Youth can make a difference!

Craig Kielburger addresses the audience at the Be a Hero awards ceremony.

Several talented Halton youth were recognized at an awards ceremony recently for our annual Be a Hero contest.  The awards ceremony for Be a Hero was held on November 21, 2012 and included Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children and Me to We.  Craig‘s message that “one youth can make a world of difference” nicely complemented the impressive contest submissions that were displayed around the room.  In Halton, our youth are making a difference and their contest submissions demonstrated they understood the importance of affordable housing and how it impacts people in our community.

In Halton, like many other communities in Ontario and Canada, we are building affordable housing units to ensure that individuals and families have access to safe and stable homes. A healthy community requires a range of housing options that meet the needs of all incomes and stages of life.  Youth, single adults, families, seniors, people with disabilities and recent immigrants all face challenges finding housing they can afford. The needs can be hard to see but they do exist. Housing is a complex issue that requires the support and involvement of government, the non-profit sector, the private sector and people in our community.

The top prize for this year’s contest was awarded to a class from Assumption Secondary School in Burlington for a YouTube video entitled “Home.” The class receives $1000 for their submission.  The additional prizes were awarded as follows:

  • 2nd Place – Cheryl Joseph from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for her poem “The Hard Way” ($500)
  • 3rd Place – Kylie Pinder from Nelson High School (Burlington) for her 3D model display “Everyone Deserves a Home” ($250)
  • 4th Place – Mayuri Mahendran from Iroquois Ridge High School (Oakville) for the book “A Place to Call Home” ($100)
  • 5th Place – A group of students from Craig Kielburger Secondary School (Milton) for their YouTube video about a youth struggling to find a home (Andrew Annis, Stephen Groulx-Mustafa, Sarah MacKay and Celena MacMaster) ($100)
  • Be a Hero Spirit Award – Iroquois Ridge High School for the highest number of participants in the contest

I congratulate all the contest participants for helping to raise awareness about the importance of affordable housing in Halton. Halton Region is committed through the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan to providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents in Halton.  To learn more about this and Halton Region’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy visit  www.halton.ca.   To view my video blog about affordable and assisted housing, visit www.halton.ca/housingvideo.

YouTube videos submitted to this year’s contest are posted on the Be a Hero YouTube channel which can be accessed through www.halton.ca/beahero.

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.”

All students are winners at Be a Hero awards

Affordable housing is an important issue for everyone in our community.  Each fall, high school students from across Halton dedicate their time and talent to raising awareness about this important issue by submitting artwork to the Be a Hero.& Be a Voice for Affordable Housing contest. The winners of this year’s awards were recognized at an awards ceremony held on November 22 at the Burlington Convention Centre. Over 160 people were in attendance to celebrate the achievements of all the students who participated in the contest.

For the second year in a row, students from Acton District High School won the Gold award in the contest. Corbin Resch, Erika Stokes and Jonathan van Oosten from Acton District High School took home the gold award of $1000 for their creative design of an affordable, accessible and eco-friendly high rise.

Victoria Noble from Gary Allan High School (S.T.E.P program) in Burlington received the silver award of $500 for her powerful and moving poem “Temporary Home.” Four bronze awards of $100 each were also handed out to: Natalie Barrera from St. Ignatius of Loyola Secondary School in Oakville, Nicole Curtis from Milton District High School in Milton, T.J Priolo from Gary Allan High School in Burlington, and Stella Lee from Appleby College in Oakville. View photos of the award winners.

The artwork students submitted for this contest demonstrates that Halton youth recognize that affordable housing is an integral part of a healthy and sustainable community. I am proud of all the students who have participated in the Be a Hero contest and thank them for the work they have done to increase awareness about the need for more affordable housing in our community.

Halton Region is committed through the Citizens’ Priorities – Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan to providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents in 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.”

Regional Accomplishments: October – December 2010

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 fourth quarter of 2010.

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

  • Successful social media pilot in Economic Development and Health
    Halton Region launched two social media campaigns in late summer/early fall to better support two different communities: business owners and parents.

    Halton Region enterprises can now follow Halton Economic Development and the Small Business Centre on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress Blog.

    Launched in August 2010, Halton Economic Development’s social media campaign allows businesses, clients, and partners to connect with each other in a new online environment for relevant and frequent news, tips, expert advice, information about the Centre’s services, resources, upcoming events, and more.

    Since its launch, Halton’s Economic Development social media campaign has had a very positive response. Through online and print efforts, Economic Development’s social media pages have hundreds of followers and fans, and reach thousands in the community.

    On September 20, 2010, parents in Halton Region began following “HaltonParents” on twitter and reading the parenting blog. A joint initiative between the Health and Social and Community Services departments, staff from both areas have taken their parenting supports online: providing support, tips, community event information, and the latest news related to pregnancy and parenting – from the early days with infants to raising teenagers.

    Blog posts are written by professionals across the Region and the local community, with topics that reflect the whole parenting journey – from toilet training to bullying and more.

