Creating healthy communities through active transportation

In Halton we have many programs and policies in place (and in development) that support Halton as a great place to be active and live sustainably. We value citizen’s input in the work that we do, and a great example of this is the Health Department’s walkON program.

walkON is a program that promotes the idea of the walkable, bikeable, and transit walkOnsupportive communities, encouraging people to walk, bike or take transit as an alternative to driving.

One of the unique features of this program is that it is based on a partnership that includes many different members of our community. Some of these members include:

  • Citizens
  • Activists
  • Government staff
  • Elected officials
  • Service providers
  • Businesses

The role of the Health Department is to coordinate and bring people together and to support communities that are working to organize and improve their neighbourhoods. walkON also offers a variety of tools to help support those interested in making a change. In 2012, the program focused on delivering two successful multi-sectoral workshops, as laid out in our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

The first workshop was held in Georgetown and focused on the walkability, safety and accessibility of older adults. The end result of the workshop was that commitments were made by both the Town and residents to inquire about local infrastructure changes to help seniors access local shops with ease.

The second workshop held in Oakville has led to a coalition of many existing partners called the Oakville Sustainable Transportation Coalition. This coalition is still in its infancy and they are building on the Town’s strong policy base to work hand-in-hand making walking, cycling and transit use more practical for its local residents.

Currently Halton Region is creating an Active Transportation Master Plan to help connect our communities.  To learn more about how you can get involved, or if you would like to learn more about walkON and other health related programs, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca.

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.”

Tell us what you want to know about infrastructure

Halton residents consider infrastructure planning and construction to be key priorities for the Region. Building a Better Halton, our long-term infrastructure plan will support the growth across the region to the year 2031, with a total investment of approximately $3 billion.

In 2010, a series of focus groups was conducted to investigate what residents wanted to know about infrastructure planning and construction, and how they wished to be informed. That research led to the development of a communications strategy to engage and inform residents, business owners and commuters about the construction projects taking place across the region and our plans for future infrastructure maintenance and growth.

Our specially-branded communications efforts for the Building a Better Halton programBBH Logo have included highly-visible roadside signs for construction work, timely correspondence with affected residents and business owners, dedicated online resources (www.halton.ca/construction), print advertising and media relations.

We have recently developed new ways to increase awareness and understanding of the Region’s long-term infrastructure plan such as the interactive mapping tool for construction projects that we are now testing on our website and dedicated e-newsletters for key construction areas, currently Dundas Street in Burlington and Oakville, and Steeles Avenue in Milton and Halton Hills.

Construction affects all of us – on major roadways and local streets, in our newest as well as our most established communities. Halton Region has been working hard to keep you informed about our construction projects and the related impact on roads and neighbourhoods. Now it’s time to tell us what you think about our efforts.

Later this month, we’ll be issuing our next MVP (My View Point) survey to evaluate how effective we’ve been and identify areas where we can improve. If you’d like to be a part of the survey panel, please register by January 20, 2013 at www.halton.ca/MVP.

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.

Agriculture

  • 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.)

Partnerships

  • 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.

Advocacy

  • 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.

Transportation

  • 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

  • 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.

Seniors

  • 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.

Advocating for Halton residents (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.”

311 Halton services – Now Available Online!

311 Halton is now available by call or click!

www.halton.ca/311 makes it easy to: find, pay, register, report or request services from Halton Region, the Halton Regional Police Service or any of the Local Municipalities including the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville.  You can also visit the site to look for job and volunteer opportunities.

Visit www.halton.ca/311 to find out about recycling and waste pickup, register for parenting or parks and recreation programs, report a non-emergency crime, pay for a parking ticket and so much more.

Customer Service is a priority for Halton Region.  311 Halton online is just one recent improvement to make it easier for you to connect with Halton Region.  Check out our new social media centre for other ways to connect with Regional programs and services online.

Halton Government Services are still available by dialing 311.  Remember, 311 is a non-emergency service that offers access to all eight Halton government partners (Regional and Local municipal governments, Halton Regional Police Services, Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board).  Callers who dial 311 can be assisted in more than 170 languages and through TTY.

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.”