2013 Budget and Business Plan (video)

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.”

Celebrate Family Day 2013 with a Halton Happening!

Searching for a new Family Day tradition? This long weekend, find fun right here in Halton. Halton Region offers parks, museums and galleries, special events, unique dining, shopping and much more!IMG_3089

In Burlington

In Halton Hills

In MiltonGlen Eden 26

In Oakville

Halton offers countless opportunities – truly something for everyone.  You can find a list of things to see and do in Halton on the Region’s tourism portal, Discovering Halton.

Enjoy this weekend with your family and friends!  To learn more, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/tourism. Find Halton Tourism on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

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.”

New online tools for parents: “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!”

We’ve been making our website a priority over the past few years – to improve the information and resources we have available to the residents of Halton and increase the interactivity of our site. Now, parents of children ages three or four will find everything they need to know to help prepare their child for the transition to kindergarten in the new “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!” pages.

Prepared in partnership between Halton Region, the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic School Board and the Ontario Early Years Centres, parents will find comprehensive information and interactive tools such as:

Topics and resources cover the five key areas of child development, health and building healthy lifestyles, setting routines, parenting tips, reading, schedules of school PD days and holidays, and upcoming local parenting presentations.Ready Set Go

In Halton, almost one in four five-year olds (Our Kids Network Report Card, Early Development Instrument) results is not ready for school. Halton Region, in partnership with our community organizations, want to help change this statistic and ensure parents in our region have the information, resources and support they need to help give their children the confidence and skills they need to succeed in school. The “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!” pages should certainly help them achieve this goal.

Keep in mind that parents with children of any age – from pregnancy to raising teenagers –can connect directly with one of our public health nurses or child development staff at any time, in many ways, through HaltonParents:

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 (Q3, 2012)

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

  • Summer Company

This past summer, the Halton Region Small Business Centre once again worked with young entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their own businesses through participation in the provincially funded Summer Company program. This year’s eight Halton Summer Companies offered a variety of services – everything from graphic design and exterior painting to swimming lessons and flyer delivery services.

  • Lowe’s Canada’s Distribution Centre

On August 1, Halton Region joined the Town of Milton for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of Lowe’s Canada’s Distribution Centre at 3333 James Snow Parkway in Milton. The new 626,000 sq. ft. Canadian Distribution Centre is expected to provide more than 500 full and part-time jobs plus local construction jobs.

  • Delegation from Liaoning Province in China

On September 6th, Halton Region and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton welcomed a delegation from Liaoning Provincial Government of the People’s Republic of China. Delegates attended presentations about Halton’s economy, key industries, sustainable economic and planning policies as well as Halton’s entrepreneurship and innovation services. The meeting ended with a discussion around opportunities for synergies and collaboration.

Promoting Tourism

  • Alexander Family Farm Day

On Sunday, September 9th, the Halton Region Museum hosted Alexander Family Farm Day. More than 250 people attended the day which featured such activities as Pioneer Chores & Games, Living as a Blacksmith, concerts from children’s entertainers and a petting zoo.

  • “Back to the Land Camps”

The Halton Region Museum hosted five weeks of “Back to the Land Camps” in partnership with Planet Kids featuring environmental, cultural, and historical programming during July and August.

Planning Sustainable Communities

  • Online access to employment data

In July, Halton Region launched its first web-based mapping tool that offers a bird’s eye view of employment characteristics in Halton.  The new tool, GeoEmployment Viewer, provides access to Halton-specific 2011 employment information which is based on data collected by the Region’s Planning Services Division through its annual employment survey. Halton Region uses this data to understand employment and industry trends, as well as employment densities within specific geographic areas.

