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.

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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.

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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.”

Air Quality (video)


Chair Carr’s YouTube channel Youtube logo

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.”

Climate change champions

Last February, as part of Halton Region’s air quality health promotion program, we asked residents to tell us why they were climate change champions. While we received a number of excellent entries, Brenda and Blake Poland’s submission was the clear winner.

The Polands, who live in Oakville, have definitely taken steps to reduce their impact on the environment. They have done everything from reducing their energy on the road by driving energy efficient vehicles and using active transportation for shorter trips, to installing a geothermal energy system and solar panels on their home. In fact, the Polands have come up with more than 55 ways External Link to cut their energy consumption at home and on the road.

Halton Region's Climate Change Champion Contest winners Blake and Brenda Poland with DailyWebTV host Tracy Bezeau
As Grand Prize winners in Halton’s Climate Change Champion contest, the Polands will star in a Climate Change Champion video, the fifth in a series, which will be aired on Daily Web TV External Link later this fall. The grand prize package also included a Home Energy Assessment, an Energy Efficiency Home Starter
Halton Region's Climate Change Champion Contest winners Blake and Brenda Poland standing beside a car Kit, a Halton Hikes Trail Guide External Link and Pedometer, a Family Pass to the Halton Region Museum, a copy of the 20/20 Home Energy Planner and a copy of the children’s book A Farewell to Featherwagons.

Brenda Taggart from Burlington and Deanne Mousseau from Oakville, were the secondary prize winners. They each received a prize package including a Home Energy Assessment, Halton Hikes Trail Guide, Family Pass to the Halton Region Museum, and the 20/20 Home Energy Planner.

Halton’s air quality campaign supports the Region’s priority to report and assess the impacts of air pollution on human health in the region. It includes four short videos which aired on Daily Web TV this spring – Energy Reduction at Home External Link, Energy Reduction on the Road External Link, Active Transportation External Link, and Air Quality and Your Health External Link – and all featured climate change champions employed by the Region. The Grand Prize winning entry video will be the first to feature a member of the community.

In addition to education and awareness, Halton Region’s air quality program includes airshed modeling, air monitoring, policy development and planning application reviews.

Climate change is a public health issue and challenge we all must all work together to address. Through initiatives such as this campaign, our air quality program, waste management diversion efforts, corporate initiatives to reduce energy consumption and other related initiatives, Halton Region is tackling the issue head on to ensure that Halton is sustainable for residents today and in the future.

We also want to engage you in climate change action. You can take steps today to begin to reduce your carbon footprint

Visit www.halton.ca/airqualityto learn more about the campaign, watch the climate change champion video series and learn how saving energy is good for air quality, your health and the climate or dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833

 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.”

Regional Accomplishments: April – June 2011

 

Every day, Halton Region works to provide residents and businesses with valuable programs and services. From affordable housing and public health; to business development and emergency management; from waste collection to water/wastewater treatment, we are committed to delivering our programs and services in a cost-effective and easily accessible manner.

I am pleased to share with you some of Halton Region’s major accomplishments for the 2nd quarter of 2011.

If you have any concerns or comments, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca.

  • Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan Approved by Council

    On June 22, 2011, Halton Regional Council approved The Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan which sets out Council’s work plan and agenda for the next four years. Included in the Action Plan are 25 priority areas ranging from fiscal responsibility, planning sustainable communities, protecting public health and public engagement, as well as measurable key initiatives and key actions. The plan serves as a framework for decisions on fiscal, policy and operational matters and forms the foundation to effectively align the priorities established within the Region’s budget and business plan.

    Halton Regional Council undertook a uniquely different approach to developing its Action Plan by ensuring citizens and stakeholders were given the opportunity to have their say. Some of the ways community members shared their thoughts included a telephone survey and focus groups, Halton’s first ever Citizens’ Reference Panel and a public roundtable meeting.

  • Implementation of Building a Better Halton

    Construction to improve Halton’s Regional transportation system and address the Region’s infrastructure needs continued throughout the spring, including:

    • Bronte Road Reconstruction

      Construction work to widen Bronte Road (Regional Road 25) from two lanes to four lanes between North Service Road and Upper Middle Road in Oakville was completed in June. The remaining landscaping will be completed in fall 2011. The extra lanes will help ease traffic congestion.

    • Improving Derry Road

      Construction work to widen Derry Road (Regional Road 7) from two lanes to four lanes between Tremaine Road (Regional Road 22) and Bronte Street in the Town of Milton was completed in June. The additional lanes will help ease traffic congestion and the multi-use pathways and on-street bicycle lanes will connect pedestrians and cyclists to local shopping and amenities.

