Working together to protect the natural environment

NaturalHeritage1Earth Day is this Sunday April 22 and a time to reflect on the natural environment. When I think about Halton’s future and the environment, I think about our community and the strong partnerships in place that can make a difference.

Much of Halton Region’s work to protect the natural environment is guided through our Regional Official Plan.  This document sets the policies and provides direction on land use planning decisions and ensures that 50 per cent of all natural land including forests, green spaces and ecosystems are safeguarded. Our current Official Plan – Sustainable Halton – is a key policy document that ensures we are balancing the demand to grow with the need to preserve the environmental characteristics that make Halton a great place to live.

NaturalHeritage2Halton Region and our local partners work to protect our Natural Heritage System, which consists of 18,500 hectares of forests, wetlands, rivers and stream corridors in Halton, as well as large sections of the Lake Ontario shoreline and the Niagara Escarpment. Halton is also one of the most biologically diverse areas of Canada, with nearly a quarter of the country’s wild plant species located in the region.

In addition to our policies and plans, Halton Region offers programs and services for residents that contribute to protecting the natural environment.  Here are a few examples programs you can participate in:

  • Starting this month residents, businesses and facilities can recycle plastic bags and plastic overwrap. I encourage all residents, businesses and facilities to participate in our waste reduction programs. Visit halton.ca/bluebox or download the OneHalton app to learn more and find tips to use the Blue Box and Green Cart programs properly.
  • If you are a landowner with forest resources you can apply for the Woodland’s Stewardship Program, which provides financial assistance to those developing a forest management plan.
  • Residents and businesses are encouraged to properly dispose of hazardous materials and bring hazardous waste to the Halton Waste Management Site, free of charge.
  • Businesses can contribute to clean drinking water by implementing Source Water Protection Plans that protect natural drinking water sources from potential contamination caused by land use and human activities.

Community partnerships in action

NaturalHeritage3This month our local Scouts will be planting 300 mix-species trees at the Halton Waste Management Site. Over the past 17 years, Halton Region, Conservation Halton and local Scouts have planted over 6,000 trees at the site. I look forward to meeting with this year’s Scouts and talking about how we can work together to make a difference to sustain our community for future generations.

By working together to protect the natural environment, we are keeping Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. For more information about Halton’s Natural Heritage System, visit halton.ca/environment.

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”