Keeping you on the move with safe and efficient Regional roads

To keep Halton moving, Halton Region is investing $1.2 billion in its regional roads capital program over the next 10 years and I’m happy to say that this investment in our transportation infrastructure is working. A review of Greater Toronto Area corridors shows Halton Region as having the least congested corridors compared to other regional municipalities, reinforcing how our infrastructure is in the right place at the right time and meeting the needs of our community.

The 2013 Halton Region Transportation Services Progress Report, recently received by Regional Council, outlines what our Transportation division is working on today and in the future. It outlines current and future environmental assessment projects, new and ongoing design and construction projects, ongoing maintenance programs and proactive safety measures all designed to keep Halton roads moving safely and efficiently.

To meet the needs of a growing population, Halton Region has continued to deliver a roads capital improvement program which invests, on average, more than $120 million every year towards ongoing or new construction projects. In 2013, Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads, an increase from $50 million in 2006.

While the Region is committed to investing in its transportation infrastructure, Halton is also committed to programs that encourage residents and businesses to take advantage of transportation alternatives and not rely solely on single occupant vehicles.

In 2013, Smart Commute Halton included 20 Halton businesses with more than 15,000 employees actively involved in the program and 56 registered carpools. Last year, Smart Commute Halton designated workplaces managed to eliminate 483,920 km of road travel, prevented 105,073 kg of greenhouse gas emissions and saved almost $312,295 in commuter savings. If you have a business in Halton and are interested in joining the program, visit our website or dial 311 for more information on this free program.

Halton Region has also undertaken an Active Transportation Master Plan that will provide a strategy for infrastructure, as well as initiatives and programs to promote people-powered travel throughout the Region. In 2013, approximately 11 km of paved shoulders and 13 km of wider curb lanes were built to support active transportation.

Through proactive programs such as Drive SAFE, traffic signal optimization studies and intersection and speed reviews, Halton Region will make sure our transportation infrastructure and programs meet the needs of our community, while protecting the environment, today and in the future.

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.”

Keeping Halton moving by investing in infrastructure

To meet the needs of a growing population, Halton Region has continued to deliver a roads capital improvement program which invests, on average, more than $120 million every year towards ongoing or new construction projects. In 2013, Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads, an increase from $50 million in 2006. Not only is investing in infrastructure important to our residents, it also attracts businesses to our region which helps keep our economy strong.

Join me at Halton’s first Regional, dual-lane roundabout on Tremaine Road in Milton as I discuss the importance of investing in our transportation infrastructure.

By continuing to plan for today and tomorrow, Halton Region will make sure our transportation infrastructure meets the needs of our community, while protecting the environment, today and in the future. I’m proud that our investment is helping keep Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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.”

Q1 Accomplishments 2014

Fiscal Responsibility

Moody’s Investors Services Reaffirms AAA Credit Rating for Halton Region
In February, Moody’s Investors Services assigned an AAA credit rating to Halton Region in recognition of the Region’s strong financial position and prudent budgetary practices. In its annual review, Moody’s attached a “stable outlook” to this rating, indicating its confidence in Halton’s ability to maintain this standing in the future.

Attracting & Retaining Jobs

Women Entrepreneurs in Halton Invited to ‘Learn, Connect and Grow’
On March 5, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the Halton Region Small Business Centre partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment to host a business event for over 60 Women Entrepreneurs and small business owners at the OE Banquet Hall & Conference Centre in Oakville.  

Economic Development Strategy on Track
On March 26, Regional Council approved the Progress Achieved under Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategic Implementation Plan 2012-2021as well as the 2013 Economic Review. The review highlights both the significant real estate and business investment in Halton in 2013 and the tremendous growth in non-residential development over the past several years.

Physician Recruitment Initiative 2013 Reports Year-End Results
On March 26 Regional Council approved the 2013 year-end report for the Physician Recruitment Initiative which saw the recruitment of 22 new family physicians to Halton.

