Saving money and the environment through corporate sustainability

Halton Region is committed to working together with residents, businesses and our Local Municipalities to make sure we can meet the needs of Halton today and in the future. Residents have indicated that protecting the natural environment is a top priority, and Regional Council is focused on making positive changes to help minimize our impact on climate change.

In the 2011-2014 Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, residents included Corporate Sustainability as a priority area for Halton. In response, Halton staff developed a Corporate Sustainability Action Plan which is used to provide guidance and support for some of our programs and services to ensure we consider sustainability in all we do.

The Action Plan includes focusing on:

  •          Corporate Facilities and Land Management by implementing green building practices in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of Halton Regional facilities;
  •          Transportation and Fleet Management by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants associated with transportation;
  •          Corporate Energy Management by reducing corporate energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while participating in energy conservation programs;
  •          Water Conservation and Waste Management by reducing water consumption and increasing waste diversion at corporate facilities and from Regional projects;
  •          Green Procurement by including sustainable practices and products for bid calls and future contracts of goods and services; and
  •          A culture of sustainability by promoting sustainability awareness among staff and reducing paper use, including paperless Council meetings.

But we can’t do it alone and that’s why Halton’s commitment to sustainability extends past our corporate operations. Whether we’re planning how our communities will grow while protecting our natural heritage systems, creating water efficiency programs or introducing sustainable waste management practices, our local actions make a difference and help keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For example, Halton’s landfill was originally planned to close in 2012. Thanks to the diversion efforts of our residents, the landfill life has been extended to 2044. With a replacement cost running up to $1 billion, this commitment to increasing diversion not only benefits our natural environment, it’s also good for Halton’s taxpayer.

Halton also makes it easier for you to make sustainable choices while on the road. Carpooling is something that not only saves you time and money, it also helps to remove pollutants from our air. With every carpool having the potential to take at least one car off the road, it’s a smart alternative and that’s why Halton has partnered with Metrolinx through the Smart Commute Halton program. Working together, we’re making it easy for you and your company to have sustainable transportation options.

We’re committed to making it easy for you to make sustainable choice in your home, on the road and in your community. Working together we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment. If you would like to learn more about Halton Region’s sustainability initiatives, please visit www.halton.ca/sustainability.

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.”

Connecting renters and landlords to housing supports!

Halton is a great place to live and a safe and healthy community is essential to a high quality of life.  Access to affordable housing is important and ensuring supports are in place to help people meet their housing needs is a priority for Halton Region.  Halton Housing Help is a new service that provides a central access point to housing supports and services in Halton. We offer services for people searching for affordable housing as well as supports to landlords to help them fill rental vacancies and resolve tenant issues.  This is one more avenue that we are working to ensure that Halton residents enjoy a high quality of life and we are confident that the combination of online resources, telephone and one-to-one support will help individuals achieve this.  

You can connect with Halton Housing Help one of three ways.  

  • Online by visiting www.halton.ca/housinghelp to access resources and links to housing supports in Halton including a free rental listing service.
  • You can also dial 311 to speak with Halton Housing Help staff to ask questions about housing programs in Halton.
  • If you have complex housing needs that require more intensive support, you can dial 311 to book an appointment to meet in-person with our intensive housing case manager.  One-to-one support is offered in a different municipality each day of the week. 

The establishment of housing help supports is an action in the Citizen’s Priorities – Halton Region’s Action Plan for 2011 – 2014 and an initiative identified in our recently updated Comprehensive Housing Strategy.  To access Halton Housing Help visit www.halton.ca/housinghelp or dial 311.

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.”

State of the Region

Halton is a great place to live and Regional Council is committed to making fiscally, responsible decisions that ensure we can provide high quality services that contribute to your quality of life.  Earlier this month, Regional Council approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan and for the fourth time in eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014), we were able to reduce property taxes on Regional programs and services while maintaining and enhancing service levels.  Over the past eight years, we have either reduced or frozen taxes, this is an incredible achievement.  We are one of the few municipalities in Canada that has been able to reduce taxes.  Since becoming Regional Chair in 2006, my focus, along with my colleagues in Council, has been on policies that ensure Halton is resident focused; well planned; and safe and healthy with minimal impact on your pocketbook, as a Regional taxpayer. 

There are a number of important achievements in 2013 that will support and guide us in the years ahead.  With our AAA credit rating and reduction in taxes we are attracting jobs and investment to the region.  We are also making significant investments in infrastructure to ensure we have the waste management, water and road infrastructure in place to meet the needs of our growing community.

