Bright future: Halton receives another Aaa credit rating and top ranking for municipalities!

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I’m excited to share with you that we have made another exceptional achievement as a responsible government. Moody’s Investors Service has reaffirmed Halton’s Aaa credit rating for the 26th consecutive year, ranking Halton at the high end of Canadian municipalities. In its rating analysis, Moody’s credits this remarkable record to our “prudent fiscal management practices and commitment to long-term planning”, which have resulted in strong operating budgetary results and a moderate debt burden.

The report states:

“Halton displays strong governance and management characteristics. The Region has forward looking operating and capital plans to address pressures and spending requirements early on. In addition, management adheres to conservative debt and investment management policies which limit the Regional Municipality’s exposure to market related risks and helps ensure relatively smooth debt servicing costs. These fiscal management measures are also supported by comprehensive, transparent and timely financial reporting.”

Moody’s high praise illustrates Halton’s ongoing commitment to being a transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government. Maintaining our Aaa credit rating is a vital part of this promise to residents, because it gives the Region, as well as its Local Municipalities, access to the best possible financing rates for infrastructure projects and other large initiatives. These savings minimize the long-term cost to taxpayers while maximizing the community impact of every dollar spent.

The plans and policies praised in Moody’s report represent one of Council’s most important priorities: ensuring value for taxpayers. Their confidence in us confirms that Regional Council and staff continue to move in the right direction by putting residents first. The Aaa rating, as well as the strategies that helped us achieve it, are critical to maintaining Halton’s strong long-term financial position, which will allow us to deliver high-quality programs, services and infrastructure for years to come.

By maintaining our strong financial foundation and perfect credit rating, we can continue to invest in a bright future, keeping Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To learn more, visit halton.ca/budget.

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 a great place to live

Halton is a great place to live and Regional Council is committed to making fiscally, responsible decisions that ensure we provide high quality services that contribute to your quality of life, making it an ideal place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Last December, Regional Council approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan and for the fourth time in eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014), we were able to reduce property taxes on Regional programs and services while maintaining and enhancing service levels. Over the past eight years, we have either reduced or frozen taxes. This is one of the best records in all of Canada. Once again this year, we have achieved a AAA credit rating.  This is the highest credit rating that can be achieved and it is acknowledgment of Halton’s strong financial position. Our AAA credit rating and reduced taxes demonstrates that we have been managing your tax dollars efficiently and effectively. 

Regional Council is committed to policies that ensure Halton is resident focused, well planned and safe and healthy. Value to you as a taxpayer is a critical component of decision making at Council.  We are fiscally responsible with the Regional budget and have been planning our infrastructure needs (roads, waste management, water/wastewater treatment) so that strategic investments now ensure we meet infrastructure needs in the future with minimal impact to you as a taxpayer. We are also focused on services that contribute to a safe and healthy community so that you can continue to enjoy a high quality of life in Halton.

As a regional government, we continue to build on our record of customer service excellence. In January, our Access Halton group was recognized by the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton received a Highest Customer Service (government) award and survey results indicated 92 per cent of callers were satisfied overall with their call centre experience. These results are a great achievement given that in 2013, Access Halton managed 304,354 calls and 9,282 emails.

Great things are happening in Halton. To learn more, I invite you to take a look at my video blog, The State of the Region, at www.youtube.com/haltonchair.

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.”

Managing Your Tax Dollars Effectively and Efficiently

Halton Region has frozen or reduced property taxes on Regional programs and services for eight straight years.  This is one of the best records in all of Canada.  In 2013, for the 23rd year in a row, Halton Region achieved a AAA credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.  By maintaining our AAA credit rating and reducing our taxes we ensure Halton is competitive which attracts jobs and investment to our community. Our AAA rating and tax reduction attracts companies like Target, Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets and Gypsum Technologies Inc. making Halton a hotspot for business. 

