Thanking doctors for keeping Halton healthy

Halton’s Physician Appreciation Week (April 28-May2) is the perfect time to thank our doctors for all they do to keep us healthy.

Now in its 11th year, Physician Appreciation Week in Halton was originally established in 2003 as part of the Halton Physician Recruitment program, supporting our commitment towards achieving the best possible health and wellbeing for all.

During Halton Physician Appreciation Week, we say a collective thank you to all of Halton’s dedicated physicians who work tirelessly year round, making a difference in every life they touch. Thanks to our physicians, Halton is a safe and healthy community, and a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Attracting new doctors to establish medical practices in Halton is a priority in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. A collaborative effort with all four Halton Local Municipalities, local hospitals, clinics and community representatives, the program has helped bring more than 200 new family doctors to Halton since 2003.

Not only does our Physician Recruitment program market Halton to current and prospective physicians to help ensure all our residents have access to a family doctor, it also supports the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre in Burlington. The Family Health Centre is part of the 2009 Halton McMaster partnership which saw Halton Region and the City of Burlington provide 10-year funding to McMaster University to help establish a variety of programs in the Region.

And this partnership is garnering concrete results with more physicians staying in Halton. Last year, the first group of Halton McMaster Family Health Centre family medicine residents completed their training and from those five residents, three are now establishing practices in Halton.

For a list of doctors who are accepting patients across Halton, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/newphysicians. To learn more about the physician recruitment program, visit www.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.”

Halton Region Citizens’ Report 2013

Halton Regional Council is committed to ensuring that you are informed about our priorities and the management of your tax dollars. Our Citizens’ Report 2013 provides a progress report on both.Citizen Report 2

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past year. According to our most recent survey, Halton residents rate the overall quality of life in Halton very high at 99%, which is above the national average. Satisfaction with Halton Regional services is also very high, with 97% of Halton residents satisfied with the job that the Region is doing.

The very high satisfaction rating further supports the achievements of the Action Plan priority areas. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s report:

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Maintained a strong, sustainable financial position, including an AAA credit rating while minimizing impacts on you the taxpayer. In fact, on average, we have had a 0% tax increase over the past eight years.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Increased investment in regional roads of $289 million and approved a Development Financing Plan that ensures growth pays for itself. Planning for and investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing community now and in the future, with minimal impact to taxpayers.

Economic Development

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • 894 new affordable/assisted housing units built since 2007. Launched the Halton Housing Help service providing online, telephone and in-person support for people searching for affordable housing. In partnership with our federal and provincial partners, we updated the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton’s 10 year roadmap for delivering affordable and assisted housing.

Municipalities receive only 11 per cent of every tax dollar. With this small amount, we provide cost effective and high quality programs and services that touch your life daily. Through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, we work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that they are our funding partners in delivering the programs and services that Halton residents have identified as a priority. You can find more information at www.halton.ca/advocacy.

In 2014, we continue to work to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To review the 2013 Citizens’ Report as well as a list of our 2014 key actions, visit www.halton.ca/actionplan.

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.”

 

 

Saving money and the environment through corporate sustainability

Halton Region is committed to working together with residents, businesses and our Local Municipalities to make sure we can meet the needs of Halton today and in the future. Residents have indicated that protecting the natural environment is a top priority, and Regional Council is focused on making positive changes to help minimize our impact on climate change.

In the 2011-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, residents included Corporate Sustainability as a priority area for Halton. In response, Halton staff developed a Corporate Sustainability Action Plan which is used to provide guidance and support for some of our programs and services to ensure we consider sustainability in all we do.

The Action Plan includes focusing on:

  •          Corporate Facilities and Land Management by implementing green building practices in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of Halton Regional facilities;
  •          Transportation and Fleet Management by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants associated with transportation;
  •          Corporate Energy Management by reducing corporate energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while participating in energy conservation programs;
  •          Water Conservation and Waste Management by reducing water consumption and increasing waste diversion at corporate facilities and from Regional projects;
  •          Green Procurement by including sustainable practices and products for bid calls and future contracts of goods and services; and
  •          A culture of sustainability by promoting sustainability awareness among staff and reducing paper use, including paperless Council meetings.

But we can’t do it alone and that’s why Halton’s commitment to sustainability extends past our corporate operations. Whether we’re planning how our communities will grow while protecting our natural heritage systems, creating water efficiency programs or introducing sustainable waste management practices, our local actions make a difference and help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For example, Halton’s landfill was originally planned to close in 2012. Thanks to the diversion efforts of our residents, the landfill life has been extended to 2044. With a replacement cost running up to $1 billion, this commitment to increasing diversion not only benefits our natural environment, it’s also good for Halton’s taxpayer.

Halton also makes it easier for you to make sustainable choices while on the road. Carpooling is something that not only saves you time and money, it also helps to remove pollutants from our air. With every carpool having the potential to take at least one car off the road, it’s a smart alternative and that’s why Halton has partnered with Metrolinx through the Smart Commute Halton program. Working together, we’re making it easy for you and your company to have sustainable transportation options.

We’re committed to making it easy for you to make sustainable choice in your home, on the road and in your community. Working together we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment. If you would like to learn more about Halton Region’s sustainability initiatives, please visit www.halton.ca/sustainability.

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.”

Great Planning = A Great Place to Live

Halton residents have one of the highest standards of living in Canada and a large part of why Halton is such a great place to live is because of the significant effort Regional Council dedicates to planning for a safe, healthy community.

As you can tell by the construction across the Region, transportation and infrastructure are key priorities for Halton residents and Regional Council, as identified in The Citizens’ Priorities- Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. Over the next 10 years, Halton Region expects to spend more than $2 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will help reduce your commute time, expand your water supply, and ensure the health of all residents and our natural environment through our infrastructure improvement program.

