Rain barrel sales help residents conserve water

rainbarrelHalton is committed to providing residents and visitors with safe, high-quality drinking water to enjoy and use. We encourage people to ReThink Water through efforts to protect our natural environment and make water conservation a part of their everyday lives. As part of region-wide water conservation efforts, starting Saturday, May 7, we will once again be offering rain barrels for sale at events throughout Halton.

Using rain barrels diverts water from your home’s downspout and catches it for use on gardens and potted plants. Using the water from one full rain barrel saves 240L of water, which is more than the average Halton resident uses in one day.

Rain barrels are available for purchase either in person at the truckload sales events or online directly at any time.

Sale dates and locations:

  • Saturday, May 7, 2016
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Robert C. Austin Operations Centre
    11620 Trafalgar Road, Georgetown
  • Saturday, May 14, 2016
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Mapleview Mall (lower parking lot by The Bay)
    900 Maple Avenue, Burlington
  • Saturday, June 4, 2016
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Milton GO Train Station parking lot
    780 Main Street East (west of Thompson Road), Milton
  • Saturday, June 11, 2016
    9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Halton Regional Centre (Parking lots A, B and C. Enter off North Service Road)
    1151 Bronte Road, Oakville

A few reminders:

  • Barrels are $45 each, including tax.
  • Walk-up customers at truckload sales are limited to one barrel per household, cash only. (No limit if purchasing online.)
  • Proof of Halton residence will be required.

To learn more about Halton’s water services and programs, rain barrel sales program and tips on water conservation, please visit halton.ca/water. By working together we can make a difference and ensure Halton remains a great and sustainable 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”.

Help preserve Halton this Earth day!

2015 Scout Tree Planting event

On April 22, six million Canadians will participate in recognizing one of the world’s largest environmental events: Earth Day. This year’s Earth Day event focuses on growing the global forest. Halton Region is committed to protecting and enhancing our rich, natural environment and is currently involved in a number of projects that support forest and tree growth in Halton, such as:



  • The Annual Scout Tree Planting Event, hosted by Halton Region on April 30. It is part of the Region’s ongoing tree planting and maintenance program at the Halton Waste Management Site (HWMS). Over the last 15 years, this initiative has supported the planting of over 5000 native trees.
  • The Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan, which will begin implementation later this year. The Master Plan includes plans to restore the sensitive beach and dune area located within the park with native trees, shrubs and other plants.
  • The Biodiversity Strategy for Regional Forests, which is a 10-year strategy that guides the Region’s many sustainability initiatives by managing the preservation of our rich and diverse landscape.

Resident wishing to take part in local Earth Day events can attend the many community events that have been planned by our local municipalities and environmental groups throughout Halton. These events include:

I am pleased to join residents and community partners in their tireless efforts to preserve the natural environment for future generations. What we do today, matters for tomorrow. Together we are preserving Halton’s future as 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”.

Protecting yourself against heat and smog this summer

With the summer months just ahead of us we can expect higher temperatures and increased humidity and smog.  In order to protect yourself, your family and help those in our community, residents can sign up to receive heat and smog alerts from the Halton Region Health Department. These alerts help you plan your outdoor activities so you can enjoy a safe and fun summer in Halton.

A heat warning is issued when:

  • the temperature is expected to reach 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for two days, or
  • the humidex value is expected to reach at least 40°C for two days.

Alternatively, an extreme heat warning is issued when:

  • the temperature is expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for at least three days, or
  • there is a humidex of at least 40°C for at least three days.

During these heat and smog warnings, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent activity breaks and use sun protection. While you’re protecting yourself and your family from preventable heat illnesses, it’s also important to visit your neighbours to make sure they’re cool and hydrated, especially if they are elderly, don’t have air conditioning or are at high-risk for a heat illness.

High heat and humidity are often accompanied by smog. Poor outdoor air quality poses a risk to our health in Halton Region and in many other communities across southern Ontario. Halton Region has various programs in place to help improve our air quality and the Halton Region Health Department regularly posts information on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) so that you can stay informed and make decisions about how to protect your health from these environmental impacts.

Everyone knows that Halton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire, and part of what makes it so great here is the sense of community.  By staying informed, we can protect ourselves and our families, help those in our community and enjoy all Halton has to offer this summer.

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

Celebrating 75 years of protecting our Regional forests

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Halton Regional Forests.  To commemorate this milestone, Halton Region has recently acquired 37 hectares of new forest land, marking the first addition to the Regional Forest in almost 50 years.  Between 1939 and 1965, Halton secured more than 665 hectares (1,643 acres) of land, ranging from 12 hectares to more than 166 hectares in size, in 14 separate forest tracts.  The new forest lands contain a provincially significant wetland (approximately 14 hectares) and a woodlot (approximately 23 hectares) bringing the total size of Halton’s Regional Forests to 702 hectares.

Our Regional forests are an important reminder of the critical role natural areas play in the Halton landscape. It is essential that we preserve these unique natural systems which are home to a wide array of plants and animals including a number of rare and endangered species.