Halton Region has one of the best records in Canada for keeping taxes low while maintaining and enhancing service levels. Our AAA credit rating and reduced taxes demonstrates that we have been managing your tax dollars efficiently and effectively.  Join me on a walk through downtown Burlington as I reflect on Regional Council’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

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’s 4th annual Real Estate Forum reinforces that Halton is an economic hotspot

Last year, 2012, was a record setting year for industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) development in Halton, with ICI development surpassing over $1.2 billion in building permit value. 

On Tuesday, October 29, I joined industrial and commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area, along with my colleagues from Regional Council and Halton’s Local Municipalities at the Halton Real Estate Forum, held in Burlington.

The event was a terrific opportunity for businesses to network.  Attendees also had the chance to learn about economic and real estate performance, trends, development cost competitiveness in Halton and the surrounding area, and hear from business panelists their reasons for choosing Halton.

Halton has been named the safest regional municipality in Canada for the past five years. We have an AAA credit rating, location and quality of life that is second to none, and incredible talent living within our borders. Judging by our growing ICI development numbers and recent investments by companies such as Target, Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets and Gypsum Technologies Inc., it is clear that Halton continues to be an economic hotspot.

A key message voiced by the speakers at the Forum was that with our ecosystem of leading companies and exceptional quality of life, Halton is indeed a location of choice – one of the best communities in which to live and work.

Halton’s Director, Economic Development, John Davidson provided an overview of trends in the commercial and industrial real estate market in Halton.  His presentation included a short video testimonial from Sanjay Singhal, Co-founder & CEO of Audiobooks.com.

All of the speakers alluded to Halton’s attractive business environment, access to skilled workers, customers and suppliers, the entrepreneurial eco-system, excellent infrastructure, location, facilities for innovation and startups, such as HalTech, and proximity to post secondary institutions.

You can review the presentations, including mine and the address by keynote speaker Josh Kaufman, Vice President, Retail and Commercial Development, Dundee Realty Corporation, at www.halton.ca/ref2013.

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. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton’s Quarterly Accomplishments (Q1, 2013)

Fiscal Responsibility

AAA credit rating – Halton’s AAA Credit Rating was reaffirmed by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. The AAA Credit Rating is an achievement that is widely recognized in the investment industry and an acknowledgement of Halton’s strong financial position.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

Celebrating women in business – On March 6, in celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), Halton Region’s Small Business Centre, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, hosted a business event for Women Entrepreneurs to “learn, connect and grow!”

Lowe’s Distribution Centre – On March 11, Halton Region joined the Town of Milton at a board cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Lowe’s Canada Distribution Centre at 3333 James Snow Parkway (West of Hwy. 25) in Milton.

Economic Development Strategy report – Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategy is on track, with all 50 actions scheduled for 2012 complete, according to a report presented to Regional Council on March 27. This is the first report marking the progress of the Region’s 10-year Economic Development Strategic Implementation Plan, which was approved by Council in 2011.

Promoting Tourism

Cycling event announced – Three-time Olympic cycling medalist Curt Harnett was at the HaltonRegionMuseum on January 22 to help announce the PwC Epic Tour Halton, a GranFondo-style mass participation cycling event featuring some of the most spectacular cycling terrain in the Greater Toronto Area. The first annual event is scheduled for September 8, 2013, coinciding with the Museum’s 3rd annual Alexander Family Farm Day.

Museum performances – On Monday, February 11 the Halton Museum Foundation presented two performances of “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The performances celebrate the life and work of the famous Underground Railroad conductor.

Public Engagement

2012 Report to the Citizens – Halton Region issued the second annual Report to the Citizens about progress on the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Key accomplishments highlighted in the 2012 Report to the Citizens illustrate how Halton Region continues to deliver value to taxpayers.

Partnerships

Non-profit networking – Over 90 people from various sectors participated in the first session of the Let’s Talk…Let’s Connect networking series with the non-profit sector on February 13. The session focused on creating opportunities for conversation, networking and learning to strengthen relationships and build capacity within the non-profit sector.

