Halton Region Quarterly Accomplishments (Q1, 2012)

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

  • On January 24, 2012, Regional Chair Gary Carr was joined by The Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and other guests to celebrate the official opening of the Employment Halton office in Oakville.
  • On Wednesday, January 25, Halton Region officially launched a new partnership between the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) and the Region’s Small Business Centre. The partnership addresses a key strategic direction in Halton’s 2012-2021 Economic Development Strategy, namely to “empower young entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Halton.”
  • On January 26, 2012, the City of Burlington, Halton Region, McMaster University and Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital announced the selection of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital as the preferred site for the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre.
  • Halton Region’s Physician Recruitment program has helped bring 160 new family doctors to Halton since 2003, over 26 in the past year.  In February 2012, the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) awarded the Region an EDCO Marketing Award under the Physician Recruitment category for its 2010 to 2011 marketing and promotion strategy. This strategy was also honoured as one of four finalists for the EDCO Lieutenant Governor General’s Award for Marketing Excellence for 2011.  The Region also received an Ovation Award of Merit from the International Association of Business Communications for the Docs on Ice event.
  • On February 15, 2012, First Gulf Development announced that it would welcome PriceWaterhouse Coopers to its new LEED Gold Class A Office building in Oakville.
  • On February 29, 2012, Halton Regional Council approved the “Regional Municipality of Halton – Investment Readiness and Competitiveness Study,” prepared by Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. The consulting study, which helped inform the Region’s recently approved Economic Development Strategy, provides Council with an overview of the attributes of the key existing and designated employment areas in Halton and a detailed cost competitiveness and financial analysis for the construction of new non-residential, non-retail development in the region.
Promoting Tourism
  • To celebrate Black History Month and Heritage Week, the Halton Region Museum and the Halton Museum Foundation presented “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman,” at the Milton Centre for the Arts on February 14 and 15, 2012. Over 1,000 local students from schools throughout Halton were captivated by this one-woman show that tells the passionate story of Harriet Tubman’s faith, courage and determination.
  • In March, the Halton Region Museum officially unveiled a new website featuring the Niagara Escarpment in Halton called Jeff’s Home. The interactive, informative and easy-to-use experiential exhibition on the Escarpment in Halton is named after the Jefferson Salamander, an Escarpment inhabitant. Jeff’s Home provides an accessible way for people of all ages to take a virtual hike, learn facts and find great resources for teaching about the Escarpment in Halton.
  • Halton Region Museum held a successful Volunteer Open House on Sunday, March 4.  Attendees had the chance to meet Museum staff, learn about opportunities, tour the exhibits and artifacts collection and participate in some hands on activities.

Emergency Preparedness

  • Halton Region and the L ocal Municipalities work together year round with our emergency preparedness partners to plan for and ensure a coordinated response to emergencies.  During the February 26, 2012 VIA Rail Canada train derailment, plans took effect within minutes of the accident. Over 100 emergency personnel responded to the incident. Halton Region and the City of Burlington’s Emergency Response plans worked just like they were supposed to – it was truly a coordinated response.
  • On February 29, 2012, Halton Regional Council approved the Personal Emergency Preparedness Awareness Action Plan. The plan aims to raise awareness on the need for personal emergency preparedness and provide information to Halton residents on planning for emergencies.
  • Last summer, Halton Region began to use Twitter to provide another communications vehicle to alert and update residents of actions to take in emergency situations. @BPreparedHalton posts tips as well as emergency information related to Emergency Alerts and Emergency Declarations.  The Twitter account now has more than 100 followers.

Public Engagement

  • A Public Engagement Toolkit for staff was produced to further assist staff in planning, designing, implementing and evaluating public engagement processes and IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation) certification training was provided to an additional 27 Regional staff.

Advocacy

  • An Advocacy Action Framework was completed in response to Regional Council’s adoption of “Advocacy” as priority in The Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011 – 2014 Action Plan. The Framework sets out approaches, tactics and activities to address legislative and financial policies of the federal and provincial governments. It was developed to assist Regional Council’s advocacy efforts in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for Halton’s programs and services.

Transportation

  • Halton completed the 6-lane widening on Dundas Streetfrom Proudfoot Trail to Neyagawa Boulevard including the new 16 Mile Creek Bridges. The new south and north bridges are now open to traffic, while work is continuing on new bicycle paths and sidewalks on the bridges.

Infrastructure

  • Halton was honoured to receive the 2011 Ontario Public Works Association’s Management Innovation Award for the Sustainable Halton Water and Wastewater Master Plan. This plan ensures that Halton continues 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.
  • Halton Region is undertaking a $162M project that will upgrade and expand the Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant to improve the water quality in Hamilton Harbour, and to meet wastewater treatment capacity needs for servicing the urban population in the City of Burlington. This year will see lots of construction work at the plant as excavations continue and concrete foundations are installed.

Waste Management

  • Halton announced the winners of this year’s annual Waste Management Calendar Cover Art Contest.  The contest was designed to help raise awareness about the importance of the environment in children from kindergarten to grade eight while providing an opportunity for them to be creative. This year’s talented young artists whose submissions were featured on the cover of the 2012 Waste Management Guide and Collection Calendar include:
      • Abril Rebollo from Burlington, St. Christopher Catholic Elementary School
      • Michelle Kozdras and Gabrielle Dimech from Halton Hills, St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Elementary School
      • Christine Kilfoil from Milton,WI Dick Middle School
      • Kate Jung from Oakville, Joshua Creek Public School

Agriculture

  • On February 29, 2012, Halton Regional Council endorsed the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan 2021. The plan identifies 37 actions to address issues related to economic development, education, marketing and land use planning in the Regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York, and the City of Toronto.
  • On Thursday, March 29, 2012, the Region hosted its first Agricultural Forum at Country Heritage Park in Milton.  The Forum brought together more than 40 members of the farming community, Regional Councillors and industry experts to network with peers and share best practices.

Assisting Halton’s Low Income Residents

  • On March 28, 2012, Regional Council approved the revised framework for the Halton Region Community Investment Fund which provides funding to non-profit programs that address community health and social service needs in Halton.  The revised framework will provide $702,691 in annual funding in multi-year and one-time grants to community agencies that qualify.  The revised fund was based on a consultation process in January, 2012, which engaged more than 150 non-profit stakeholders through community workshops and one-to-one interviews across Halton.  Information about the investment fund as well as the final report of the consultation can be accessed at www.halton.ca/investmentfund.

Children and Youth Development

  • During February and March 2012, a panel of community experts led three school community presentations in Burlington and Oakvilleon mental health. The panel included a Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) a Youth Net coordinator, a mental health liaison nurse, a public health nurse, a school social worker, a Halton police officer, and a TAMI speaker who has lived with mental illness. The three presentations attracted a total of 112 parents and community members who learned about the key changes during adolescence, mental health, the signs and symptoms of mental illness, preventative measures (such as building developmental assets in youth), and where to go to get help.

Protecting Public Health

  • On February 16, the Halton Region Health Department hosted the first Chinese-language food handler training session. Fifteen food handlers attended the in-class training delivered by two bilingual public health inspectors.
  • Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) is a preventive dental program that covers children and youth (ages 0-17) from low-income families to have regular visits to an oral health professional (i.e., a dentist or a dental hygienist). The goal of the program is to help children establish and maintain good oral health. In February, an oral health screening event was successfully piloted at Aldershot High School in Burlington, where over 150 students received information about HSO and were invited to have their mouths assessed by a public health registered dental hygienist.

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.”  You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.