Staying safe while enjoying summer

Summer is great time to get outdoors and explore our beautiful region. Whether it’s going for a dip at the beach, hiking one of Halton’s many trails, having people over for a barbeque or enjoying a picnic at a local park, it’s important to remember that making smart choices helps keep you safe. Below are some tips and information to keep in mind while you enjoy all that Halton has to offer this summer!

Beach safety

We are fortunate to have several recreational beaches located throughout the region. Beginning in June, our Health Department staff sample Halton’s beach water to determine if the water is safe for swimming and water activities. The beach water quality results are updated weekly at halton.ca/beach and you can check to see if it’s safe to go swimming before heading to the beach.

Air quality and heat safety

You can help protect yourself from the health impacts of extreme heat and poor air quality by getting environmental alerts delivered to your inbox. This is especially important for people with health concerns such as asthma, families who have children in outdoor summer camps or people who work outside. Sign up to receive alerts at halton.ca/airquality.

As we get closer to summer and higher temperatures, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks from activities and use sun protection. Also remember to visit family members, friends and neighbours at risk from extreme heat to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. To learn more, visit halton.ca/heat.

Food safety

Summer means firing up the grill and barbecuing. Make sure your food is safe by following these four tips:

  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook
  • Chill

After a day of visiting our local farms or farmers’ markets, remember to properly wash and store your fresh fruits and vegetables. To learn more, visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Mosquito safety

Halton Region staff work hard to help protect our communities from mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus (WNV). The Halton Region Health Department monitors and helps control the mosquito population to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in the region. Residents can also protect themselves by:

  • wearing insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  • avoiding being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  • covering up: wearing light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  • removing areas of standing water from your home

Practice tick safety when travelling

While the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton is low, it’s important that residents are aware of how to protect themselves. If you will be around wooded, brushy or tall grass areas, or traveling to areas identified at risk for Lyme disease, you should be especially cautious and know how to avoid tick bites. Halton residents can also submit ticks found on themselves or family members for identification and testing through the submit-a-tick program.

By working together, we can help keep our community safe and healthy, and ensure that Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Wishing you all a fun summer in Halton!

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”.

Supporting the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents

Regional Council is awarding nearly $2.9 million in funding to 40 community programs and projects dedicated to improving access to health and safety services for those at risk or in need. The funding, being awarded in grants of one, two and three years, is provided through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF) to enhance the health, safety and well-being of residents through a range of initiatives. This includes programs addressing mental health, preventing homelessness and supporting older adults, children and youth, while also improving the food security of our most vulnerable residents.

The HRCIF helps critical non-profit programs deliver or expand services, upgrade equipment and launch new initiatives to help improve and enhance the lives of Halton residents.

HRCIF_GroupOne of the key actions in the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan, 2015 –2018, is supporting the health and well-being of all Halton residents by promoting good mental health in the community. This year, the HRCIF is investing in many community mental health programs, including:

  • $390,594 over two years to the Canadian Mental Health Association to provide 24/7 mental health and addictions outreach support and maintain a constant presence at the Lighthouse Shelter and
  • $255,000 over three years to Nelson Youth Centres to deliver therapeutic supports to children and youth with emotional challenges.

The investment fund is also contributing to programs that support the needs of children and youth, including:

  • $130,350 over three years to support Camp Unity, a program led by the Halton Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Collaborative that provides summer camp opportunities to children with FASD;
  • $147,834 to expand the YMCA of Oakville’s Sport Leadership program to support at promise youth to gain leadership skills, certification and employment opportunities in the sport/recreation sector; and
  • $85,500 over three years to Acclaim Health to help support the needs of older adults by increasing support for caregivers of individuals with dementia, as well as investing in other programs that support older adults.

Making sure residents have access to safe and nutritious food is an important focus of the investment fund with $775,436 being invested in food security programs between 2017 and 2019, including:

Not only did Halton award funds to 40 programs in 2017, 15 organizations are also receiving $558,174 in funding for the second and third year of multi-year grants awarded in 2015-16.

Our commitment to keeping our communities safe and healthy is what makes Halton Region such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about the Halton Region Community Investment Fund and how Halton is working with community partners to improve access to services, visit halton.ca/investmentfund or dial 311.

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”.

ReThink Water: Enjoy. Conserve. Protect.

Halton Region provides residents with access to safe, high-quality drinking water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Halton has 12 water treatment plants across the region that provide over 500,000 residents with 62 billion litres of drinking water each year. This water is carefully monitored and tested to ensure it is safe when it reaches your home, school or business.