  •  Consultation on draft ROPA 38 Implementation Guidelines

Halton Region launched new web pages in July to encourage dialogue and feedback on a series of draft Guidelines, designed to assist in the implementation of Regional Official Plan Amendment No. 38 (ROPA 38), “An Amendment to Incorporate the Results of Sustainable Halton, Official Plan Review Directions and Other Matters.”  Regional staff will take all comments received into consideration when finalizing the Guidelines and will forward a report to the Region’s Inter-Municipal Liaison Committee with the final draft Guidelines, with a recommendation for Council to approve the Guidelines in early spring 2013.


  • Farm Tour

On September 20, the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee successfully hosted its 32nd Annual Halton Farm Tour, “Horsepower in Halton.”  The tour highlighted three equine operations in Halton. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions, and learn about issues and trends affecting Halton’s equine industry.

  • Simply Local: Your Guide to Halton Farms

In August, Halton Region released Simply Local: Your guide to Halton farms. This updated publication provides a directory of Halton farms open to the public, nurseries and garden centres, farmers’ markets, heritage farms, fall fairs and horse farms offering riding trails, lessons and camps.

Customer Service

  • 311 Halton online

On September 4, Halton Region launched 311 Halton Online. This new online tool allows residents to find, pay, register, report and request services from Halton Region, the Halton Regional Police Service and the Local Municipalities, including the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville.

Public Engagement

  • Enhanced social media options for Waste Management and Tourism

To reach out to and engage with new audiences, Halton Region’s Tourism group has added to its social media arsenal with a presence on Pinterest. Pinterest is a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to a “pinboard.” Halton Region’s Waste Management group also recently added Pinterest to their current social media offerings (Twitter and Blog). The addition of Pinterest to both Halton’s Tourism and Waste programs is another step to provide residents with an interactive, engaging platform to share and learn about all the interesting things to see and do in Halton including learning about all aspects of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle.)


  • More community programs benefiting from the Halton Region Community Investment Fund

Children, seniors and people with disabilities are among the groups benefiting from funding allocated this year to 26 community projects and programs through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund. In July, Regional Council approved allocations to 10 organizations for multi-year funding and 16 community programs for one-time grants, to support programs that provide community health or social services to the Halton community. The total amount awarded for one-time grants and multi-year funding this year is $771,195.

Be an Employer of Choice

  • Long service celebrated

On September 27, Halton Region celebrated the long service of Regional employees. This year’s long service award recipients represent more than 2700 years of public service to the residents of Halton Region.


  • Advocating against a proposed new provincial highway in Burlington

On July 4, 2012, representatives from the Niagara-GTA Provincial Highway project team made a presentation to the Halton Region Planning and Public Works Committee on the current Environmental Assessment (EA) Study being conducted related to the proposed Provincial Highway. This presentation provided Regional Council with another opportunity to express their opposition to any new highway cutting through the Escarpment in north Burlington. The Province’s project team is continuing to work to evaluate transportation options. Halton Region and the City of Burlington continue to work together to oppose a new provincial highway in Burlington.


  • Keeping our roads moving

Making sure that drivers on our Regional Road network are moving safely and efficiently is a critical priority for Halton Region. As a result, three transportation progression analyses were completed to make sure traffic lights are coordinated and helping to improve traffic movement. In addition, a workshop was held to begin to develop guidelines and identify best practices for Transportation Demand Management initiatives to help relieve congestion on Regional roads.

  • Reconstruction started on Regional Road 25 from Derry Road to Britannia Road including Regional Road 25 4-lane widening and reconstruction from Highway 401 to 5 Side Road

Work is underway on two road projects on Regional Road 25 in the Town of Milton. The section between Britannia Road and Derry Road  is being widened to four lanes and includes the replacement of the bridge over Sixteen Mile Creek. The section between Highway 401 and 5 Side Road is also being widened and reconstructed with the base layer of asphalt to be completed by the end of 2012.

