Getting Ready For AMO


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….

CN Presentation to Halton Region Council May 27th 2015

The following is a clip from todays Halton Region council meeting where CN makes a presentation outlining its newly named “Milton Logistics Hub Project” aka Milton Intermodal.

More details and comments to come.  I had posted a link to the Halton website earlier on Twitter and some have commented their browsers werent able to view the meeting, so that section has been uploaded to YouTube.

 

Regional Chair Gary Carr – Advocating for Halton

From time to time the Regional Chair Gary Carr outlines a report on what the Region of Halton is doing in our area to help assist all levels of government provide the services we need and enhancing the environment for creating much needed jobs and assisting in bringing businesses to our area.  Here are some highlights in is his most recent column as printed in the Milton Canadian Champion.

Advocating for Halton

Advocating for the residents of Halton is one of the priorities of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

Ensuring that growth pays for itself is of critical importance to Halton Regional council and we will continue to advocate for long-term predictable funding to ensure that taxpayers do not bear the burden of growth.

Regional council recognizes even though there are many of levels of government, there is only one taxpayer.

Halton Region has one of the best records in all of Canada for keeping taxes low — 2013 will make the seventh consecutive year in which we have had an average of a 0 per cent tax increase for regional programs and services.

The future that Halton Regional council envisions includes important partnerships with both the provincial and federal governments. The support of both levels of government in the form of long-term predicable funding is essential to ensuring Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

On behalf of the residents of Halton, I will continue to meet with Halton’s MPs, MPPs and elected officials of all political stripes to bring Halton’s issues to the forefront.

***

Regional council has also urged the Ontario government to make appropriate decisions to prevent the collapse of the horse racing industry. At council’s Oct. 3 meeting, councillors unanimously supported a motion to endorse an interim report that identifies the benefits of a strong equine sector and horse racing industry and the need to make immediate decisions to ensure its long-term viability.

Recently, Regional council also supported a motion in support of the Town of Milton’s efforts to build more schools to house its growing population. Investing in Halton’s future is important to ensure our region will continue to prosper for generations to come and remain a location of choice for new businesses.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to e-mail me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.

Region of Halton Approves 3 Bag Limit

Recently the Region of Halton made a presentation to the Planning & Public Works committee outlining possible changes to the bag limit for Halton residents.  Currently the limit is 6 bags per pick up (biweekly) along with weekly Blue Box and Green Cart pick ups.  According to the staff report roughly 85% of Halton residents put out 3 or less bags of garbage per pickup which has helped extend the life of the Halton landfill.

There has been a very in depth discussion regarding this proposal on the Hawthorne Villager.  See that thread here.

At the Halton Region Council meeting earlier this month, they approved these new measures.

Here is a link to the video of the meeting which will include the staff presentation as well as potential costs of another landfill site, exemptions for the 3 bag limit as well as costs of the program.  This will end up costing roughly $650K per year to implement this program, bag tags, education but, according to staff reports, save millions of dollars in future costs of transportation of waste and costs for a new landfill.

http://www.halton.ca/cms/One.aspx?portalId=8310&pageId=85279

If you skip forward to the 20 minute mark, you will see the beginning of the staff presentation.  Comments made by a Milton regional councillor during the recorded vote stage begin at the 55 minute mark of the video.

Following the decision, here is an article from Juila Le from the Milton Canadian Champion

Region imposes garbage bag limit to boost waste diversion

Halton regional council unanimously passed a motion to have the bi-weekly garbage bag limit decrease from six bags to three for curbside garbage collection Wednesday.

Residents will see the new restrictions and the introduction of a bag tags program come into effect April 1, 2013.

Waste management staff presented two related reports to council outlining their recommendations, which were previously supported by Halton Region’s planning and public works committee.

Any bag above the three-bag limit will require a bag tag, which will be complimentary to residents for five months while the Region rolls out its promotion and education component of the program. Bag tags will likely be distributed at the Halton Region Administration Centre, the Halton Waste Management Site, waste management truckload events, municipal community centres, public libraries and online through the Region’s website. After the phase-in period, households will be required to purchase the bag tags for each garbage bag that exceeds the three-bag limit on their scheduled collection day. Starting September 9, 2013, tags will cost $2. For those living in a townhouse with common pile collection areas, a limit of three bags per unit will also apply, however townhouse residents won’t be able to use the bag tags.

Other exemptions include complimentary diaper/medical condition tags provided to approved applicants and a grace period of two weeks following the December holiday. Reiterating his point made at a similar presentation to planning and public works committee members late last month,  Rob Rivers, Halton’s director of waste management, said the new garbage bag limit and bag tag program is one of the key components in meeting the Region’s goal of diverting 65 per cent of waste from its landfills by 2016.

He said implementing the recommendations would also add an additional four years to the Region’s landfill, expanding its life to 2044.

Council also heard from Rivers that the overall cost savings by extending the life of the landfill from 2040 to 2044 would be about $15 million. He mentioned replacing the landfill in 2040 is estimated to be more than $750 million.

In backing staff recommendations, Rivers said 85 per cent of homes already place three bags or less of garbage out for collection every other week.  He added that while 95 per cent of residents place a Blue Box out for collection every week and 70 per cent of residents place a GreenCart out for collection every week, the average garbage bag still contains 13 per cent of Blue Box material and 29 per cent of GreenCart material.

Rivers said he believes more education and the expansion of the Blue Box program — to include mixed plastics like clear clamshells, yogurt and pudding cups, empty steel paint cans and cardboard spiral cans — will help decrease the amount of Blue Box and GreenCart materials being put in garbage bags. The new 22-gallon Blue Box will accommodate additional volume as well.

Before the motion was put to a vote, Burlington Councillor Marianne Meed Ward asked if illegal dumping would increase. Rivers replied that other municipalities that have gone through similar changes have seen a small spike in illegal dumping, but over time, “that delinquent behaviour” starts to peter out.

Waste management staff will report back to council about details of the three garbage bag limit and the bag tags program implementation and communications plan later this fall.