As our population continues to grow, Halton Region is investing in upgrades and expansions to our water systems and treatment facilities to ensure water is available whenever you need it.

Residents are encouraged to ReThink water, too – Halton offers resources and services to make it easy for you to enjoy, conserve and protect water. Below are some examples:

  • Some Halton residents rely on private wells as their primary source of drinking water. If you are one of these households, remember to test your water at least three times per year. Halton makes it easy by providing free well water sample bottles and convenient sample drop off depots across the region. For more information, visit halton.ca/wellwater.
  • Protect source water and Regional infrastructure by putting waste in its place. Please do not put household hazardous waste, personal care items or pharmaceuticals down the drain or in rivers, lakes or streams. Visit halton.ca/putwasteinitsplace to use our online tool to find out how to properly dispose of your waste.
  • Halton Region’s annual rain barrel sale is back for another year. ReThink water and purchase a rain barrel at one of our sale events. Visit halton.ca/rainbarrels for dates and locations.

Water quality and reliability will always be a top priority for Halton Region. Together, we can ensure water is safe and available for the over 200,000 households and businesses across the region and keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about how Halton is providing reliable and safe drinking water and what you can do, visit halton.ca/rethinkwater.

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”.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time

 

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Nishan Duraiappah, Deputy Chief, Halton Regional Police Service; Greg Sage, Chief, Paramedic Services, Halton Region; Gary Carr, Halton Regional Chair; Ralph Blauel, Chief, Emergency Management, Halton Region; and Gerry Lieferink, Platoon Chief, Oakville Fire, encourage residents to be prepared for emergencies.

At Halton Region, we are ready to respond to emergencies in the community—our emergency management plans and programs help ensure that our essential services remain available when you need them most. This commitment requires ongoing collaboration with local municipalities and community partners to coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of emergency situations.

While we contribute by enhancing the resilience of our services, emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. You can take these three simple steps to be prepared and help everyone in Halton stay safe.

  • First step: know the risks – identify potential hazards in your community and stay informed about emergencies through alerts from the province or your local news provider.
  • Second step: make a plan – determine what each member of your household would do during and after various emergencies, also considering neighbours, family and friends who may be particularly vulnerable.
  • Third step: get a kit – assemble, buy or refresh the items your household would need to stay safe for 72 hours, including supplies for older adults, children and pets.

May 7-13 is Emergency Preparedness Week, and I encourage you to take this opportunity to follow these three steps and prepare. In addition to protecting your home and family, your efforts allow first responders to focus their attention on those in immediate need during an emergency situation. May 1 was First Responder’s Day in Ontario, and I would like to thank Halton’s dedicated paramedics, police officers and firefighters for helping to keep us safe.

Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and our community. To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit halton.ca/beprepared. By working together, we help keep Halton a great 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 @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Working together to keep Halton safe and healthy

The Halton Region Health Department works closely with doctors in our community to help enhance the health and well-being of Halton residents. From May 1-5, 2017, we will celebrate the 14th annual Halton Physician Appreciation Week on social media and through the local papers to formally acknowledge the ongoing commitment and dedication of our local doctors in keeping our communities safe and healthy.

PhysicianAppreciationHalton’s Physician Appreciation Week was originally launched as part of the Halton Physician Recruitment Initiative, an important program that works to bring family doctors to our communities. By working with each of our Local Municipalities, hospitals, doctors, clinics and community representatives, our Physician Recruitment Initiative has helped to recruit and retain more than 270 new family doctors to Halton since 2003. The program also supports hospitals by recruiting specialists, such as psychiatrists, pediatricians, emergency room physicians and hospitalists.

Through programs such as the Physician Recruitment Initiative, our goal is to enhance the quality of life for all people of Halton, today and into the future. Halton’s doctors play a significant role in achieving this vision. We are grateful that they have chosen to practice medicine in Halton! Thanks to our physicians, Halton is a safe and healthy community and a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire!

For a list of new doctors in Halton who are accepting patients, visit halton.ca/newdoctor or dial 311. To learn more about Halton Region’s Physician Recruitment Initiative, visit haltondoctors.ca.

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”.

Earth Day 2017: Enjoy and protect the region’s natural environment

Saturday, April 22 is Earth Day – an annual global event that reminds us to celebrate and protect the natural environment today and every day.  The theme of this year’s event is “EarthPLAY: Connect to your nature!” and I encourage residents to do just that. Get outside, explore the natural beauty of our region and most importantly – have fun!