  • Construction started on James Snow Parkway from Regional Road 25 to Boston Church Road, including construction of the Canadian National Railway overpass structure

Work is being completed on a new Canadian National Railway overpass structure on James Snow Parkway in the Town of Milton. The project also includes the widening of James Snow Parkway to four lanes between Regional Road 25 and Holgate Crescent, and the construction of a new four lane street extension from Holgate Crescent to west of Boston Church Road. New street lights, sidewalks and a multi-use pathway are also being constructed as part of the work. All work will be completed by the end of 2012.


  • Infrastructure report card

In order to continue to invest in transportation, water, waste and wastewater infrastructure, it’s critical to know the current state of Regional public works infrastructure. The recent Public Works infrastructure report card shows us where we need to focus our efforts and budget. We also completed the Wastewater Pumping Station Master Plan, which will guide improvements to our wastewater pumping stations.

  • Construction started for Phase 2 Upgrades to the Oakville Water Purification Plant

In July, Halton Region began upgrading the Oakville Water Purification Plant to ensure the plant continues to provide safe, clean drinking water to the residents of Oakville and Milton. Work will include upgrades to the filter building and the raw water pumping station, and relocation of the treated water pumping station within the plant. Some landscape and architectural improvements will also be made. The $30 million project is partially funded through the federal Gas Tax Fund.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

  • Hosted the 7th Annual Children’s Water Festival

The seventh annual Halton Children’s Water Festival was held from September 25 to 28, 2012, with almost 4,000 Halton students from grades two to five participating. The four-day festival is co-hosted by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville and took place outdoors at the Kelso Conservation Area in Milton.  The Festival provides children with a unique opportunity to learn about water in a fun and interactive way while covering Ontario curriculum requirements.

Waste Management

  • Special Waste Drop-Off Days in Burlington and Oakville

On Saturday, August 25 at the Burlington Closed Landfill and Saturday, September 22 at the Suncor Energy Facility in Oakville Halton Region held Special Waste Drop-off Days.  The drop-off days were designed to provide Halton residents with a convenient opportunity to safely recycle and dispose of items which should not be placed in the garbage. Almost 1500 residents attended both events.

  • Pilot program for hot beverage paper cup recycling implemented

On September 20, 2012 Halton Region launched a four month pilot project in Ward 4 Burlington, to determine whether hot beverage paper cups can effectively be recycled in the Blue Box instead of being composted as part of the GreenCart program. This pilot project will allow Halton Region, other municipalities, brand owners, Stewardship Ontario, and recycling companies to find out how well hot beverage paper cups can be recycled in a municipal Blue Box program.  The paper cup pilot is funded by Stewardship Ontario, a private, not-for-profit, industry led stewardship organization through support from Halton Region, Emterra (Halton’s Blue Box processer) and Tim Hortons.

  • Halton Waste Management Site 20th anniversary event

On Saturday, September 29, over 600 Halton residents of all ages attended a community drop-in event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Halton Waste Management Site. The Halton Waste Management Site opened in 1992 and was originally expected to last only 20 years or until the year 2012 but thanks to the efforts of Halton residents participating in Halton’s waste diversion programs the landfill life is now projected to the year 2040.

  • Pilot program for Halton’s household hazardous waste depot

At the Waste Management 20th Anniversary event, Halton Region launched a pilot project for an Orange Box to collect household hazardous waste. The Orange Box was designed to be used at home to easily store and transport household hazardous waste to the Halton Waste Management Site for recycling or safe disposal. This pilot project will determine whether the Orange Box assists residents in the diversion of their household hazardous waste products.

Children and Youth Development

  • Halton responds to provincial discussion paper

In September, together with Our Kids Network-Early Years and Partners for Children with Special Needs, Halton’s Children’s Services submitted a response to Modernizing Child Care in Ontario, a discussion paper released by the provincial Ministry of Education. Released earlier this year, the discussion paper invited Ontarians to provide feedback about the child care system in Ontario. Among the items Halton and its partners advocated for was stable funding to ensure a vibrant and well-connected early learning and child care system where qualified staff receive adequate compensation. To view the complete response, visit Our Kids Network’s plans, strategies and other resources.

