Great Planning = A Great Place to Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Halton Region is an award winning organization

I am pleased to announce that Halton Region was recently recognized as an employer of choice with three distinct awards, including being named one of the top employers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the third year in a row. Run by Mediacorp Canada Inc., this project aims to acknowledge companies and organizations who are leaders in their industries. A special feature has been published by The Globe and Mail and online at www.eluta.ca.toronto-2014-english

Halton is a supportive, challenging and rewarding place to work. The Region is also a valued community partner and a leader in corporate responsibility. Metrolinx recently honoured Halton with a Smart Commute Halton Employer of the Year Award. The Smart Commute Awards recognize achievements by employers in reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road. At the Region, our sustainable commuting options for employees include dedicated car pool parking spaces, the installation of secure bicycle parking, and a corporate transit pass program.   

Halton Region was also recognized by Oakville Hydro Corporation for being a leader in conservation and demand management of electrical consumption. Halton received an Oakville Saves! Recognition certificate for committing to significant energy retrofit projects in an effort to conserve energy.

Being an employer of choice is one of our top priorities in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. This designation helps affirm that Halton is a workplace that attracts, retains and engages the highest calibre of employees so that we can continue to deliver the best possible services to the resident of Halton Region. The great staff at the Region is one of the reasons that 98% of residents are satisfied with regional services, and I’m proud that we continue to provide effective programs to ensure that Halton is not only a great place to live, but also a great place to work.

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 Export Forum features local export success stories

On Thursday, November 14, I joined local businesses at the Halton Export Forum in Oakville. Halton Region partnered with the Canada-Ontario Export Forum to bring this timely event to Halton. The forum provided an opportunity for both new and experienced exporters to hear tips, learn how to increase exports, discover export funding programs and network with government and export service providers.

Panelists Cameron Serles of Xiris Automation Inc. and Debbie Baker of OpenAire Inc. shared their stories and export success tips.  Burlington based Xiris, whose products are sold worldwide through a network of distributors and agents, designs and manufactures specialized equipment using advanced camera technology to recognize and detect quality defects in manufactured goods. Oakville based OpenAire designs, manufactures and installs custom retractable roof enclosures and operable skylights. The company’s enclosures are found in venues around the world including Egypt, Germany, Ukraine and the U.S. DSC_0909

These are just two examples of many Halton export success stories. We are well positioned to tackle markets outside our borders. Halton’s diversified economic base powers the innovation we need to grow and expand our market reach.  Halton truly is an economic hotspot. Our latest employment survey indicated that we now have over 1,000 exporting companies in our region. This includes large exporters such as Ford of Canada, Magna and Roxul Inc., and smaller companies such as L3 WESCAM, whose advanced laser imaging systems are in use around the world. And not only is there potential for our manufacturing firms, but also for our growing and successful service base, which includes Hatch, AMEC and Siemens.

Attracting and retaining jobs is a priority in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Our efforts to assist businesses to establish or expand operations and find new markets through initiatives such as this Forum are paying off.  I invite you to learn more about exporting and how the Halton Region Small Business Centre can help you grow your business.

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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chair’s Corner: Halloween Safety

It didn’t take long for stores to shift their inventory from back to school supplies to festive Halloween decorations, costumes and props. The excitement has been building as families get ready for the fun in a few days’ time, and I want to make sure all of the little minions, vampires, Power Rangers, etc. (and their parents) stay safe and enjoy their trick or treating to the fullest.

At Halton Region, we take safety seriously. Building safe communities with our residents is part of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, and I’m proud that in August—for the fifth consecutive year—Halton Region was named the Safest Region in Canada. I know that record is because of the committed partnership and the great work by the Halton Regional Police Service and the engaged community we have in Halton.

In order to ensure we keep this Halloween safe too, we all need to work together. Please remember if you’re driving to slow down and pay attention. Children will be distracted during their quest for treats, so please take extra caution. Parents, remember to take flashlights or have your children carry glow sticks so they are easy to see. For more ideas, Health Canada also has a number of tips and hints to consider.