If you are looking to get active and celebrate Earth Day, you can visit any one of Halton’s three Regional Waterfront Parks along Lake Ontario, cycle through the trails at Kelso, Mountsberg or Hilton Falls, or explore Halton’s over 700 hectares of rich and diverse Regional forests.

Celebrate Earth Day in your local community

Residents can also take part in local community events to celebrate Earth Day:

Burlington
Halton Hills
  • 22-Minute Makeover – Friday, April 21
  • Community Clean-Up Day – Saturday, April 22
  • Halton Hills Earth Day Event – Saturday, April 29
  • Earth Day & Sustainability Fair – Saturday, April 29
Oakville
  • 26th Annual Earth Week Clean Up –  Saturday, April 22
Milton
  • Nassagaweya Rural Road Clean-up Day – Saturday, May 6
  • Good Neighbours Community Day – Saturday, May 6

Working together to plan for a green, sustainable future

As the region continues to grow, our Regional Official Plan – our guide for land-use planning and decision making – ensures we are protecting the environment through healthy, sustainable investments in our community.

We are also committed to making it easy for residents to be environmental stewards. Below are some suggestions on how you can support your community:

  • Residents can help to divert waste from the landfill by participating in Halton’s Green Cart and Blue Box programs, and using the Halton Waste Management Site for the safe and proper disposal of household waste.
  • Residents and businesses can help protect drinking water sources through responsible use and proper disposal of hazardous chemicals such as fuels, solvents, pesticides and fertilizers. Halton is also implementing Source Protection Plans, aimed at reducing risks associated with potential contamination and overuse of our municipal drinking water sources. If you are unsure about how to properly dispose of waste, use our online Put Waste in its Place Tool to find out how easy it can be.
  • Landowners with forest resources are encouraged to apply for the Region’s Woodlands Stewardship Program which provides financial assistance for preparing a forest management plan, purchasing and planting nursery stock and employing tree marking services.
  • Residents can consider alternative modes of transportation, such as carpooling. Smart Commute Halton’s online tool helps residents find carpool partners within their organizations or along their commuting route to save time, money and protect the environment.
  • Halton Region also continues to implement the Active Transportation Master Plan to provide safer and more accessible transportation choices, while reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and contributing to our sustainable future.

I invite you to take part in local Earth Day events, explore the great outdoors and be an environmental steward every day of the year. By working together we can protect our natural environment for future generations and continue making Halton a great place to live, work and play.

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”.

Halton is adapting to a changing climate

Halton Region and communities across the country are experiencing more severe weather and environmental impacts, in large part due to climate change. Halton Region is committed to ensuring we are all ready to adapt to new weather patterns and are all doing our part to reduce the region’s carbon footprint and mitigate the impacts of a changing climate.

Halton Region has specific corporate goals and actions to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a sustainable and liveable region for all. We ensure all corporate operations – from our facilities and fleet of vehicles to our Green Procurement Policy – aim to reduce energy consumption.

We are committed to making it easy for residents to reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to a changing climate. Here are some examples:

  • A good example of this is our commitment to implementing the Active Transportation Master Plan, the Smart Commute program and important partnerships with Metrolinx and Local Municipalities. These plans and partnerships don’t just plan for and provide alternative forms of transportation to keep our roads moving, but they also contribute to limiting air pollution in our community.
  • Halton works closely with the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change to monitor the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), so we can provide the community with local and timely air quality updates so they can take necessary steps to protect themselves and others. To sign up for air quality alerts, visit halton.ca/airquality.
  • We are also helping residents to protect their homes and neighbourhoods from flooding. In recent years, Halton and communities across the country have seen heavier amounts and more frequent rainfall, resulting in basement flooding in some areas. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of Halton’s Enhanced Basement Flooding Prevention Subsidy Program which makes it easier and more affordable for residents to take the necessary steps, such as downspout disconnection, sump pump installation and other improvements to reduce the risk of basement flooding. To learn more about this program and other ways you can prepare for severe wet weather, visit halton.ca/basementflooding.

As our climate changes, we are ready to respond. Halton Region is committed to protecting the health and safety of all residents from the effects of a changing and often unpredictable climate. We will continue to make the necessary investments – in our infrastructure, health programs and resident support programs – to ensure Halton continues to be a great 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 @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.