  • Council endorses bullying prevention activities

On September 4, Regional Council endorsed support for activities led by the Our Kids Network Bullying Prevention Task Force. The task force consists of a number of community organizations, including the Halton Region Health Department, who are committed to addressing issues of bullying across Halton Region. The task force’s activities have included the completion of a literature review to identify recommended strategies for bullying prevention and support for children and youth.


  • Services for Seniors awarded accreditation with commendation from Accreditation Canada

In September 2012, Halton’s Services for Seniors programs, including Allendale, Creek Way and Post Inn Village long-term care homes, adult day programs and seniors assisted living sites were surveyed by Accreditation Canada. This was a voluntary process to measure Halton’s programs and services against national standards of excellence. Halton Region received an official award of Accreditation with Commendation, an impressive accomplishment that illustrates the hard work of staff dedicated to providing safe and quality services within a culture of caring.

Protecting Public Health

  • New ambulance and two emergency response units now in service

On July 16, one new ambulance and two new emergency response units that were approved by Regional Council in the 2012 budget were placed in service.  These vehicles are staffed 12-hours per day during peak demand periods, and are deployed throughout the Region as required.  These new resources are intended to address growth and reduce paramedic response times.

Promoting Healthy Living

  • Health Department hosted Workplace Health Networking Meeting

On September 12, the Halton Region Health Department hosted a Workplace Health Networking Meeting in partnership with Transportation Services on the topic of Smart Commute, called “Taking the Work Out of Getting to Work.” Twenty-seven professionals met to learn more about Active Transportation (walking and cycling) and carpooling as options for their employees’ commutes. They were educated on the health benefits for employees that result from reduced employee stress and increased physical activity.

  • Chronic Disease Prevention team supported the employee Health and Safety week at Costco Burlington

During the week of September 10 to 14, the Chronic Disease Prevention team supported the employee Health and Safety week at Costco Burlington, a workplace with more than 250 staff.  Community Food Advisors provided information and education on healthy eating to staff, while health promoters provided education and consultation on preventing chronic disease and quitting smoking.

  • Spreading the “Silence Hurts” message for World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day. The Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition partnered with the Health Department’s Talking about Addictions and Mental Illness program to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Seventy-seven people were reached through four sessions of “Silence Hurts: Sustaining Life and Preventing Suicide,” held throughout Halton.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”  You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

The new Family Health Information Line – your connection to a local public health nurse

Did you know that you can talk directly with a local public health nurse any weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. about a wide range of topics for you or your family? The Halton Region Health Department now offers the Family Health Information Line (FHIL) where nurses will provide you with comprehensive, research-based information, support and counselling.

When you call FHIL, you will talk with one of seven nurses who can help you with your questions related to:

  • Mental health
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Safety and injury prevention
  • Local supports and programs
  • Overall health and wellness

These nurses also service the telephone support for HaltonParents, where local parents can get advice and support about:

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding support
  • Parenting – from birth to teens
  • Child/youth behaviour and health concerns
  • Preconception information
  • And much more…

HaltonParents public health nurses also offer support to parents online through the website, Twitter (@HaltonParents) and a parenting blog, with Facebook soon to come.

But FHIL is not restricted only to parents and the general public. It is also a great service for professionals across the Region. Physicians and other health providers, school professionals and child care professionals can receive access to evidence-based information and resources for patients and families, information about the Health Department’s programs and services, linkages to other local organizations, how to refer patients and families to services, and much more.

Establishing FHIL has been part of the Region’s Citizen’s Priorities Action Plan as a key initiative to enhance access to health information and services for residents in Halton. And because our public health nurses also work in the community, FHIL nurses can link you to the programs and services offered by many other agencies and organizations. FHIL allows the Health Department to be more inclusive, efficient and customer friendly.