    • Improving Tremaine Road

      Construction work to widen Tremaine Road from two lanes to four lanes between Derry Road and Main Street in Milton is continuing through the summer. This project is being financed in part through the Federal and Provincial Stimulus Program and includes Halton’s first roundabout. The new circular intersection, located at Tremaine Road and Main Street, is scheduled for completion at the end of July 2011, and will help improve road safety and manage increased traffic demand. Learn more about roundabouts.

      Thank you to everyone for your continued patience while we work to improve our Regional road network and make getting around Halton easier for all of us.

  • Dundas Street Bus Rapid Transit

    Halton Region held a Public Information Centre for residents on June 23 regarding a Corridor Study being undertaken to consider improvements on Dundas Street from Brant Street (Regional Road 18) to Trafalgar Road (Regional Road 3) within Burlington and Oakville, The Study includes consideration of the opportunity to implement Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) within the corridor.

    The Dundas Street Corridor plays an important role in the movement of people and goods through the region, and the Corridor Study is looking at opportunities to develop improvements that will provide people living or working in Halton Region with alternatives to automotive travel. This study also provides an opportunity to examine ways to enhance Dundas Street as an attractive corridor for pedestrians and cyclists.

    The Public Information Centre provided an opportunity for residents, businesses and other interested individuals to review work completed to date and have input into the study process. Public consultation is an important part of this study and further consultation is expected this fall.

  • Niagara to GTA Corridor

    Halton Region has spent many months successfully working with the City of Burlington and other community groups to lobby against the Niagara to GTA Corridor.  On July 26, the Minister of Transportation confirmed that the Province will not proceed with the Niagara to GTA Corridor through Burlington.   

  • Physician Recruitment/Physician Appreciation

    Halton Region partnered with the Doctors’ Hockey Club and the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton Halton to sponsor the Docs on Ice External Link charitable hockey tournament as part of its physician recruitment program. Held in Oakville, April 7 – 9, 2011, the tournament raised a record $150,000 for the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton Halton and brought more than 800 physicians and 100 Medical Students to Oakville for the weekend.

    To pay tribute to the dedication and support of Halton’s physicians, local hospitals hosted morning coffee events during physician appreciation week, the first week of May. Additionally, on May 5, over 200 local physicians attended a networking event hosted by Halton Region, with support from local sponsors.

  • Economic Development Strategy – Business Community Workshops

    Halton Region is developing a new 10-year Economic Development Strategy. Phase One saw the development of a White Paper that provided an overview of Halton’s economy, labour force and demography, development trends, taxable assessment trends and the importance of business growth, industry cluster analysis, and broader economic trends. In Phase Two, Millier Dickinson Blais and Queen’s School of Business led two Halton Business Community Workshops in Oakville and Milton to engage a select group of Local and Regional government representatives, business leaders, and community stakeholders from across Halton and the Greater Toronto Area on Halton’s economic priorities.  The results of these discussions and other stakeholder consultations will be incorporated into a formal Strategic Directions Report, to be issued this fall.

  • CPR Research

    Starting in June, Halton Region EMS paramedics will be participating in an approximately two-year long research study to compare the benefits of standard cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with a modified version of CPR that involves continuous chest compressions.  This research study is being conducted through the  Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC), which is a large North American study coordinated through the University of Washington.  Locally the study is being coordinated by Rescu at the University of Toronto/St. Michaels Hospital.  The study consists of 10 clinical centers in Canada and the United States.   

  • New Paramedics

    14 new paramedics completed a comprehensive four-week orientation session during the month of May and are now working in the community.  

  • Children’s Picture Book Launched

    A Farewell to Featherwagons, the first illustrated children’s picture book produced by the Halton Region Health Department, was launched on Clean Air Day, June 8, 2011 with a reading at Sedgewick Crescent Child Care Centre in Oakville. The book was published in May as part of the air quality education and awareness raising program, and is intended to introduce young readers to air quality and climate change themes to inspire earth-friendly living at an early age. The book is being distributed to libraries, schools, and childcare centres (in the form of a storytelling kit, with related resources). For more information: www.halton.ca/featherwagons.

  • Air Quality

    The Health Department has completed two more studies related to air quality in Halton Region. The first study used an airshed model to assess the impact on human health from air pollution due to local sources versus air pollution from outside the region. The airshed model will be a useful tool to help inform decisions as the Region plans for significant growth out to 2031. The second study reports on air quality in Halton Region for the calendar year 2010. This is the second annual air quality in Halton report. Both reports are available at www.halton.ca/airquality.

  • Oral Health Supporting Innovative Knowledge Exchange

    In the second quarter, the Oral Health program participated in an evaluation of the reach of a series of webinars that they provide in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Seniors Health Research Transfer Network External Link (SHRTN), Oral  Health Community of Practice.  Oral Health co-leads the Community of Practice by providing the webinars that focus on seniors’ oral health and are presented online, audio-recorded and uploaded to the SHRTN website http://beta.shrtn.on.ca/nodes/shrtn-ke/cop/content/11senior External Link for broader access.  The reach of these webinars has exceeded our expectations with nearly 1,300 people participating to date, with the majority registering from Ontario, and others joining from across the United States and around the globe.

