Chair's Corner – Halton Region, Ontario

Chair’s Corner: Q3 Accomplishments

Fiscal Responsibility

AAA credit rating reaffirmed

On July 25, Standard and Poor’s affirmed its highest credit rating, AAA for Halton. This marks the 23rd consecutive year that Halton has maintained the highest rating of AAA.  Standard and Poor’s has also attached a stable outlook to this rating indicating its confidence that Halton will continue to demonstrate strong budgetary performance.

Budget directions meeting in July
On July 10, Regional Council set 2014 budget directions, supporting a tax increase at or below 1.5%. Regional staff are working to prepare the 2014 Budget and Business Plan, which will be discussed at the budget review committee on December 9 and will go to Regional Council on December 11 for final approval.

Attracting & Retaining Jobs

Successful Summer Company program

Eleven Halton students participated in Summer Company, a provincially funded program which helps students aged 15 to 29 start and grow their own businesses. Summer Company provides participants with up to $3,000 and hands-on coaching and mentoring to start and operate their own business. Halton Region’s Small Business Centre coordinates the program in Halton for the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and delivers it with the help of volunteer business advisors from the community.

Promoting Tourism

Summer Wonderful Photo Contest

Halton Tourism held a summer wonderful photo contest celebrating summer which received approximately 50 entries.  A selection of entries was posted on Halton Tourism’s social media channels, Pinterest and Facebook, helping to promote the many beautiful attractions here in Halton Region.

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Alexander Family Farm Day

The Halton Region Museum hosted its third annual Alexander Family Farm Day on September 8 in conjunction with PwCEpicTour Halton. More than 100 people participated in the event which featured heritage activities, games, live music, raptors and exotic animals.

Emergency Preparedness

Creek Way Village evacuation exercise

On September 5, 2013, Halton Region conducted a successful mock evacuation exercise at Creek Way Village Long-Term Care Home in partnership with the Burlington Fire Department. The exercise was part of an ongoing effort to ensure that the Region is a disaster-resilient community, ready to deal with any potential, imminent or actual emergency. 

Fire Prevention Day in Oakville

To help usher the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office’s 2013 Fire Prevention Week October 6-12, 2013, Halton’s Emergency Management representatives had a booth at Oakville’s kick-off event September 21 and Burlington’s event September 22.  The two events provided an opportunity to engage residents in emergency preparedness discussions and distribute copies of Halton’s Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Transportation

It won’t kill you to stop

Following the installation of five additional red light cameras across Halton, the Region now has a total of seven cameras reminding drivers to stop at red lights. Working with our police partners and residents, we can all ensure Halton remains the safest region in Canada to live. Learn more about the program

Encouraging smart commuting

As part of Smart Commute week, Smart Commute Halton conducted outreach events at nine Halton businesses to promote alternatives to single occupant vehicle use, such as carpooling and using public transit. Through the Smart Commute program, vehicle travel in the Region has been reduced by an estimated 840,000 kilometres, which not only reduces harmful emissions in our air but also helps reduce congestion on our roads.

Improving road operations

Intersection improvements, including a new northbound right-turn lane were completed at Upper Middle Road (Regional Road 38) and Dorval Drive (Regional Road 17) in the Town of Oakville.

Infrastructure

Improving Milton’s water services

The new Louis St. Laurent Avenue watermain was brought into service, improving the water supply to approximately 4,000 homes in the Town of Milton.

Strengthening water supply to Acton

Upgrades to the Davidson Wells Pump House were completed to enhance the capacity of the Acton water supply system.

 Replacing aging infrastructure

New wastewater mains were installed on Watson Avenue and Galt Avenue in the Town of Oakville, and on Bower Street, Alice Street and John Street in the Town of Halton Hills as part of the Region’s infrastructure improvement work.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Halton Children’s Water Festival

The eighth annual Halton Children’s Water Festival took place September 24 to 27 at Kelso Conservation Area in Milton. Co-hosted by Halton Region and Conservation Halton, more than 4,000 Halton students from grades two to five participated in the four day festival which brings the classroom outdoors to educate children about one of the world’s most precious resources, water.