Halloween is also a great time for family fun and getting to know your neighbours. Our HaltonParents team of public health nurses often stress the importance of both spending time together as a family and the need for strong communities in raising happy, resilient children. So, enjoy every step from finding or making costumes, to getting dressed up together, and then getting out and talking with your neighbours.

I look forward to hearing the rings from my doorbell this year. I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween.

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.”

Celebration of Life

Last week I had the honour of attending Halton Region’s Celebration of Life awards ceremony.

The Celebration of Life is an event to profile the important life-saving work by Halton’s Paramedic Services, bystanders, and community partners. The event also gave survivorsHalton Paramedic Celebration of Life of medical emergencies a chance to formally meet and thank the paramedics who saved them.

The Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board were presented with community partner awards for their commitment to the health and safety of their students and staff when they installed defibrillators in all their schools. Along with the installation, they trained hundreds of staff and students how to use the defibrillators and how to do CPR.

Bystanders were also honoured for their bravery. Thrust into a crisis situation they acted with selflessness and courage and were commended for their actions.

DSC_4361In Halton Region, we have an exceptional team of paramedics who make a career out of caring for the health and safety of our community.

Halton Regional Council is committed to providing the necessary tools for not only a paramedic service that succeeds, but one that excels.

In the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, there are a number of high profile actions dedicated to paramedic services such as ensuring appropriate response times, opening a northwest Oakville station and continuing to work with the Central Ambulance Communications Centre to optimize the delivery of paramedical services.

Optimization of the delivery of paramedical services is key because as our population grows, so too does the demand for paramedic service.

For Regional Council, that means striking the right balance between meeting community safety needs and managing tax dollars effectively, something we have been able to do with expanding services while not increasing property taxes on Regional programs and services for the past seven years, one of the best records in Canada.

This is evident in the fact that last year Halton Region’s Paramedic Services responded to over 50,000 calls while still meeting our response time targets.

Halton’s paramedics, community partners and bystanders are part of what make Halton Region 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.”

Halton’s 2013 Farm and Food Tour a success

On September 19, I joined elected officials including the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Regional and Local Councillors, members of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee and media in Halton Region’s 33rd Annual Farm Tour, a forum to learn about Halton’s agricultural industry.

Traditionally Halton’s Farm Tour has focused on agricultural operations and the importance of the agricultural sector to Halton’s health and economy. The scope of the tour was broadened this year to highlight other innovative services being offered by Halton’s farms and related tourism operations including on-farm markets that sell food and retail goods, restaurants and greenhouses.

The tour supports two key initiatives in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, including supporting and promoting agriculture and working with partners to bring moreFarm tour3 visitors to Halton.  It also highlights the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms. The knowledge and understanding gained through events such as this tour help ensure we are able to make informed decisions for sustainable and well planned growth in Halton for the next decade and beyond.

The tour gave us a chance to meet with farmers, chefs and business owners in Halton’s agricultural and food services sectors.  This year’s tour included stops at Red Canoe Bistro, Springridge Farm, Mohawk Inn and Chophouse, Marshall’s Real Farmers Market and Store, and DG’s Greenhouses.

At Springridge Farm, owners John and Laura Hughes talked about how listening to theFarm tour 2 consumer has helped their farm become a destination for local food, entertainment, education and fun.  Premier Wynne, who is also Minister of Agriculture, commented on how Halton is successfully bridging the divide between rural and urban communities. 

The tour ended with a keynote address by celebrity chef, Jamie Kennedy and a locally sourced dinner.  Chef Kennedy spoke about his commitment to environmental issues, local food and support for organic agriculture, local producers and traditional methods, noting that he views the farm as an extension of the kitchen.

Farm tour1The tour was organized by the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC), a group of volunteers involved in Halton’s agricultural industry who provide advice to Regional Council on issues related to the industry and its community.  A number of the featured presenters were also participants in the Region’s much celebrated Simply Local – A Guided Tour of Halton Farms program, and the Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  

To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.  To learn more about upcoming events including the Harvest Halton – The Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park on October 6 and Halton’s Pumpkin Trail, visit www.halton.ca/tourism.

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.”