  • HaltonParents: 1,000+ Twitter followers and growing

    On May 10, the HaltonParents social media initiative reached a milestone: 1,000 followers on Twitter. HaltonParents offers quality, evidence-based information in an informal forum, for residents at any stage of their parenting journey: pregnant with their first child, or raising their third teenager. Parents can connect directly with a group of Public Health Nurses and Child Development staff who are tweeting and writing blogs about all things parenting. With the growing number of followers on Twitter and more than 2,300 readers of the blog in May alone, the social media communications channel is hitting the mark with local parents, community organizations, and others across Canada and the world.

  • Breastfeeding Symposium

    On June 20, Halton Region hosted The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC) National Symposium, which featured key note speaker Randa Jarudi Saadeh, Coordinator and senior scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) Nutrition Department, and David Morley, Director of UNICEF Canada. In a panel presentation, Halton’s Baby Friendly (BFI) Coalition, including two Early Years Health staff from the Halton Region Health Department (HRHD), presented the Halton community BFI journey, including the HRHD’s BFI Accreditation.

  • Employment Halton exceeds annual service targets

    Employment Halton is a new service offered by Halton Region that provides a comprehensive range of programs and services including Employment Ontario (EO) External Link to job seekers and employers in Halton. Funding for this program is provided by the Ontario Government. The funding agreement with the Province sets a number of service targets that Employment Halton must achieve annually. These targets require Employment Halton to provide the Employment Ontario program to at least 200 individuals and to help 79% of EO participants complete the program by obtaining employment, training and/or education.

    Staff are pleased to report that in the first eleven months of operation, Employment Halton has exceeded the service intake target by 270 per cent.  In addition over 90 per cent of people accessing Employment Ontario services have left the program due to employment, training and/or education.

  • Online Application for Social Assistance

    Halton Region was selected by the Province to pilot the Online Application for Social Assistance External Link. The online portal was successfully launched on April 12, 2011 affording Halton residents the ability to apply in both official languages for the Ontario Works program from any computer equipped with an internet connection, 24-hours a day, seven-days a week.

    Halton’s experience in implementing this cutting-edge technology proved to be very valuable for our municipal and provincial colleagues as we assisted them to prepare for the province-wide launch in mid-May. This launch saw the use of the portal expanded to include applications for each of the four social assistance programs in the province. Halton Region was officially recognized by the Province for the significant role we played in making the launch a success.

  • ESAC Age-Friendly Communities Forum

    On June 2, Halton Region’s Elder Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) hosted an Age-Friendly Communities Forum. The forum presented outcomes of the research conducted by ESAC in 2010. This research, based on the World Health Organization model includes transportation, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, community involvement and community support and health services as key elements of an age-friendly environment.

    Citizens and representatives from the private, non-profit and public sectors discussed the opportunities and explored actions that would build on current initiatives and improve the quality of life for seniors.

    Nearly 100 percent of the participants felt the workshop enhanced their knowledge of issues related to older adults and 87 per cent indicated that they will work with another person or agency on an action as a result of the forum. Further information can be viewed at www.halton.ca/esac .

  • Dragon Boat Fundraising Event

    With the support of the Lively Dragon Club, the Halton Region Adult Day Program and Allendale Long-Term Care Home, raised over $7,500 to enhance the lives of clients and residents.  The race was held on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at Kelso Lake. For the last eight years, the Lively Dragon External Link has chosen the Services for Seniors department as their ‘Charity of Choice’ and through this effort over $75,000 has been raised to date. The Adult Day Program and Allendale teams who participated in the race consisted of staff, volunteers, family and friends. Each team competed in three races throughout the day.  Congratulations to the Day Program team ‘Greased Lightning’ who walked away with first place medals for their heat!

  • Supports for Daily Living

    On June 7, 2011 The Supports for Daily Living (SDL) program received recognition with the prestigious 3M National Health Care Quality Team Award. The award encourages and recognizes innovation in health services by linking two important concepts: quality and teams. 

    SDL is an innovative regional service delivery model targeting high-needs seniors who want and are able to continue living in their own home through access to supports over a 24-hour period.  Halton Region is a provider of SDL along with MICBA Forum Italia Community Services, Nucleus Independent Living, Oakville Senior Citizens Residence, Ontario March of Dimes, Peel Senior Link, Victorian Order of Nurses and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.

    SDL bridges the gap between scheduled homecare visits and long-term care and addresses the issue of nursing home waits in Ontario. It has had proven success in developing alternative living options in the community and reducing hospital stays for seniors.  