Be an Employer of Choice

Recruitment video – Human Resources launched a recruitment video to help job seekers see the advantages of working for Halton Region.  The video is posted on Halton’s website and on YouTube.

Transportation

EA completed – To help make sure road infrastructure is ready in 2015 for the opening of the new Oakville hospital, Halton completed the Class Environmental Assessment Study for widening Dundas Street to six lanes that will include curb High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. The expanded Regional Road will include enhancements that will create an attractive space for pedestrians and cyclists in order to encourage and facilitate active transportation.

Infrastructure

Watermain Replacement – Sections of the watermain on Martha Street and Lakeshore Road in downtown Burlington were replaced as part of the Region’s infrastructure maintenance and improvement program. Final restoration of the work area will take place this spring.

New Watermain installed along Louis St. Laurent – Construction of a new transmission watermain along Louis St. Laurent Avenue, between Fourth Line and Regional Road 25 in the Town of Milton, was completed and commissioned. The new watermain will deliver water to new and established neighbourhoods in the area.

Zone 5 Pump Station at Fourth Line in Milton – In January, construction was completed on a new water booster station on Fourth Line south of Louis St. Laurent Avenue. The new pumping station will help deliver clean, safe drinking water to residents of Milton.

New infrastructure to support commercial development – New water and wastewater mains were installed along Steeles Avenue, between Trafalgar Road and Eighth Line North. The new Halton Hills Wastewater Pumping Station #3, located east of Eighth Line North, is also now in service.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Public Works recognized by the Consulting Engineers of Ontario – The recently completed Inlet Works project at the Acton Wastewater Treatment Plant was the recipient of an “Award of Excellence” from the Consulting Engineers of Ontario. This award was presented on April 20 at the Ontario Science Centre.

Lake Erie Proposed Source Protection Plan – To help protect the sources of Halton’s municipal drinking water systems, Halton Region’s Water Services, together with the Local Municipalities, reviewed and provided comments on the Lake Erie Proposed Source Protection Plan. The Plan is a component of The Clean Water Act, passed by the Province of Ontario.

Annual reports for municipal drinking-water systems – Halton Region Water Services completed annual reports for each of Halton’s five municipal drinking-water systems. The reports, legislated by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, demonstrate the Region’s continuous commitment to providing safe drinking water.

Waste Management

Online waste collection toolIn February, Halton Region launched the new online Waste Collection Calendar Tool at www.halton.ca/wastecalendar. The new tool allows residents to easily and quickly search for the dates and materials of their next waste collection by inputting their address. Users can also sign up to receive email, phone or Twitter waste collection reminders, or add a waste collection schedule to their personal iCal, Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook calendar.

Service request tool for garbage tags – Halton Region launched an online service request tool to help resident order garbage tags from Halton’s website. A total of 3,102 online orders placed through www.halton.ca/GarbageTags were successfully fulfilled in March 2013.

Blue box pick-up events – In March, Waste Management Services held eight Blue Box Pick-up events for residents.  At the events, new larger (22 gallon) Blue Boxes were available to residents to help them manage new recycling materials (www.halton.ca/NewInBlue) accepted in Halton’s Blue Box program as of April 1. Blue Boxes were also available at Halton Regional Centre, Robert C. Austin Operations Centre, and the Halton Waste Management. A total of 50,000 Blue Boxes were handed out in March.

Corporate Sustainability

Earth Hour – Halton Region turned participated in Earth Hour on March 23 by turning off the lights and all non-essential electrical equipment in support of this global initiative to raise awareness about the importance of taking action to fight climate change.

Children and Youth Development

Online prenatal program – The Health Department’s new online prenatal program—The Gift of Motherhood—was evaluated earlier this year. The evaluation showed a significant reduction of the waitlist for face-to-face classes and that 600 additional families have now been able to receive prenatal education. The online prenatal program continues to be offered free of charge to Halton residents.