High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate Program pilot for multi-residential buildings

Halton Region’s High-Efficiency Toilet Rebate Program was expanded to include a pilot program for multi-residential buildings in Halton. Similar to the single-family dwelling rebate program, the pilot provides a $75 rebate to Halton residents that replace an old, inefficient toilet with a WaterSense® certified high-efficiency model. WaterSense® certified toilets include most toilets that flush with 4.8 litres or less, including many dual-flush models. Switching to a Halton-approved water-efficient toilet helps to reduce water use and ensure reliable water supplies today and for future generations.

Waste Management

Blue Box Pick-up events

More than 6,100 of Halton’s new, larger, 22-gallon Blue Boxes were picked up by residents who attended the Region’s four Blue Box Pick-up events in August.

Waste Collection Program enhancements

Halton’s new three-bag garbage limit commenced on September 9, requiring residents to use a $2 garbage tag for any bags/cans of garbage over the three bag limit, up to a total of six bags/cans maximum. We have also expanding Halton’s Blue Box to include more acceptable materials These new diversion initiatives will save taxpayers $15 millon. 

Special Waste Drop-off Days

Special Waste Drop-off Days were held in Burlington and Oakville.  Over 1,500 residents attended these two events designed to provide Halton residents with a convenient opportunity to safely recycle and dispose of items like electronics and household hazardous waste, which should not be placed in the garbage.

Fall Compost Giveaway day

The popular Fall Compost Giveaway was held on Saturday, September 14 at the Halton Waste Management Site. Over 1,025 residents attended the event and picked up processed compost to use in their garden and landscaping projects.  Halton residents also generously donated 1200 kilograms of non-perishable food items and contributed $2,275 dollars for local Halton food banks.

Canadian Open in Oakville

The Canadian Open golf tournament was held from July 22 to 28 at Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville.  Halton Region provided recycling and organics services throughout the golf course during tournament, assisting Golf Canada to design a comprehensive waste management program aimed at reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and providing the tools to help patrons, players and food vendors put waste in the right place.

Agriculture

Halton Region hosted a successful Farm Tour

On September 19, the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Chair Carr, Regional and Local Councillors, members of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee and media participated in Halton Region’s 33rd Annual Farm Tour, a forum to learn about Halton’s agricultural industry. The tour provided a chance to meet with farmers, chefs and business owners in Halton’s agricultural and food services sectors and included stops at Red Canoe Bistro, Springridge Farm, Mohawk Inn and Chophouse, Marshall’s Real Farmers Market and Store, and DG’s Greenhouses. The tour ended with a keynote address by celebrity chef, Jamie Kennedy and a locally sourced dinner.

Children and Youth Development

Data portal for system navigation update (Citizen Priority)

The Our Kids Network (OKN) publicly released their Data Portal. The Data Portal is a large, interactive, online inventory of information (community and neighbourhood-level information, demographics, OKN research data on health, safety, education, Developmental Assets®, Census data and more). Multiple agencies and organizations are already using the OKN Data Portal to visualize data and then map and use it to plan, develop, discuss and locate programs and community supports.

Seniors

New music therapy program

Life Enrichment partnered with Family Council to provide a trial music therapy program for eight weeks through a local Music Therapist. The program was geared towards lower functioning residents with any level of cognitive impairment. The evaluations completed by Life Enrichment staff support the benefits of the program and the need to continue this type of therapy in future. 

New Personal Support Workers for the Assisted Living Program
Services for Seniors conducted an RFP earlier this year which resulted in a new service contract with Saint Elizabeth to provide Personal Support Workers for the Assisted Living Program. The new contract will enable the program to serve a greater number of clients within the existing budget.

Protecting Public Health

Building on paramedic skill sets

Halton Region Paramedic Services commenced its latest Advanced Care Paramedic class on September 9, 2013. This 28-week Canadian Medical Association-approved course is run in partnership with Toronto EMS and is meant to build on the Primary Care Paramedic skill set. 

Promoting Healthy Living

Profile raised of the Aldershot Village: Connecting People and Places on Plains initiative

Since the last quarter, the Aldershot Village initiative, run in partnership between the Plains Road Village Vision Committee, Halton Region’s Health Department, Aldershot BIA, and the City of Burlington, has increased its profile with a two-part series in the Burlington Post in August; two successful community events; and 100 completed pledge forms showing growing community support.   

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.”