This years AMO conference is coming up after this weekend. I've mentioned before it's a chance for councillors from over 400 plus municipalities to meet and discuss issues, attend workshops and potentially meet with Ontario government ministers to being up specific issues affecting their town or city.
Normally at this time we get a list of the meetings we're going to be attending at the conference with ministers and after getting the list of confirmed meetings, I'm left a little disappointed.
In the past 2 of the 3 day conference is filled with meetings with different ministries that usually leaves us exhausted from walking back and forth between all the rooms and hotels. This year there aren't many meetings at all.
Specifically missing is a meeting with the Minister of Health Dr Hoskins, Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter, and Minister Charles Sousa from Finance. Through Regional Chair Gary Carr's office many requests were made to meet with these three ministries as Halton Region needs answers.
Health and Finance to address the continued shortfall of funding for many of our health programs, costs that have been downloaded to the Region to the tune of $9.7 million in 2017. This has equated to the equivalent of a 4% tax increase for a Halton residents and there are still no answers on the horizon. This doesn't include the improvements that are needed for Halton's paramedic services and we require the delivery of new technology and triage tools for the Mississauga CACC.
The list for education demands gets longer by the day as in different areas of Halton there are differing needs. Schools closures in Burlington and the ever increasing demand for new schools, especially secondary schools in Milton to meet the ever increasing – and provincially mandated – growth in Halton.
These are just of the questions and requests we were coming to AMO to have addressed but sadly, no meetings scheduled.
Does this mean we give up? Heck no!!! But it's just another disappointment for those of us who represent this growing area in the provinces Places to Grow.
We will be meeting with the Minister of Transportation to discuss a number of issues affecting Halton and Milton including 2 way all day service, parking improvements for our main GO Station and the acknowledgement that we will need another GO station for Milton immediately in the Derry and Trafalgar area as well as off Tremaine Road. We will also be asking for some action on the proposed CN Intermodal issue as well. The province needs to continue to be at the table as the CEAA/CTA process moves along and recognize Halton's unanimous opposition to this location.
As the conference moves along, I'll be doing my best to update everyone as the meetings happen. Will we get definitive answers to these questions? Probably not right away but this is another opportunity for us at the Region and Town of Milton to get our concerns aired and hopefully some action taken.
We've done our part when it comes to meeting all the guidelines for Places to Grow and Milton's growth plan. It's now time for the province to step to the plate and lend us a hand. Hopefully with the ever looming date of a provincial elections, ears will be listening and action will be taken to have Milton and Halton's needs addressed.
Will keep you posted. Until then….