Seniors

Accreditation with Exemplary Standing – Halton Region’s Service for Seniors Division and the North Halton Mental Health Clinic achieved Accreditation with Exemplary Standing as the final result for the 2012 Accreditation Canada on site survey. Exemplary Standing is the highest level of performance that a Canadian healthcare provider can receive, indicating that the services provided have met and exceeded national standards.

Assessment Entry Module – On March 18, Halton launched our new Assessment Entry Module software in our Community Programs. This new software allows assessment information to move with a client from one health service provider to another to improve quality of care.

Protecting Public Health

Food handler training – On January 1 the first phase of Halton’s Mandatory Food Handler Training Bylaw came into effect. It requires all high-risk food premises to have a certified food handler on site while the kitchen is operating.  To support owners and operators in Halton, the Health Department offers several options to complete the food handler certification training including online study guides, a full day course and on-site training.

Income and Health Inequalities report – On January 29 the Health Department released the Income and Health Inequalities in Halton Region (pdf) that examined 23 health indicators to determine how much income effects health for Halton residents.

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. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”


The second annual update on the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan – 2012 Report to the Citizens

Yesterday Halton Region released the 2012 Report to the Citizens, our second annual update on the Citizen’s Priorities Action Plan. The 2012 Report to the Citizens highlights accomplishments related to key actions and initiatives in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Reporting to residents about progress on the Action Plan ensures transparency and demonstrates Halton’s commitment to accountability and the public engagement process.   

Key accomplishments highlighted in the 2012 Report to the Citizens illustrate how Halton Region continues to deliver value to taxpayers.  Highlights from the Report include:

  • Maintaining a AAA credit rating and an approved 2013 budget with a zero percent tax increase for Regional programs and services 
  • Initiated Economic Development Implementation Plan to bring more investment and jobs to Halton 
  • Completion of infrastructure projects such as the Sixteen Mile Creek Bridge on Dundas Street and the Canadian National Railway overpass on James Snow Parkway 
  • Partnered with non-profit and private sectors to build 57 new affordable housing units 
  • Recruitment of 22 permanent family physicians to Halton
  • Diverted approximately 60 percent of residential waste from the landfill.

In 2013, work continues on a number of key priorities and actions as Halton Region continues to focus on the programs and services that are important to residents.  A list of the 2013 key actions is available at www.halton.ca/actionplan.  Regional staff is currently working to complete 2013 actions and will report progress and achievements to Regional Council and the public in early 2014. 

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 FacebookTo receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton’s quarterly accomplishments (Q4, 2012)

Fiscal Responsibility

2013 Budget and Business Plan – On December 12, 2012, Regional Council approved the 2013 Budget and Business Plan with a zero per cent tax increase. This is the seventh consecutive year with an average zero percent tax increase for Regional programs and services. This is one of the best records in all of Canada.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

Real Estate Forum – On November 8, 2012, more than 200 industrial, commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) attended Halton Region’s Real Estate Forum, for an update on the industrial and commercial real estate market in Halton and the GTA. Participants took away the key message that Halton is indeed a location of choice, and a “hot spot” for forward thinking businesses.

Entrepreneurship Week – From November 12 to 14, 2012, more than100 entrepreneurs in Halton Region attended the second annual Entrepreneurship Week Event hosted by Halton Region Small Business Centre and the regional innovation centre, HalTech.

Data centre launched – Halton Economic Development launched a new online regional data centre in November.  The data centre provides a central online resource location for Regional economic research and investment information.  These new pages include a wealth of data and information regarding Development Activity, Economic Activity, Demographics, Labour Force, Industries, Taxes and Utilities.