Promoting Tourism

Halton Food Tourism Summit
On March 6, Halton Region held the Halton Food Tourism Summit at the Halton Region Museum. This session, part of the Region’s Agritourism Action Plan, provided educational and networking opportunities for local farmers and restaurateurs interested in taking advantage of the rapidly growing local food movement. Topics included Food Tourism 101, Food Tourism Best Practices and Strategies for local food sourcing.

Emergency Preparedness

Station Expansion
On March 11, construction started on the new northwest Oakville paramedic station located at Bronte Rd. and Pine Glen Rd. The new station will help paramedics respond to calls in the area more quickly, improving patient outcomes and saving lives. The new station is scheduled to open in early 2015. 

Customer Service 

SQM North American Call Centre Industry 2013 Award
This past January, Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) recognized Access Halton as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton Region received the SQM North American Call Centre Industry 2013 Award for highest customer service in government. This award is based on first call resolution (FCR), the measure of how many calls are required to resolve an issue, answer a question or get a requested service. Halton Region measures call centre customer satisfaction annually. 

Accessibility Update
During the first quarter, Halton Region continued to remove barriers to people with disabilities and meet provincial accessibility standards. Halton worked with the Local Municipalities to arrange joint training for Regional and Local Municipal staff on new accessible built environment standards and accessibility changes in the Ontario Building Code. The Accessibility at Halton Region booklet was completed to supplement the accessibility training module launched in 2013. 

Advocacy

Advocating for a Strong Halton
On March 26, Regional Council approved recommendations provided through the report “Advocating for a Strong Halton Update”, to support Council in their ongoing advocacy work. Halton Region continues to Advocate for a Strong Haltonon issues that are important to Halton residents. The support of both levels of government in the form of long-term predictable funding is essential to maintaining the quality of life in Halton. 

Infrastructure

2014 Civil Engineering Infrastructure Project of the Year Award
This spring, Halton Region received the 2014 Civil Engineering Infrastructure Project of the Year Award, presented by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (Halton-Hamilton Engineering Week). The award was presented for outstanding work on the Halton Zone 3 Interconnecting Watermain project (Burlington and Oakville). 

2014 Project of the Year Award
On March 1, Halton Region received the 2014 Project of the Year Award in the Civil Large Project Category for the North Oakville East Wastewater Pumping Station. The award was presented by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers at the Hamilton/Halton Engineering Awards Ceremony.

Planning Sustainable Communities

Partial Approval of Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 38
On February 4, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) issued a decision partially approving ROPA 38 to bring it into conformity with the provincial Growth Plan. 

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Drinking Water Quality Management Review Completed

This spring, the 2013 Drinking Water Quality Management Review was completed for Halton’s water systems. This review reconfirmed that the Region’s water systems are well managed to ensure safe drinking water services for all residents.

100% Compliance Rating for Halton’s Drinking Water Systems
Eleven annual Ministry of the Environment inspections were completed for Halton’s drinking water systems for the 2013 cycle. The findings revealed zero instances of regulatory non-compliance and 100% compliance rating for each of the 11 inspections.

Waste Management

Winter Ice Storm Emergency Yard Waste Collection Program
From January 1 to February 7, Halton Region implemented an emergency yard waste collection program in response to the December 2013 major winter ice storm. The Region worked closely with the Local Municipalities to ensure that storm debris was collected in an effective and efficient manner. 

The Region deployed a variety of resources to manage the storm generated yard waste, including retaining contractors to provide forestry-type equipment to chip and shred brush at the curb, adding waste collection vehicles to manually collect brush from the curbs and boulevards, assisting the Local Municipalities to set up temporary transfer sites where residents and contractors could drop off brush materials at no charge, and waiving the tipping fee for yard waste at the Halton Waste Management Site so that Halton residents and contractors could drop off brush debris or chipped materials at no charge. 