Great things are happening in Halton and my latest video blog highlights some of the achievements of the past year.  Join me on a walk through Halton as I share with you my thoughts on the State of the Region.

 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.”

Council Approves 0.4 per cent property tax reduction for 2014 budget

I am pleased to let you know that Regional Council has approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan marking the fourth time in the last eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014) that Halton Region has achieved a property tax reduction for Regional tax supported programs and services.  Halton Region has one of the best records in Canada for keeping taxes low while maintaining and enhancing service levels.

This is great news for residents and businesses in Halton.  We are one of the few municipalities in all of Canada that has actually reduced taxes. By maintaining our AAA credit rating and keeping our taxes low we ensure Halton is competitive which attracts jobs and investment to our community.

Halton is a great place to live.  Residents want high quality services and low taxes. We have been able to maintain and enhance service levels without increasing taxes.

You can view the 2014 Budget and Business Plan online.  Here are some highlights of key investments in the 2014 budget:

  • $177 million in transportation capital investment
  • $405,000 to create additional child care subsidies
  • $721,000 to maintain service levels for waste management services
  • $300,000 to increase the number of SPLIT passes available in the community (subsidy for bus passes for low income residents)
  • $65,000 to support the development of an Agri-tourism Program to attract more tourism to Halton’s rural communities
  • $195,000 for Locates (Ontario One Call) a new underground infrastructure notification system
  • $600,000 to support initiatives outlined in the Comprehensive Housing Strategy
  • $320,000 for assisted housing programs including continued implementation of subsidies for low income residents

Halton Region’s strong fiscal management policies ensure we can deliver high quality services for our residents.  Our AAA credit rating demonstrates to our taxpayers and the business community Council’s commitment to fiscally responsible decision making.  A AAA rating and a reduction in taxes attracts companies like Target, Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets and Gypsum Technologies Inc. making Halton a hotspot for business. 

The 2014 Budget and Business Plan is available online as is the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan which highlights fiscal responsibility and attracting and retaining jobs as key priorities. My video blog on Attracting and Retaining Jobs provides additional information with highlights on Halton Region’s 10 Year Economic Development Strategy.  

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.”

Celebrate the season!

Searching for a new festive season tradition? This December, discover Halton! From outdoor adventures to special events at our museums, theatres and other community organizations, fine dining, shopping and much more, Halton is the perfect community for your winter “staycation”.

Taking the time to explore your own community has plenty of benefits. You have the chance to discover hidden treasures in your own backyard, at your own pace, without the stress of booking hotels, plane tickets, packing and everything else that goes along with travel vacations.  Vacationing at home is more cost effective and since it doesn’t involve air travel, is environmentally friendly.

Here is just a small sample of what awaits you in Halton this holiday season.

In Burlington

  • Celebrate winter at RBG with Holiday Traditions, RBG’s annual holiday season event featuring Canada’s best all-botanical model train installation. Every weekend, enjoy musical entertainment, local school and adult choirs, and light and model train displays. While you are there, take the kids to visit with a traditional Santa. This event runs until January 5, 2014.blog

 

  • Take in a live performance. The Burlington Performing Arts Centre has many shows to choose from, including the Nutcracker, John McDermott, and even the Ed Sullivan Show, to name just a few.  Or if you are looking for a free activity the whole family can enjoy, head over to Spencer Smith Park for a skate.

In Halton Hills

  • Avoid border crossing delays — plan a shopping trip to Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills. You’ll find an exciting collection of 85 outlet stores with new offers daily.blog2
  • Enjoy winter at the Acton Winter Carnival, the last weekend in January, 2014.  This annual event features horse & carriage rides, ice skating, outdoor curling, ice sculpting, bingo and much more.

In Milton

  • Try a new winter adventure! Participate in the Season of First Frost at Crawfordblog3 Lake. Rent some snowshoes and explore the trails. Join experienced guides hikes and tours of the Iroquoian village. Runs until February 9, 2014, weekends and holidays.

 In Oakville

  • Looking for a refreshing start to the New Year? Take the plunge into the icy cold waters of Lake Ontario at the Courage Polar Bear Dip at Coronation Park in Oakville. This fund raising event helps provide clean water in developing countries. January 1, 2014.blog4
  • Experience an Authentic Homestead Christmas at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.  This event runs until Monday, December 23, 2013.

Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.  Rediscover your community. Halton offers countless opportunities – truly something for everyone. For more to see and do in Halton, visit the Region’s tourism portal, Discovering Halton. Find Halton Tourism on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @HaltonTourism or Pinterest at pinterest.com/haltontourism.

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.”

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.”