So, to access the Family Health Information Line, simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000 and ask for the Family Health Information Line. You can also email one of the nurses at familyhealthinfo@halton.ca. To find out more about the line, visit www.halton.ca/fhil. Devon, Cindy, Nicole, Hilary, Kirsty, Andrea, and Tamara—are waiting to help you!

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.”

More than 4,000 students expected to attend the 2012 Halton Children’s Water Festival

Conservation Halton and Halton Region will be co-hosting the seventh annual Halton Children’s Water Festival (HCWF) from September 25 to 28, 2012 for students in grades two to five. The festival educates children about water, one of the world’s most precious resources, and is once again being held outdoors at the picturesque Kelso Conservation Area in Milton.

The Festival has grown every year since it began in 2006.  Grade two students were added in 2007, and the Festival expanded from three to four days in 2008. Attendance has also risen from 3,000 students in 2006 to more than 4,000 students expected in 2012.  After this year’s Festival, approximately 25,000 elementary school students will have had the opportunity to become environmental stewards while learning about water and the value of protecting and preserving it.

The Festival is co-hosted by Conservation Halton and Halton Region in partnership with the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, The City of Burlington, The Town of Halton Hills, The Town of Milton and The Town of Oakville. This year, I once again have the pleasure of serving as one of the Festival’s Honorary Co-Chairs along with Conservation Halton Chairman John Vice.

Students will have a unique opportunity to learn about water in a fun and interactive way while covering Ontario curriculum requirements. New this year, French language activity centres will be piloted with grade five French Immersion students on Thursday, September 27.  The festival features nearly 60 curriculum-based, hands-on activity centres that incorporate four central water related themes including:

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Water Conservation and Protection
  • Water Health and Safety
  • Water and Society

The Festival is a community partnership that depends on over 150 volunteers each day to assist with various activities. Each year, Halton high school students, staff from partner organizations and community volunteers all generously offer their time, while gaining experience with community outreach, public speaking, teaching, and time management. The Festival also relies on in-kind and monetary support from organizations in the Halton community in order to make the festival easily accessible for Halton’s students. For more information on this year’s supporters visit www.hcwf.ca/supporterslist.htm.

The Festival is offered to Halton schools at a cost of $5 per child, which includes a full day at the Festival as well as transportation to and from the event. To learn more about the Halton Children’s Water Festival, please visit www.hcwf.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 or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton Region supports Parents (and Grandparents too!)

Recently, I became a grandparent for the first time.  It’s really exciting to look forward to special times ahead and enjoying the milestones of your grandchildren. I’m looking forward to tying up my granddaughter’s first pair of skates and  getting out on the ice as a coach again.

There’s an African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that strong communities can help build the leaders of tomorrow.  Whether you are a parent, grandparent, friend, neighbour or educator, the entire community can together create the many positive experiences that children and youth need to develop and thrive.

Connecting with other parents (and grandparents) can be a helpful way to get support and reassurance that you are not alone in your parenting journey.  Parenting programs such as those offered at the Region and the Ontario Early Years Centres also provide opportunities for parents to learn and interact.

Since the time my children were small, much has been learned about child development as well as approaches to parenting which establish and foster life-long positive relationships with your children, provide them with a safe healthy environment and teach them the skills they need to become active adults. Halton Region has many programs and services available to parents and caregivers

While children progress through a number of developmental milestones, every child is different. If you are concerned about the growth and development of a child in your family, you can talk to your doctor or speak with a public health nurse by dialing 311 and asking for HaltonParents. The sooner any concerns are identified and addressed, the better. I remember my days as a young parent, and I know that all parents need some support and guidance along the way and grandparents (and other caregivers) can play an important role in helping families cope and adjust with the challenges of today’s world.

In this modern global world, technology has certainly changed the way we live and now long-distance grandparents can email and video chat to stay connected.  To stay informed about issues and programs for parents (and grandparents) you can also follow our HaltonParents team of public health nurses and child development staff on twitter or read their blog.

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.”