Defining and Preserving Natural Heritage 

Halton Museum Foundation Celebrated Black History with Two One-Woman Shows
On March 5 and 6, over 1,300 Halton students attended the Halton Region Museum’s presentation of the Spirit of Harriet Tubman and Things my Fore-Sisters Saw. The shows were held in celebration of Black History month and International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

Children and Youth Development 

New Online Oral Health Education Guides (OHEG) Available to Teachers
In February, a new online oral health teaching tool for educators was launched. Developed in collaboration with consultants from both Halton school boards, the Oral Health Education Guides connect oral health education directly to the Ontario Curriculum. 

New Support to Children with Mental Health Concerns
As of this spring, Mental Health Liaison Nurses are providing early identification and support to children with mental health concerns from kindergarten age to grade eight. Families can access this service through their child’s school or by calling 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.”

Halton Region Citizens’ Report 2013

Halton Regional Council is committed to ensuring that you are informed about our priorities and the management of your tax dollars. Our Citizens’ Report 2013 provides a progress report on both.Citizen Report 2

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past year. According to our most recent survey, Halton residents rate the overall quality of life in Halton very high at 99%, which is above the national average. Satisfaction with Halton Regional services is also very high, with 97% of Halton residents satisfied with the job that the Region is doing.

The very high satisfaction rating further supports the achievements of the Action Plan priority areas. Here are just a few highlights from this year’s report:

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Maintained a strong, sustainable financial position, including an AAA credit rating while minimizing impacts on you the taxpayer. In fact, on average, we have had a 0% tax increase over the past eight years.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Increased investment in regional roads of $289 million and approved a Development Financing Plan that ensures growth pays for itself. Planning for and investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensure we can meet the needs of our growing community now and in the future, with minimal impact to taxpayers.

Economic Development

Affordable and Assisted Housing

  • 894 new affordable/assisted housing units built since 2007. Launched the Halton Housing Help service providing online, telephone and in-person support for people searching for affordable housing. In partnership with our federal and provincial partners, we updated the Comprehensive Housing Strategy, Halton’s 10 year roadmap for delivering affordable and assisted housing.

Municipalities receive only 11 per cent of every tax dollar. With this small amount, we provide cost effective and high quality programs and services that touch your life daily. Through our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign, we work with the provincial and federal governments to ensure that they are our funding partners in delivering the programs and services that Halton residents have identified as a priority. You can find more information at www.halton.ca/advocacy.

In 2014, we continue to work to ensure that Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To review the 2013 Citizens’ Report as well as a list of our 2014 key actions, visit www.halton.ca/actionplan.

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.”

 

 

Farewell to Mitch Zamojc, Commissioner of Public Works

Halton Region’s Commissioner of Public Works, Mitch Zamojc, is retiring after nearly six years of service to Halton residents.

Commissioner Zamojc joined Halton Region as the Commissioner of Public Works in 2008 after serving the public for more than 28 years including 12 years as Commissioner at the Region of Peel.

Under his leadership, numerous infrastructure plans and strategies for the future have been completed, as well as a number of big projects—everything from bridges, large diameter water mains and water storage tanks to wastewater plant upgrades—and the largest investment in roads Halton Region has ever made.

During Commissioner Zamojc’s tenure:

  • Master Plans for waste, transportation, water and wastewater have been updated to ensure requirements are clearly identified to meet Halton’s needs in the future.
  • Several major capital works projects have also been completed including the Sixteen Mile Creek Bridge on Dundas Street in Oakville, a second water feed to Milton, a new elevated water storage tank in Halton Hills, as well as upgrades to the Oakville Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A number of innovative initiatives were implemented including the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for water and wastewater services and a customer service initiative through social media for Waste Management.  Commissioner Zamojc also led staff in achieving Halton’s solid waste diversion target of 60 per cent.