Halton Region has recently adopted a Biodiversity Strategy for the Halton Regional Forests and is the first regional municipality in Ontario to do so.  The Biodiversity Strategy will protect and increase biological diversity in the Regional forests, while preserving and enhancing the Regional Natural Heritage System. This strategy will guide conservation of the Regional forests over the next 10 years and help protect them for future generations. The strategy contains seven key biodiversity initiatives to help maintain and enhance the biodiversity of the forests including:

  • Implementing strategic control measures for priority invasive species in Regional Forest Tracts;
  • Expanding the scope of restoration and enhancement activities beyond tree and shrub planting;
  • Implementing programs to monitor the biodiversity of Regional Forest Tracts;
  • Promoting Regional Forest Tracts as Living Laboratories;
  • Engaging the public in enjoying, characterizing and enhancing biodiversity resources in the Regional Forest Tracts;
  • Engaging in public awareness and educational activities to promote biodiversity; and,
  • Continuing to implement good forestry practices in Regional Forest Tracts in accordance with the Forest Management Plan.

Regional Council considers sustainability in all that we do and is committed to the protection and preservation of Halton’s natural heritage. Working together, we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment that make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. If you would like to learn more about our Regional Forests or our Biodiversity Strategy for the Halton Regional Forests, please visit halton.ca/forests.

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

Reduce Your Outdoor Water Use

Summer is finally here and Halton is reminding residents to be mindful of their outdoor water use to ensure there is enough water for essential and emergency services like firefighting.

Water conservation is very important during summer months when water consumption can double due to the increase in outdoor water use from activities such as lawn watering and car washing.

outdoor water use

In order to ensure a continuous supply of water for essential and emergency services, residents are asked to conserve water by following Halton’s Outdoor Water Use program. The program consists of a three level, numeric, colour-coded system that considers factors, including water demand, water storage levels, groundwater levels and weather patterns:

LEVEL 1 (Blue) – Careful Use

  • Voluntary odd/even lawn watering between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. & 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.:
    • Properties with odd address numbers water on odd numbered calendar days
    • Properties with even address numbers water on even numbered calendar days
  • Car washing and watering of trees, shrubs and gardens is allowed.
  • Although level one is voluntary, resident cooperation to reduce regular outdoor water use is important.

LEVEL 2 (Yellow) – Limited Use

  • Mandatory odd/even lawn watering between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. & 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.:
    • Properties with odd address numbers water on odd numbered calendar days
    • Properties with even address numbers water on even numbered calendar days
  • Use a hand-held device such as a watering can.to water trees, shrubs and gardens.

LEVEL 3 (Red) – Stop Use

  • No outdoor lawn watering or car washing is permitted in order to conserve water for emergency and essential services.
  • Watering of trees, shrubs and gardens can be done using a hand-held device following the odd/even watering rule.

For tips on how to reduce your outdoor water use and to sign up to receive an email alert when water restrictions are in effect visit www.halton.ca/waterconservation.

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.”

Beach water monitoring

Summer is an energizing and exciting season with many opportunities for people to get outdoors and find fun ways to be active with family and friends. What’s even better is that you don’t have to drive north to cottage country to enjoy all that the outdoors in summertime has to offer, you can enjoy it all right here in Halton.

Beachway Park

Halton is fortunate to have several recreational beaches located throughout the region. Residents and visitors in each municipality of Halton are able to access our natural surroundings and can enjoy summer activities like swimming, boating and sports in and around the water.

During the summer months, Halton’s beach water is tested weekly by our Health Department. This testing is done to determine if the water quality is safe for swimming and for other recreational water activities. Beach water is sampled at the following locations:

  • Beachway Park, 1094 Lakeshore Road, Burlington
  • Kelso Conservation Area, 5234 Kelso Road, Milton
  • Bronte Park Beach, Lakeshore Road/Bronte Road, Oakville
  • Coronation Park West, 1462 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville
  • Coronation Park East, 1462 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville
  • Prospect Park Old Beach, 30 Park Avenue, Acton

Before you head out for the day, take a moment to find out if the beach you are going to is safe for swimming. Dial 311 or go online for 24 hour a day access to results of our weekly beach water testing.

This summer, plan a stay-cation and experience the natural water features that Halton has to offer. Play on the beach, dip your toes in the water or take the plunge! There are so many reasons to get outdoors, be active and discover why Halton is such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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.”

Celebrating Clean Air Day with Ka-Pow to Powerjams

Protecting public health, emergency preparedness, environmental health and air quality are all Citizens’ Priorities in Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan.

Kapow__83

On June 5, Halton Region celebrated Canadian Environment Week (June 2 – June 8, 2013) and Clean Air Day (June 5) at Milton Public Library with the first public reading of Ka-Pow to Powerjams, a picture book for children aged four to eight.

The launch at Milton Public Library was attended by more than 50 young students and featured a book reading, a visit from some special guests from the Mountsberg Raptor Centre, a presentation on asthma triggers and an emergency preparedness display.

Ka-Pow to Powerjams is the third and final book in a three-book series about the implications of air quality and climate change on human health. It builds on the themes presented in A Farewell to Featherwagons and Wings and Thingamajigs, completing the Owls for Climate Change series by exploring emergency preparedness themes and the linkages between climate change, severe weather and energy conservation.

Kapow__109

Over the next few months, copies of the book will be provided to public libraries in Halton as well as child care centres, schools, community networks and partners. A complementary Storytelling Kit is available online.

As this story illustrates, simple actions can have an impact in making our community healthy, energy smart and disaster resilient. This week, why not walk or bike to your local library and borrow a copy of the book to share with your children or grandchildren. Related to emergency preparedness, consider assembling or purchasing a 72 hour Go-Kit to use during an evacuation of your home or community.

Visit www.halton.ca/owlbooks to read all three books online.  Books one and two are available in English, French, Cantonese, Polish, Punjabi and Spanish; translations of book three will be available online this summer.

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.”