Promoting Tourism

Jeff’s Home award – On October 18th 2012, the Halton Region Museum received an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Museum Association (OMA) for Jeff’s Home: a virtual tour of the escarpment in Halton. The OMA Award of Excellence in Programs is awarded to individuals, institutions, corporations or agencies for programming that creatively engages new audiences, or provides exemplary service to existing ones.  Since it was launched, there have been more than 38,000 visits to the Jeff’s Home website.

Emergency Preparedness

Exercise “Lights Out” – On October 4, 2012, Halton Regional and Local emergency staff and officials participated in Exercise “Lights Out” as part of Halton Region’s emergency exercise program. As the name suggests, participants responded to a simulated community emergency – a large, area-wide power black-out that lasted several days – the result of an ice storm.

Community Emergency Notification Service test – On Thursday, December 6, 2012, Halton Region and the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville successfully tested Halton’s Community Emergency Notification Service (CENS). CENS is an emergency telephone notification service. In the event of a major disaster or catastrophe, CENS will phone affected households throughout Halton.

Partnerships

Launch of Halton Newcomer Portal – The Halton Newcomer Portal was launched in November before an audience of over 200 newcomers who attended the annual Halton Information Services Fair.  The portal is a community based website that helps newcomers identify the community supports and services they can access prior to or when they arrive in Halton. The portal is part of the Halton Newcomer Strategy which is a key initiative in the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. Through the Halton Newcomer Strategy, Halton Region’s focus is on removing barriers to employment for newcomers and supporting initiatives that improve access to services for newcomers in Halton.

Planning Sustainable Communities

Joint public information session: review of the current Master Plan for the Burloak Regional Waterfront Park – On December 12, 2012, together with the City of Burlington, the Town of Oakville and Conservation Halton, Halton Region held a successful Public Information Meeting to invite public input into the review of the current Master Plan for the Burloak Regional Waterfront Park as well as to invite comment on a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study for the Burlington East drainage area to confirm the preferred wastewater servicing strategy.

Affordable and Assisted Housing

Be a Hero contest and awards ceremony – A class from Assumption Secondary High School won first place for their YouTube video entitled “Home” at the Be a Hero – Be a Voice for Affordable Housing awards ceremony on November 21, 2012. Over 200 people were in attendance at the awards ceremony and over 160 youth participated in this year’s contest. Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.  The Be a Hero contest challenges Halton youth (ages 14-18) to use their creativity to raise awareness about the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Halton.

Children and Youth Development

Events supporting parents and positive youth development – In November, the Halton Our Kids Network hosted the Do Your Part! National Conference on Positive Youth Development. Over 240 people, including over 40 youth, participated in the two-day conference dedicated to positive youth development. The two days were filled with 28 inspiring learning sessions; many led and delivered by youth.

At the conference, public health nurses presented the “A New Kind of Parenting: Raising Kids Ages 10 to 16” resource to service providers from across Canada. The resource was also presented to Halton parents at the annual Parent Involvement Conference with the Halton District School Board, to support parents in their journey and promote positive parenting and developmental assets messages.

Events for Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week (November 18 to 24) – During Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, the Our Kids Network Bullying Prevention Task Force held two events on November 22, 2012.  A community forum was coordinated during the morning as an opportunity for service providers to dialogue about gaps in bullying prevention and intervention programs and services and to identify potential opportunities for collaboration to address bullying among children and youth across Halton Region.  An evening presentation was also held for parents with a keynote presentation by Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt of the University of Ottawa, which focused on debunking myths about bullying.

Consultation with schools and child care centres – Halton Region Children’s Services Program Support Consultants visited approximately 20 classrooms in the Halton District and Catholic District School Boards, and used the Environmental Ratings Scales to complete an observation and consultation with the Early Childhood Educators and Kindergarten Teachers. Supporting Full Day Kindergarten programs in this manner gives the educators an opportunity to look at their room set up, supervision of children and program through consultative discussions.

Five community child care centres and three schools offering Full Day Kindergarten toured our Halton Region Child Care Centres to observe inclusive, high quality and play-based curriculum. In total, 15 Early Childhood Educators and four Kindergarten Teachers have toured and observed classrooms.  