Commissioner Zamojc has been a valued member of the Region’s Management Committee and a real champion for both innovation and exemplary customer service. On behalf of Regional Council, staff and Halton residents, I would like to thank Commissioner Zamojc for his commitment to Halton Region.

The recruitment process to replace Commissioner Zamojc is underway. His last day at Halton Region will be April 11, 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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

 

Meeting Halton’s Infrastructure Needs Today and Tomorrow

Planned, predictable provincial funding for schools, hospitals and our transportation network is required to ensure we can meet the growth requirements set out in the Provincial Places to Grow Plan. Long term investments from other levels of government are required to ensure funding is in place for required infrastructure. We have new schools that open only to require portables a year or two later; hospitals with capacity issues; and transportation networks that are congested slowing the movement of people and goods.  If we are going to meet the needs that will be required with a population of 780,000 by 2031, we are going to have to do better.

Transportation continues to be the number one issue of importance to Halton residents.  At Halton Region we have been planning ahead and making strategic investments so that our Regional road network can meet the needs of today and tomorrow.  Halton’s capital budget for Regional roads to ease congestion and improve safety has increased from $50 million in 2006 to $289 million in 2013. This is the biggest investment in roads ever for Halton Region.  We are investing billions of dollars to upgrade wastewater and water plants and to improve our road network.  We have a plan in place and now call upon other levels of government to commit to how they will support us to ensure the proper infrastructure is in place to support the growth they require.

Metrolinx has indicated that improvements to GO service for Milton, Georgetown and the Lakeshore GO line identified in the Metrolinx Plan, The Big Move, will be delayed.  The delay to these improvements will only further exacerbate our transportation issues in Halton.  Improvements to Highway 401 through Halton are also required to reduce congestion and improve productivity for businesses throughout the Greater Toronto Area as the highway’s capacity has not kept pace with growth.  These are all issues that Halton Region continues to advocate for on your behalf to the Provincial Government.

Halton Region has created a series of position papers that highlight our advocacy efforts on behalf of Halton residents.  Learn more about our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign.  You can also view my recent video blog, Investing in Infrastructure to Ensure a High Quality of Life for Today and Tomorrow, to learn more about the planning and investments we are making to address infrastructure needs 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. 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.”

Planning for vibrant communities while making it easier to walk, bike and roll across Halton

Halton residents have one of the highest standards of living in Canada and a large part of that is because of Halton Region’s commitment to being well planned. Halton’s dedication to planning complete and vibrant communities helps make Halton a great place to live and to support that, the Region is creating a plan that will impact how people move around the Region to the year 2031.

By creating a 20-year vision for active transportation across Halton, the first RegionalATMP Active Transportation Master Plan will make it easier to walk, bike and roll across Halton. The plan will give us a strategy for infrastructure like bike lanes and multi-use paths, as well as initiatives and programs for active transportation to promote people-powered travel throughout the Region. 

The plan will help improve connections within and between the Local Municipalities and offer easier access to sustainable transportation choices. By looking at our existing infrastructure, identifying ways to improve it, looking at different opportunities and working with residents, we’ll be able to show what the best possible active transportation system will look like up the year 2031. 

Some of the Active Transportation Master Plan highlights include developing cycling and walking networks, active transportation tools (like a map or trip planner), as well as promoting cycling and pedestrian safety.

As a Regional Government, we want to design a network of safe, well-connected and convenient routes and to integrate these into the community. This will help us to provide facilities that will give people greater choice in how they travel throughout our Region and help encourage physical activity. 

Throughout the planning process, we’ve met with various stakeholder groups, our Local Municipal partners, residents and others to ensure we create a plan that works for all of us. Working together is critical and reflective of our commitment to being resident focused. 

ATMP_meetingsWe would like to hear from you because together, we can plan for a great Halton where it’s easier to walk, bike and roll across the Region. Please visit our website at www.halton.ca/activetransportation to fill out an online feedback form; email us at activetransportation@halton.ca; or dial 311 to share your feedback.

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.”