Happy Holidays!

Family having fun in winterOn behalf of Regional Council and staff, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and wonderful holiday season!  The holidays give us a chance to reconnect with family and friends, participate in festive traditions and create memories for years to come

Over the holidays, all our essential and 24-hour Regional services will remain available. If you require assistance from Halton Region during this time, please visit halton.ca or dial 311.

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Some public facilities will be closed from 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 23 until 8:30 a.m. on Monday, January 2. For more information about holiday hours at our public facilities, visit halton.ca/closures.

If you are staying in town for the holidays, there are so many great things to see and do in Halton. Family-friendly events and activities take place throughout the winter season in Halton’s local municipalities—Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville—and at Conservation Halton parks. Click on the links to find out more details.

It is my wish that your holidays are filled with peace, joy and good company. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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”.

Taking a stand against a proposed highway through our escarpment

To view a larger image, please visit http://www.niagara-gta.com.

The Provincial Ministry of Transportation has been conducting the Niagara to Greater Toronto Area (NGTA) Corridor Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the past number of years. The purpose of the study was to look at all transportation options (including rail, road, transit and marine) that might improve transportation between Niagara and the GTA. One of the options that is being considered as part of the study is the construction of a new Provincial highway that would cut across the escarpment in Burlington.

For almost 10 years, Halton Region and the City of Burlington have been advocating against Provincial plans to build a new highway that would cut through the Niagara Escarpment. In fact, in June 2011, Regional Council unanimously passed a resolution to advise the Province that we are opposed to a highway cutting though the Niagara Escarpment.

The Niagara Escarpment is the most significant natural landform in Ontario. It includes more than 100 sites of geologic significance, is the habitat for 300 species of birds, 53 mammals, 36 reptiles and amphibians and 90 kinds of fish; more than 1500 species of vascular plants, 50 ferns & 37 species of wild orchids. A highway would destroy our natural environment and rural quality of life. It is imperative to our community that we protect such a significant resource and landform. Together, we can make our unified voices heard.

Please join me, Mayor Rick Goldring, Burlington Councillors and members of the Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) at a public meeting to learn more about the project and how you can provide your comments. Join us on:

Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Location: Mainway Recreation Centre, 4015 Mainway, Burlington (Auditorium)

Halton is home to an active and vibrant farming industry. With more and more people choosing to buy and eat locally produced food, it’s more important than ever to protect our made-in-Halton food sources. With some of the best agricultural land in the Greater Toronto Area, it’s critical that we protect it – not pave over it.

The proposed Provincial highway through Burlington would not only decimate our prime agricultural resource, it would also devastate the Niagara Escarpment and the Ontario Greenbelt.

As the most significant natural landform in Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment is one of only 12 UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in all of Canada. This designation puts the Escarpment in the same class as the Galapagos Islands and the Serengetti Plains in Africa.

With more than 2,000 plant and animal species calling the Escarpment home, it’s a tourism attraction for people across the Province. And with six million people living within 90 minutes of the Escarpment, it not only contributes to the natural beauty of Halton, but financially as well. Recreation in and around the area contributes more than $100 million every year to local and regional economies from the tourism, winery and culinary industries it supports.

We need to protect our environmentally sensitive land and farmland from becoming a new highway. We need to preserve this area so it can filter pollution from our air; to retain our rural quality of life; so our farmland can continue to feed us; and so that plants and animals can stay in their natural habitat.

But we can’t do it alone. We know that protecting our environment and coming up with effective transportation solutions is an enormous task that can only truly succeed with the help of many partnerships and a lot of hard work. Let’s protect our valuable rural resources for today and tomorrow to ensure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

For more information, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/ngta.