Halton’s Transportation Master Plan, a 20-year, $2.4 billion capital investment plan will support growth in the Region to 2031 and ensure that transportation improvements are in place to meet demand. By the end of 2016, the Regional road network across Halton will have grown to 1,087 kilometres of lanes. In addition, 217 kilometres of shared or dedicated on-road bike lanes and off-road multi-use pathways will have been provided as part of the Region’s Active Transportation Master Plan.

Construction is a critical component of supporting the water service, wastewater collection and transportation needs of our growing community. Over the next three years (to 2016), whether you’re impacted by the $430 million Regional investment in road improvements in the Town of Milton and Town of Halton Hills or the $300 million investment in road improvements to the Dundas Street corridor in Oakville and Burlington, we appreciate your patience as we continue to implement the plans that support our great communities.

Through sound fiscal management, Halton Region has delivered quality programs and services for residents while maintaining an average zero per cent tax increase for the past seven years. I’m proud to say that this is one of the best records in all of Canada.

For details on construction projects on what’s happening now and what’s planned for the Region’s busiest construction areas, visit www.halton.ca/construction to sign up for our e-newsletter.

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.”

Construction Update newsletter now available via email and www.halton.ca/construction

Halton Region has now launched a new e-newsletter version of Construction Update. The semi-annual publication features updates on Regional road improvements and other infrastructure construction for water and wastewater services.

The newsletter gives details of what’s happening now and what’s planned for the Region’s busiest construction areas. Subscribers can choose the Dundas Street (north Oakville and Burlington) edition or the Milton/Halton Hills edition, or both. Visit www.halton.ca/construction to read Construction Update online or sign up to have future issues emailed directly to your inbox.

Why an e-newsletter? Earlier this year, the Region conducted an online survey to ask residents how they would like to be informed about Regional construction work and infrastructure planning. Sixty per cent of residents surveyed said they would like to receive an electronic newsletter.

Knowing what is important to residents helps us deliver our programs and services in the best way possible. Our new Construction Update e-newsletter is just one more way we are improving our web-based information resources for Halton residents.

The Region will continue to post information on our website, place notices in local newspapers, and use door-to-door delivery and direct mail when appropriate to keep everyone informed about infrastructure construction and planning.

Transportation and infrastructure are key priorities for Halton residents as identified in The Citizens’ Priorities- Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. In fact, since 2006 we have significantly invested in transportation related costs.  In 2006 Halton Region’s transportation capital infrastructure budget was $50 million and it has increased to $289 million in 2013.graph

Over the next 10 years, Halton Region expects to spend more than $2 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will help reduce your commute time, improve your water supply, and ensure the health of all residents and our natural environment through our infrastructure improvement program.

Through sound fiscal management, Halton Region has delivered quality programs and services for residents while maintaining an average zero per cent tax increase for the past seven years. I’m proud to say that this is one of the best records in all of Canada.

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.”

Celebrating Canada’s First Premium Outlet Centre – Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills

On August 1, I joined Mayor Rick Bonnette and crowds of shoppers in helping celebrate the opening of Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills, a new retail complex that will bring visitors from all over the Province.outlet mall 2

Toronto Premium Outlets is a 50/50 joint venture company between Simon Property Group, Inc. and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust. This is the first Premium outlet in Canada, and new home to 85 stores including: Banana Republic, Bench, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Hudson’s Bay Outlet, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware and many more.

According to the launch organizers, the Halton Hills Grand Opening was the most successful Premium Outlet opening in North America in terms of revenue dollars and number of shoppers.

Halton is home to over 12,000 active businesses and I am proud that Toronto Premium Outlets have chosen to call Halton home.  About 800 construction jobs were created to build the mall which will employ 500 people on an ongoing basis.

cropped outlet mallThis new endeavour will also boost Halton’s tourism market, offering Shop and Stay packages sure to attract visitors to Halton who otherwise may have driven across the border.

Halton Regional Council is committed to promoting a strong and healthy economy where businesses can thrive and prosper. One of the priority areas identified in the Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan is Attracting and Retaining Jobs. To help achieve this goal, Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategy was formed and serves as an essential component to improving employment opportunities across the Region and creating economic prosperity.

Region is proud to have Toronto Premium Outlets as part of our community. Together we make Halton a great place to live, shop, 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.”

Investing in our community

One of the great things I get to experience daily as Regional Chair is the opportunity to meet people in Halton who are making important contributions to the lives of others in the community.  We have a vibrant non-profit sector with thousands of volunteers who provide community programs and services to people of all ages in Halton.  Each year Halton Region invests over $700,000 through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund to support community based programs and projects that provide community health and social services.

The investment fund makes it possible for these programs/projects to expand their service, enhance their equipment or even try something new (pilot projects).  I have been able to visit some of the programs we have funded and I am always impressed by the dedication of the volunteers and staff working in the various programs.  On July 10, Regional Council approved the 2013 allocations for the investment fund.  We have provided one-year grants to 16 programs/projects and have approved second year funding (as part of the 2012 multi-year funding) for another eight programs.  The total amount awarded for one-year and multi-year funding in 2013 is $761,594.

Funding this year is supporting innovative initiatives including a mentoring program to support children of newcomers; a financial counselling program to help people with low income who are being treated for cancer; and renovations to five affordable housing units to make them accessible.  For a full listing of the programs/projects being funded this year visit www.halton.ca/investmentfund.

Halton Region’s Community Investment Fund is an action item in the Citizen’s Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan.  To see two of the programs we fund in action, please watch my video blog about the investment fund.  For more information about the Halton Region Community Investment Fund dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/investmentfund.

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 or on Facebook.