Happy New Year!

Today, on this last day of 2012, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on a few of the successes we’ve had here in Halton, and what we resolve to do in 2013.


Regional Council and staff have worked very hard throughout 2012 to provide the best programs and services possible, while bearing in mind the ultimate impact on the residents and taxpayers of Halton. We are very proud of the fact that we were again able to provide a zero per cent tax increase for 2013. This brings the seven-year average tax increase to zero per cent for Regional services. This is one of the best records in all of Canada.

In 2013, we will develop Halton’s next budget with the same level of respect for the taxpayer in mind. I expect Regional Council will maintain our position to deliver a budget that delivers any tax increase at or below the rate of inflation, while maintaining service levels in a growing community and compensating for provincial funding shortfalls.


Residents consistently tell us that quality infrastructure is important to quality of life. In 2012, Halton Region delivered infrastructure improvements including improving roads through widening, resurfacing or new construction on James Snow Parkway, Steeles Avenue, Dundas Street, Winston Churchill Boulevard, and Regional Road 25, and the construction of new Sixteen Mile Creek bridge on Dundas Street in Oakville. Halton also continued to strengthen our water supply system through the commissioning of a new Georgetown water tower, building a new water booster pumping station in North Oakville, completing upgrades to water purifications plants in Burlington and Oakville, and construction of new wastewater pumping stations in North Oakville and Halton Hills.

The approved 2013 capital budget for roads, water and wastewater is $921 million. In 2013, Regional Council is committed to continuing to ensure Halton has the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time.


Regional Council has a strong track record of advocating to other levels of government on behalf of Halton residents. In 2012, the two very important issues that come to mind are advocating to the provincial government to ensure that growth pays for itself, and advocating to protect our natural environment and farmlands from proposed provincial highways, including the GTA West corridor highway that would impact farm land in Halton Hills, and the Niagara to GTA highway that would cut through the Niagara escarpment in Burlington. In October, I joined the City of Burlington and the Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition to host a community meeting about the proposed NGTA highway. Following the community meeting, Mayor Goldring and I also met with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to express the community’s opposition and concerns regarding the proposed Provincial highway.

In 2013, Council will continue to ensure the voice of Halton residents is heard by other levels of government. We will continue to work with all levels of government to ensure Halton is treated fairly. We will continue to ask for predictable, stable funding for infrastructure and housing. We will continue to advocate that growth should pay for growth, and not burden current property taxpayers. And we will continue to advocate that our natural landscapes and farmland is maintained in the face of proposed Provincial highways. We will continue to work with all our MPPs and MPs and party leaders to help them understand the issues that are important to Halton residents.

Council’s and staff’s hard work on these important matters is a big part of the reason 98 per cent of residents indicated they are satisfied with services provided by the Region, which is a significant 22 per cent higher than the average across Ontario. By continuing to focus on our Citizens’ Priorities 2011-2014 Action Plan, we will ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire, in 2013 and beyond. Please accept my sincere wishes to you and your family, for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!

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.”

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.

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.

Halton Claims Victory over the Niagara to GTA Corridor Highway Resolution

In early February, I met with Mayor Rick Goldring of Burlington and the Honourable Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to discuss proposed amendments to the new Halton Region Official Plan. The Official Plan is the Region’s vision and road map to guide and direct growth. 

The main issue discussed at that meeting was the provincial requirement to include unapproved provincial transportation corridors in the Regional Official Plan. One such corridor was a proposed route for the Niagara to GTA corridor highway

Over the last several months I, along with other members of Regional Council, have listened to the residents of Burlington and the broader Halton community regarding this proposed highway route. Collectively, we voiced our concerns that this road did not belong in our official plan, and that including it would predetermine the findings of future environmental assessments for long term transportation needs in the region. 

I am pleased to report that the Minister shared our view and, as a result of the discussion with Minister Bartolucci, the highway will not appear in our Official Plan. This decision is encouraging, but it is important that we stay engaged throughout the remainder of the province’s Environmental Assessment process.  

I would like to thank the Mayor Goldring, Councillors Lancaster and Taylor as well as the numerous community members that voiced their concerns to the Provincial government. Together, we made a difference. I look forward to continuing to work with you all.

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.”