Protecting Public Health

Making progress with Ontario’s Defibrillator Access Initiative – In 2012 Halton Region received grant funding from the Government of Ontario, through the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, to place 116 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in all elementary schools in the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board.   This grant funding includes training of at least 10 people per defibrillator location. Halton EMS instructors placed over 100 of the AEDs and trained over 1000 people in October, November and December alone.

Halton EMS participating in drug study to improve patient outcomes – For several years Halton EMS has participated in the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium, a large North American study regarding cardiac arrest and traumatic injury.  Halton EMS was the first service in Canada to enroll a patient in the new ALPS (Amiodarone, Lidocaine or Placebo Study)trial that started in October 2012.  The goal of ALPS is to determine if survival to hospital discharge after cardiac arrest is improved with early (and if necessary) repeated administration of a new formulation of IV amiodarone compared to no antiarrhythmic drug (placebo) or lidocaine.

Promoting Healthy Living

Dental supplies to food banks – A new initiative to provide dental supplies to food banks began in mid 2012 with the goal of providing tools and education to reduce oral health problems experienced by residents attending food banks. Through early December, staff distributed oral care products to 11 Halton area food banks. A total of 34,026 items including tooth brushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and brushing instructions were donated. Follow-up evaluations showed great appreciation and continued need for these supplies. Based on these responses, the Health Department will continue the distribution twice per year.

The Honourable Bob Rae, M.P., and Dr. Amy Cheung keynote speakers at Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition annual general meeting – On November 9, 2012, the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition welcomed The Honourable Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and M.P. for Toronto Centre, and Dr. Amy Cheung to their Annual General Meeting. Over 300 people attended this event. Mr. Rae provided an inspirational message to those working in the mental health field, and also offered his insights into Bill C-300, a Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Amy Cheung, a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent depression and suicide highlighted the risk factors and interventions for youth at risk of suicide.

Air Quality

Rollout of “Wings and Thingamajigs” – In September, the Health Department’s children’s book, “Wings and Thingamajigs,” was distributed to elementary schools. This was followed by several additional events, including distribution at several libraries, health and environmental events throughout Halton. At a few events, owls from Mountsberg’s Raptor Centre helped to present the book. In addition, staff were invited to present at the Municipal Communications Conference on “A Farewell to Featherwagons,” the first book in the series and a featured 2012 Gold Quill Award Winner.  

Seniors

New Programming Options for Seniors in HCHC Sites – In the fall, staff in the Older Adults Program collaborated with the Halton Community Housing Corporation to launch several activities designed to support residents’ health. The activities include: facilitating additional sites for the Food for Life Program; organizing display racks for information on community resources; introducing an outreach program from one of the seniors’ centres; initiating a pedometer-lending kit program; and facilitating a WalkOn workshop to improve walkability in the neighbourhood.

Milton Place celebrates 25th anniversary – On October 25, 2012, Halton Region’s Milton Place adult day program proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Milton Place offers innovative, therapeutic recreational programming to seniors, adults with disabilities and their caregivers.

Allendale celebrates 60th anniversary – On November 12, 2012, Halton Region’s Allendale Long-Term Care Home celebrated its 60th anniversary.  Allendale originally opened in 1952 as Halton Centennial Manor and is now home to 200 residents.

Waste Management

Revised waste collection by-law – In November, Halton Regional Council passed a new waste collection By-law which will assist in the public education and implementation of waste collection program changes starting on April 1, 2013, including more acceptable items in Blue Boxes and a new garbage bag limit.

Waste management awards – Halton Region’s  Waste Management program was the recipient of several awards from the Recycling Council of Ontario in October, including: Combined Gold Waste Minimization Award for Municipal Diversion for overall program, Communications for HaltonRecycles social media program, and Unique Program for the hot beverage paper cup recycling pilot with industry partners.