    This online community is growing quickly as moms, dads, and community partners share their stories and interact with our Public Health Nurses and Child Development staff every day.

  • Healthy Smiles Ontario Launch
    October 1, 2010 marked the launch of the Healthy Smiles Ontario External Link (HSO) program in Ontario. HSO is designed to provide no-cost, preventive oral health care to low-income children and youth 17 years of age and under. The program will help to prevent the development of painful, urgent, and possibly costly oral health problems as children grow. The program is currently being promoted in Halton Region through collaboration with community partners that service low-income families. For more information about how HSO is being implemented in Halton check Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) – Halton Region.
  • Ron Joyce Centre Opening
    The official opening of the Ron Joyce Centre for McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business External Linktook place on October 7. The centre, located on the South Service Road, west of Appleby Line in Burlington, is home to McMaster’s MBA and executive education programs.
  • Unified Command Incident Management System
    In October, management staff from Emergency Medical Services (EMS) participated in Unified Command Incident Management System training with colleagues from the Halton Regional Police Service and the four local municipal fire services.  
    In November, EMS staff participated in a large-scale emergency planning exercise to test the unified command model. This model is intended to support a coordinated response from all three emergency services to any emergency.
  • Footsteps for Trees 2010: Halton Region’s Annual Corporate Wellness Challenge
    Last October, Halton Region’s Wellness Committee invited Regional staff to get active for their own health and the health of our ecosystem. The committee encouraged staff to form a team, and walk, run, bike, or swim, and then track their teams’ progress. As an added bonus, each time the equivalent of 10,000 steps was reached (about three hours of walking), Conservation Halton agreed to plant a tree to improve watershed health as part of the Footsteps for Trees External Linkprogram. A total of 36 teams registered, with 216 participants all achieving 10, 000 steps. Conservation Halton will plant 216 trees on the Region’s behalf this spring.
  • School Tours
    Over 400 grade five students from nine schools across Halton attended the Region’s annual school tour program in October and November. The students learned about various aspects of municipal government and enjoyed tours of Halton Regional Police Service headquarters and Halton Region’s waste management site.
  • Improving Appleby Line
    To help ease congestion at Appleby Line and Dundas Street (Regional Road 5), there has been a lot of construction while crews widen Appleby Lineto six lanes from Taywood Drive to Hwy. 407 and widen Dundas Street to six lanes from the CN overpass to the Walmart entrance. While most of the construction is on hold for the winter, the $15.5 million project is so far on time and on budget and is expected to be completed this fall. Thank you to everyone who drives in that area for your continued patience while we work to improve our Regional Road network to make getting around Halton easier for all of us.
  • Tools for Schools
    Tools for Schools is a resource kit that was developed to help teachers and students access air quality and climate change data and information. This resource was distributed to all Halton schools and community libraries in the latter part of 2010, and has been made available on Halton Region’s website.
    The pages in the resource kit are intended to increase student awareness and understanding of the impact of air pollution and climate change on human health. The kit also links to the Region’s air monitoring dataas an important learning tool. 
  • Developmental Assets training for Police
    Youth Health Team Public Health Nurses (PHNs) delivered training sessions to approximately 900 Halton Region Police Services police officers, management, and civilian staff on teen brain development, communicating with youth, and building developmental assets, which are key protective factors against drug and alcohol use, and criminal activity among youth. A Youth Health Team PHN has been invited to deliver similar sessions as part of an Ontario Police College training pilot in February 2011. This initiative has resulted in numerous consultations and referral information provided to Police Services staff, and enhanced collaboration between police and public health nurses. For more information on developmental asset check: www.search-institute.org External Link
  • Accessible Bathing Program- Adult day program
    The Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network External Link (LHIN) approved one time funding in 2010 to renovate space to provide enhanced bathing services to the clients of Milton Adult Day Programs. The day program, in partnership with the Community Care Access Center (CCAC) offers a daily bathing program to accommodate participants who are no longer able to access a bath or shower at home.   

    The renovations included installation of a new accessible whirlpool tub and lift and an expanded shower area that provides easier access to our senior clients. In addition to aesthetic improvements, a raised toilet and enhanced lighting was installed to maximize usage and provide better care.

