Celebration of Life

Last week I had the honour of attending Halton Region’s Celebration of Life awards ceremony.

The Celebration of Life is an event to profile the important life-saving work by Halton’s Paramedic Services, bystanders, and community partners. The event also gave survivorsHalton Paramedic Celebration of Life of medical emergencies a chance to formally meet and thank the paramedics who saved them.

The Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board were presented with community partner awards for their commitment to the health and safety of their students and staff when they installed defibrillators in all their schools. Along with the installation, they trained hundreds of staff and students how to use the defibrillators and how to do CPR.

Bystanders were also honoured for their bravery. Thrust into a crisis situation they acted with selflessness and courage and were commended for their actions.

DSC_4361In Halton Region, we have an exceptional team of paramedics who make a career out of caring for the health and safety of our community.

Halton Regional Council is committed to providing the necessary tools for not only a paramedic service that succeeds, but one that excels.

In the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, there are a number of high profile actions dedicated to paramedic services such as ensuring appropriate response times, opening a northwest Oakville station and continuing to work with the Central Ambulance Communications Centre to optimize the delivery of paramedical services.

Optimization of the delivery of paramedical services is key because as our population grows, so too does the demand for paramedic service.

For Regional Council, that means striking the right balance between meeting community safety needs and managing tax dollars effectively, something we have been able to do with expanding services while not increasing property taxes on Regional programs and services for the past seven years, one of the best records in Canada.

This is evident in the fact that last year Halton Region’s Paramedic Services responded to over 50,000 calls while still meeting our response time targets.

Halton’s paramedics, community partners and bystanders are part of what make Halton Region a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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’s 2013 Farm and Food Tour a success

On September 19, I joined elected officials including the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Regional and Local Councillors, members of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee and media in Halton Region’s 33rd Annual Farm Tour, a forum to learn about Halton’s agricultural industry.

Traditionally Halton’s Farm Tour has focused on agricultural operations and the importance of the agricultural sector to Halton’s health and economy. The scope of the tour was broadened this year to highlight other innovative services being offered by Halton’s farms and related tourism operations including on-farm markets that sell food and retail goods, restaurants and greenhouses.

The tour supports two key initiatives in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, including supporting and promoting agriculture and working with partners to bring moreFarm tour3 visitors to Halton.  It also highlights the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms. The knowledge and understanding gained through events such as this tour help ensure we are able to make informed decisions for sustainable and well planned growth in Halton for the next decade and beyond.

The tour gave us a chance to meet with farmers, chefs and business owners in Halton’s agricultural and food services sectors.  This year’s tour included stops at Red Canoe Bistro, Springridge Farm, Mohawk Inn and Chophouse, Marshall’s Real Farmers Market and Store, and DG’s Greenhouses.

At Springridge Farm, owners John and Laura Hughes talked about how listening to theFarm tour 2 consumer has helped their farm become a destination for local food, entertainment, education and fun.  Premier Wynne, who is also Minister of Agriculture, commented on how Halton is successfully bridging the divide between rural and urban communities. 

The tour ended with a keynote address by celebrity chef, Jamie Kennedy and a locally sourced dinner.  Chef Kennedy spoke about his commitment to environmental issues, local food and support for organic agriculture, local producers and traditional methods, noting that he views the farm as an extension of the kitchen.

Farm tour1The tour was organized by the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC), a group of volunteers involved in Halton’s agricultural industry who provide advice to Regional Council on issues related to the industry and its community.  A number of the featured presenters were also participants in the Region’s much celebrated Simply Local – A Guided Tour of Halton Farms program, and the Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  

To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.  To learn more about upcoming events including the Harvest Halton – The Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park on October 6 and Halton’s Pumpkin Trail, visit www.halton.ca/tourism.

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.”

Environmental Public Health Inspectors

From drinking water safety to recreational water safety, to inspecting restaurants, daycares, long term care homes, spas, salons and swimming pools, environmental public health inspectors are an important part of ensuring the health of Halton residents.

We know providing these services are important to Halton residents, as noted in Halton’s Citizens’ Priority Action Plan. For health inspectors, there are two key priorities for 2013 that relate directly to Protecting Public Health:

  • Ensure Food Safety: Ensure that a food safety inspection rate of 100% is achieved in 2013 for high risk premises
  • Ensure Infection Prevention and Control: Ensure that an inspection rate of 100% is achieved in 2013 for high risk personal service settings

I am happy to report that both of those very important priorities are on schedule to be completed by year end. Check out our other accomplishments on the Regional Accomplishments page.