In October, Halton Region also received Promotion & Education Awards from the Municipal Waste Association, including Gold Digital Tool for HaltonRecycles social media program, Gold Newsletter for WasteLess News (Spring 2012 issue), and Bronze Brochure/Booklet for “Rethinking Our Waste: 2012-2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy” booklet.

Transportation

New CN Rail overpass on extended James Snow Parkway in the Town of Milton – A four-lane extension to James Snow Parkway (Regional Road 4) was completed recently, extending east from Regional Road 25 to Boston Church Road in the Town of Milton. The project also included the construction of a new four-lane overpass for the Canadian National Railway line east of Regional Road 25.

Dundas Street widening and Sixteen Mile Creek bridges in the Town of Oakville – Halton Region’s five-year and almost $60 million project to widen a section of Dundas Street (Regional Road 5) and replace the bridge spanning Lions Valley Park was completed last year. The road was widened from four to six lanes between Proudfoot Trail and Neyagawa Boulevard (Regional Road 4), and the existing four-lane bridge was replaced by twin bridges, each with three vehicle lanes and a three-metre dedicated pedestrian/bike path.

Road resurfacing in the Towns of Milton and Halton Hills – As part of the Region’s road resurfacing program, work was completed on four roads in the Town of Milton and the Town of Halton Hills: Campbellville Road (Regional Road 9) from Milburough Line to Guelph Line; Steeles Avenue (Regional Road 8) from Martin Street to Esquesing Line; Martin Street (Regional Road 25) from Steeles Avenue to Highway 401; and Trafalgar Road (Regional Road 3) from 5 Side Road to 15 Side Road.

Citizens view of Regional construction projects – In December, Halton Region launched a new interactive mapping tool to help residents learn more about Regional construction projects. The online tool is being tested as part of a pilot project. Try it at www.halton.ca/construction and give us your feedback!

Infrastructure

Watermain replacement completed on Elmwood Crescent in the Town of Milton – In a joint project with the Town of Milton, Halton Region replaced the aging watermain on Elmwood Crescent, from Bell Street to Heslop Road to ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply.

New watermain installed along Steeles Avenue in the Town of Milton – Last November, the Region replaced an aging watermain on Steeles Avenue, between Martin Street and Harrop Drive, as part of the road resurfacing project between Martin Street and Esquesing Line in the Town of Milton. The existing cast iron watermain had reached the end of its service life and was replaced with a new watermain to ensure a safe and reliable drinking water supply.

Dundas Street corridor projects completed in the Town of Oakville – A number of projects were completed along the Dundas Street corridor in North Oakville. A new wastewater main was completed on Neyagawa Boulevard (Regional Road 4) between Sixteen Mile Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road (Regional Road 27). The existing wastewater main was upgraded along Third Line between Upper Middle Road (Regional Road 38) and Dundas Street. The new North Oakville East Wastewater Pumping Station was also completed and commissioned at the end of 2012.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Submission of joint municipal comments on proposed source water protection plans – Halton Region staff provided input into a joint submission with the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville on the proposed Source Water Protection Plans (CTC and Lake Erie Source Protection Areas) to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the Plan’s implementation requirements, issues and challenges.

Municipal water treatment facilities and distribution systems achieve 100% compliance rating – All of Halton’s municipal water treatment facilities and distributions systems inspected by the provincial Ministry of the Environment in 2012 achieved a 100% compliance rating.

Halton Region completed biennial audit of Region’s environmental laboratories – The Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. conducts biennial on-site assessments of Halton’s water-testing laboratory along with regular proficiency testing to ensure the laboratory constantly demonstrates quality and competence in testing. Laboratories performing testing on drinking water in Ontario must be licensed by the Ministry of the Environment, accredited and inspected. Accreditation is also a regulatory requirement for some types of wastewater and biosolids testing. Laboratory accreditation is an important mechanism to provide assurance to regulators and customers.

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. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”