  • New Bathing Program at Bonnie Place

    In April 2011, the Supportive Housing Program at Bonnie Place began a therapeutic bathing program.  Bonnie Place II opened its doors in March 2010. Among many of the building’s new features is a therapeutic tub room. This room is wheelchair accessible and is equipped with a walk-in shower and whirlpool tub.

    Currently, the service is offered two mornings a week. Participants must be a client of Supportive Housing and have a signed permission slip from their doctor to participate. Priority is given to those senior clients who score moderate to high for pain on their the Community Health Assessment as well as clients who suffer from anxiety and who show improvement as a result of their tub experience.  An evaluation of the bathing experience is currently underway.

  • Winners of 2011 Regional Chair’s Environmental Awards inspire change and a greener Halton

    The winners of the Regional Chair’s Environmental Awards were announced at a special breakfast event held on April 21, 2011 that inspired those in attendance to make a difference in their community and across the world. Approximately 400 people attended the Halton Regional Chair’s Breakfast on the Environment at the Burlington Convention Centre which featured Canadian adventurer, environmentalist and educator Geoff Green as the keynote speaker. Jessica Tarka from Christ the King Catholic Secondary School in Georgetown was the first recipient of the Halton Environment Leadership Award.  Seven students received Scholarship Awards and 18 young people and student clubs received Environmental Excellence Awards.

Celebrating and protecting our natural environment – with Barn Owls!

In Halton Region, we enjoy a beautiful natural environment. Last month, in celebration of Clean Air Day on June 8, the Halton Region Health Department launched a new children’s book, A Farewell to Featherwagons, with a public reading to students by Jeanne Wilson, a teacher at Sedgewick Crescent Child Care Centre in Oakville.   

The book showcases local wildlife, the Escarpment and our lakes and creeks, to educate and entertain young readers and their families. Written by Halton Region Environmental Health Specialist Beckie Jas and illustrated by freelance artist Brandon Koepke, the book tells the story of three barn owls who enjoy spending time at the Great Lake. When traffic, bad air and storms begin to spoil their plans, they begin to think about how their “featherwagon” contributes to air pollution and climate change. The owls discover a better way to get to the Lake—using their wings to fly.  

Jeanne Wilson, a teacher at Sedgewick Crescent Child Care Centre in Oakville reading to children.The picture book is part of Halton’s Air Quality/Climate Change Health Promotion Program meant to educate the public about the health impacts associated with air quality and climate change, and the actions we can take to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases. The book includes facts on Barn Owls and air quality and climate change, plus tips on how to make a difference. It was developed in consultation with experts on air quality, climate change, and physical activity—in addition to a raptor specialist, literacy consultant, and professional illustrator.

Copies of the publication, along with a complementary Storytelling Kit, have been provided to public libraries External Link. Over the next few months, they will also be distributed to child care centres, schools, and community partners. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

I invite you to check out this new resource at www.halton.ca/featherwagons. The first 50 people to complete an online evaluation will receive a free copy of the book.

A Farewell to Featherwagons We all have an important role to play in protecting the environment. This resource provides tips on how to make a difference for readers of all ages.

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.”

Are you a climate change champion? Learn more and take action!

Halton Region’s air quality health promotion campaign aims to educate Halton residents about the links between air quality, climate change and human health, and the steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.

This initiative encourages us to reduce our energy use at home and on the road, and to use the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to help plan outdoor activities. The campaign is part of Halton Region’s air quality program which aims to protect and enhance Halton’s air quality and protect Halton residents’ health.

The campaign includes four short videos – Energy Reduction at Home External Link, Energy Reduction on the Road External Link, Active Transportation External Link, Air Quality and Your Health External Link – which have aired on Daily Web TV External Link over the past six months.

The campaign also features a contest open to Halton residents over the age of 18. The contest winner will have the opportunity to star in a Climate Change Champion Video, to be aired on Daily Web TV this fall. The grand prize package also includes a Home Energy Assessment, an Energy Efficiency Home Starter Kit, a copy of Halton Hikes Trail Guide and a Pedometer, a Family Pass to the Halton Region Museum and a copy of the 20/20 Home Energy Planner.

To enter the contest External Link, in a short essay (500 words or less) tell us why you are climate change champions and describe what you or your family is doing at home and on the road to reduce energy and improve air quality. The contest closes Thursday, June 30, 2011. Visit www.halton.ca/airquality or Daily WebTV External Link to submit your entry.

In addition to education and raising awareness, Halton Region’s air quality program includes airshed modeling, air monitoring, policy development and review of  planning applications. To introduce issues associated with air quality and climate change to younger audiences, the Health Department just published A Farewell to Featherwagons, an illustrated children’s picture book, for children aged four to eight.  The book is being distributed to schools, day care centres and libraries in Halton.

Visit www.halton.ca/airquality to learn more or dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833.

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.”