the event.  The CoP is just one in a series of comprehensive efforts to address obesity in Halton. 

  • Halton continues to support smokers in their quit attempts (STOP program)

On December 13, 2011, 43 Halton residents participated in the STOP on the Road program.  Each participant received counselling and a five-week supply of nicotine replacement therapy. Telephone follow-up will now be offered to participants by the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. During the past quarter, Halton offered a variety of training opportunities to cessation practitioners. Two hundred practitioners attended sessions on best practices, motivational interviewing, cessation evaluation, and gender-specific approaches to cessation.

  • Safety Drives Us presents at national injury prevention conference

Safety Drives Us (SDU): Road Safety Initiatives for Newcomers in Halton” is a committee comprised of a unique partnership in Halton, Peel and Hamilton Regions between ethnic media, settlement agencies, children’s safety advocates, public health, police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.  On November 15, SDU presented at the Safe Kids Canada’s Injury Prevention conference inVancouver.  SDU initiatives include translation of child car seat pamphlets and videos into seven languages, training of settlement workers in car seat safety, car seat clinics for newcomer families and PSAs on multicultural radio programs, newspapers, and cable TV. 

Air Quality

  • A Farewell to Featherwagons

On December 22, 2011, Halton Region posted e-book translations on the Region’s website of the popular children’s picture book for children aged four to eight, A Farewell to Featherwagons. The book is now available in French, Spanish, Polish and Cantonese, reflecting the top four languages spoken most often at home in Halton, other than English. A Farewell to Featherwagons introduces children to air quality and climate change themes to inspire earth-friendly living at an early age. Since its launch in June, more than 2,500 copies have been distributed to libraries, schools and day care centres across Halton and there have been close to 2,000 visits to www.halton.ca/featherwagons.

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