Inspectors are involved in many other aspects of protecting public health, an overall goal of Halton residents:

  • Food premise inspections (restaurant, catering companies, food trucks, convenience stores, grocery stores)
  • Fairs and festivals (food vendors)
  • Long term care homes (kitchens)
  • Hospitals (kitchens)
  • Retirement homes (kitchens)
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Spas
  • Piercing establishments
  • Public pools
  • Daycares
  • Petting zoos
  • Beaches
  • Smoke-Free Ontario
  • West Nile Virus
  • Well water
  • Site contamination
  • Bed bugs
  • Lime disease
  • Small drinking water systems
  • Rabies 

Halton Region, Public health inspectors and all of regional staff are dedicated to providing effective and quality service to ensure Halton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. 

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.”

Celebrating Canada’s First Premium Outlet Centre – Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills

On August 1, I joined Mayor Rick Bonnette and crowds of shoppers in helping celebrate the opening of Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills, a new retail complex that will bring visitors from all over the Province.outlet mall 2

Toronto Premium Outlets is a 50/50 joint venture company between Simon Property Group, Inc. and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust. This is the first Premium outlet in Canada, and new home to 85 stores including: Banana Republic, Bench, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Hudson’s Bay Outlet, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware and many more.

According to the launch organizers, the Halton Hills Grand Opening was the most successful Premium Outlet opening in North America in terms of revenue dollars and number of shoppers.

Halton is home to over 12,000 active businesses and I am proud that Toronto Premium Outlets have chosen to call Halton home.  About 800 construction jobs were created to build the mall which will employ 500 people on an ongoing basis.

cropped outlet mallThis new endeavour will also boost Halton’s tourism market, offering Shop and Stay packages sure to attract visitors to Halton who otherwise may have driven across the border.

Halton Regional Council is committed to promoting a strong and healthy economy where businesses can thrive and prosper. One of the priority areas identified in the Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan is Attracting and Retaining Jobs. To help achieve this goal, Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategy was formed and serves as an essential component to improving employment opportunities across the Region and creating economic prosperity.

Region is proud to have Toronto Premium Outlets as part of our community. Together we make Halton a great place to live, shop, work, raise a family and retire.

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.”

Talking about the progress on our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan

I recently participated in a Cogeco show, Local Matters, where I had the opportunity to talk about the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan and highlight some of the great work that we are doing at Halton Region.  More information about Halton’s progress on the Action Plan can be found in the 2012 Report to the Citizens.

To watch Local Matters, click on the YouTube video below.

Local Matters

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.”

The second annual update on the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan – 2012 Report to the Citizens

Yesterday Halton Region released the 2012 Report to the Citizens, our second annual update on the Citizen’s Priorities Action Plan. The 2012 Report to the Citizens highlights accomplishments related to key actions and initiatives in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Reporting to residents about progress on the Action Plan ensures transparency and demonstrates Halton’s commitment to accountability and the public engagement process.   

Key accomplishments highlighted in the 2012 Report to the Citizens illustrate how Halton Region continues to deliver value to taxpayers.  Highlights from the Report include:

  • Maintaining a AAA credit rating and an approved 2013 budget with a zero percent tax increase for Regional programs and services 
  • Initiated Economic Development Implementation Plan to bring more investment and jobs to Halton 
  • Completion of infrastructure projects such as the Sixteen Mile Creek Bridge on Dundas Street and the Canadian National Railway overpass on James Snow Parkway 
  • Partnered with non-profit and private sectors to build 57 new affordable housing units 
  • Recruitment of 22 permanent family physicians to Halton
  • Diverted approximately 60 percent of residential waste from the landfill.

In 2013, work continues on a number of key priorities and actions as Halton Region continues to focus on the programs and services that are important to residents.  A list of the 2013 key actions is available at www.halton.ca/actionplan.  Regional staff is currently working to complete 2013 actions and will report progress and achievements to Regional Council and the public in early 2014. 

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 FacebookTo receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Aldershot Village Residence and Martin House Seniors Residence official opening ceremonies

Affordable and Assisted Housing is a priority in Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities 2011-2014 Action Plan. Providing housing supports to address the needs of low income residents is an important issue that requires commitment, investment and response from multiple levels of government and partnerships with community agencies.

On October 19, representatives from all levels of government joined the residents of Aldershot Village Residence in Burlington for a ribbon cutting, tours and an official opening ceremony.

On November 15 we will gather again to celebrate the official opening of Martin House Seniors Residence in Milton. Together these two buildings add 145 units of assisted housing for seniors to our community.

Martin House Seniors Residence and Aldershot Village Residence are shining examples of how all levels of government can come together to meet the needs of our growing community.

I had the opportunity to meet many residents of Aldershot Village and I’m very proud of the positive feedback they have about their new building and the sense of community that lives within it. Working together, we all make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.