  • Physician Recruitment program on track
    Halton Region’s Physician Recruitment program focuses on family medicine physician recruitment, ensuring the delivery of effective health services to Halton residents today and in the future. The program has attracted and retained an impressive number of physicians. Since 2003, the program has helped bring over 130 new family doctors to Halton, including over 20 physicians in the past year. In addition, several family physicians have been recruited to cover long-term locums, such as maternity leaves, and several other new family physicians have established part-time practices in the area. The Physician Recruitment Coordinator also assists local hospitals with their specialist recruitment efforts, including Emergency Room Physicians and Hospitalists, as well as Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Psychiatrists, Neurologists and Anaesthesiologists. The program continues to support the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre family medicine teaching unit, which opened in May 2010. The Centre will have six family medicine residents in July 2011, with an anticipated 10 to 12 in subsequent years. To see a list of newly recruited doctors who are accepting patients across Halton, visit http://www.halton.ca/cms/one.aspx?portalId=8310&pageId=15476.
  • New Public Health Clinic Opens in Oakville
    The Halton Region Health Department opened a new public health clinic in Oakville on November 15, 2010. The clinic, named Health@232, offers sexual health clinic services, by appointment and drop in, and needle exchange services. Health@232 also hosts the Stop Smoking Clinic, which began on December 9, and an Oral Health Assessment Clinic, which began on December 10. Both the Stop Smoking and Oral Health Assessment Clinics are by appointment only.
  • Be a Hero Contest
    The winners of the fourth annual Be a Hero. Be a Voice for Affordable Housing contestwere honoured at an awards ceremony on Thursday, November 18. More than 110 high school students, parents, teachers, and residents gathered together to celebrate the top creative submissions which each demonstrated the importance and the need for affordable housing in Halton.
  • Halton Leadership Summit on Poverty Reduction
    Over 100 people including individuals who have lived with or are living in povertyhelped lead the discussion of representatives from government, the non-profit sector, community agencies, school boards, the business community and local elected officials at a Leadership Summit on Poverty Reduction held at Halton Region on Monday, November 22, 2010. Participants concluded the day by committing to form a multi-sector community task group to develop a poverty reduction plan for Halton. The summit was organized by Habitat for Humanity, Halton Community Legal Services, Halton Region, Community Development Halton, The Community Foundation of Oakville, The Burlington Community Foundation, and the United Ways of Burlington, Greater Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville.  
  • Community Emergency Notification Service (CENS)
    A successful test of the Community Emergency Notification Service (CENS) was conducted on the morning of November 25, 2010 as part of Halton Region’s Emergency Exercise “Aqua.” CENS is an automated emergency telephone call-out service that can be used in the event of an emergency or a situation which poses a danger to public safety anywhere in Halton. CENS allows emergency personnel to quickly let affected residents know of incidents and provide them with appropriate information on actions that they may need to take. During the test, CENS was used to contact residents in a subdivision of approximately 420 homes in Ward 4, Burlington. Residents were notified in advance that they would be part of the test and were asked to participate. Learn more about the Region’s emergency preparedness activities at www.halton.ca/beprepared.
  • Improving roads in Milton helps Build a Better Halton
    A busy construction season in Milton created both new and widened roads to help improve traffic flow through the Town. In November, a newly completed two-lane portion of James Snow Parkway (Regional Road 4) between Louis St. Laurent Avenue and Britannia Road (Regional Road 6), extended James Snow Parkway all the way from Steeles Avenue (Regional Road 8) to Britannia Road.

    Roadwork widening Derry Road (Regional Road 7) between Tremaine Road (Regional Road 22) and Bronte Street was also completed so that Derry Road is four lanes from Tremaine Road to Ninth Line.

    Halton is also working on widening Tremaine Roadfrom two to four lanes between Derry Road and Main Street, which will also include the Region’s first roundabout intersection at Tremaine Road and Main Street.

  • Continuing to be leaders in engaging our residents
    In November, as part of Halton’s strategic planning process, we undertook an innovative public consultation process to garner resident input on what matters to them.
    Through a civic lottery that involved mailing out 10,000 letters inviting residents from across Halton to participate in the Region’s first Citizens’ Reference Panel, a group of 36 people balanced for age, gender and location was created. The Panel’s insights, along with input from the broader community, will help Halton Regional Council develop a new strategic work plan and set out priorities for the next four years. We have been leaders in implementing new initiatives and tools, such as the webcasting of Council meetings and the Citizens’ Reference Panel is another example of our ongoing commitment to engaging the community. To learn more or get involved, please visit http://www.halton.ca/strategicworkplan.
  • Continuing to be the safest region in Canada
    In November, for the third year in a row, Maclean’s magazine External Linknamed Halton Region the Safest Place to Live in the Greater Toronto Area and the Safest Regional Municipality in Canada. Maclean’s based its ranking on aggregate results of the Statistics Canada 2009 per capita crime rates and Crime Severity Index (CSI) scores in six personal and property crimes: homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, auto theft, robbery, and breaking and entering.
  • Inauguration of 2010-2014 Regional Council
    The inaugural ceremony was held on December 8, at the Halton Regional Centre in Oakville. Members of Halton Regional Council were sworn in for the 2010-2014 term of office. The Honourable Mr. Justice C. William Hourigan presided over the Declarations of Office. The Right Reverend Michael A. Bird, Bishop of Niagara, delivered the invocation. In my inaugural address, I spoke about continuing our work on the themes of infrastructure, taxes and the environment while setting direction for a new citizen engagement strategy and the development of a strategic plan for the upcoming term of Council. I also introduced the need for a Halton Region tax freeze for Regional programs and services for the 2011 budget.