Big Brothers Big Sisters of York recognize Mayors and Regional Councillors for supporting Bowl for Kids Sake 2007

Big Brothers Big Sisters of York officials – Executive Director Moragh Wolfe and Manager of Fund Development Maddy Nichol – made a presentation to Regional Council thanking them for their support and leadership to help make the Bowl for Kids Sake 2007 a successful fundraising event.

More than a 1,000 participants in every community across York Region helped to raise $221,000.

Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow, East Gwillimbury Mayor James Young and City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Gino Rosati received plaques for their roles as Champions. Town of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti received special recognition for his double role as Honourary Co-Chair and Champion. A key role of the Champions was to invite corporations to participate as sponsors.

Township of King Mayor Margaret Black, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Town of Georgina Mayor Rob Grossi, Town of Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris and Town of Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen were thanked for their participation and support of the event.

Yonge Street emergency sewer repair in Town of Aurora

York Regional Council has allocated $1.1 million in funds from the 2007 Roads Capital Program for emergency sewer repair work on Yonge Street north of Industrial Parkway South in the Town of Aurora.

In July of 2006, Regional Road Maintenance staff discovered a pavement depression on the roadway. Further investigation of nearby storm sewers with closed circuit television revealed areas of severe cracking and collapsing of the storm pipe.

As a dewatering permit is required to repair the sewer – which takes approximately three months – and the full extent of the damage had not been fully assessed, steel plates were temporarily installed in October 2006 to reinforce the road and re-open it to traffic.

Work is set to commence for the replacement of the storm sewer and pavement rehabilitation, and is expected to be completed by November 2007.

York Region to remove hazardous trees

York Regional Council has authorized the allocation of $80,000 from the Forest Operations Budget to implement the York Regional Forest Hazard Tree Management Strategy.

The strategy recommends inspecting and assessing the health of trees along high-use trails in the York Regional Forest every two years and low-use trails every four years to determine if they pose a threat to hikers and other forest users. Trees that pose a potential danger will be removed.

The decision follows an earlier recommendation from York Regional Council to implement a tree removal strategy following an outbreak of a root rotting fungus known as Red Pine Decline in the York Regional Forest. The fungus increases the potential threat of falling trees.

York Regional staff will explore an option to recuperate the cost of the program from the sale of removed trees.

Funders’ Alliance builds on organizational strengths

York Regional Council received a report informing members of the York Region Funders’ Alliance and its role in promoting the sustainability of York Region’s non-profit sector.

Established in 2002, the York Region Funders’ Alliance is a semi-formal network of funding organizations representing provincial and regional funding bodies. The focus of the Alliance is on building the organizational strength of the non-profit sector to increase its ability to serve the community. This is different from other coalitions, such as the Human Services Planning Coalition, which focuses on advocacy for investment in human services.

Alliance members work together to invest strategically in York Region’s non-profit sector, with a common goal of strengthening community capacity, avoiding duplication, filling gaps and investing in ways that best meet residents’ needs. It facilitates collaboration by members of the Region’s non-profit sector to find innovative ways to become more responsive to the growing and diverse needs of York Region’s residents.

Regional Council implements two per cent provincial increase for emergency shelters, domiciliary hostel operators and personal needs allowance

Regional Council approved a plan to implement the Province’s decision to increase the maximum per diems paid to emergency shelter and domiciliary hostel operators by two per cent.

The provincially cost shared (80:20) per diem paid to emergency shelter operators will increase from $39.95 to $40.75, effective December 1, 2007, and the per diem to domiciliary hostel operators will increase from $45.00 to $45.90, effective June 1, 2007.

The Province also increased the monthly personal needs allowance by two per cent, effective December 1, 2007.

Emergency shelters provide temporary lodging and meals to homeless individuals, families and youth. Domiciliary hostels provide long-term board and lodging for individuals requiring supervision with their daily living activities. The Region pays per diems to emergency shelter operators and domiciliary hostel operators, on behalf of eligible residents through purchase of service agreements with the Province cost shared 80:20. The Province pays 80 per cent of the cost under the Ontario Works Act and the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act, and the Region pays the remaining per cent of the cost.

These increases provide needed financial support to operators and clients and will have a positive impact on the level of care provided to vulnerable residents across York Region.

Province boosts Best Start program with another $3.5 million

The Province has increased its level of Best Start funding to York Region effective April 1, 2007. This $3.5 million increase includes $1.5 million in the 2007 budget and $2 million in 2008. These amounts are in addition to the increase that was previously reported at the June 2007 Council meeting.

The Best Start Initiative, which is being phased in over 10 years starting in November 2004, supports child care fee subsidies, child care special needs and wage improvements for child care operators.

The increase in Best Start funding provides York Region with a limited opportunity to address the wait list for child care fee assistance and to provide wage improvement funding for program staff in licensed child care centres.

According to York Region’s Economic Strategy, a skilled workforce is one of the key drivers to retain the Region’s competitiveness, attract investment and ensure future economic development. Access to quality child care is essential to allow parents across York Region to participate in the workforce and support York Region’s economic prosperity. Local municipalities and local businesses benefit from a stable, expanded, quality child care system.

Provincial grant of $70,000 to support two sports projects for youth

York Region has received a grant of $70,000 from the Ministry of Health Promotion’s Communities in Action Fund to support two sports projects for youth 13 to 18 years of age from June 2007 until March 2009.

The two programs, Play It Forward and PLAY 2, will give children of low income families in underserved social housing communities in York Region the opportunity to participate in sport and recreation programming.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that children and youth who are involved in regular sport and recreational activities have increased self-confidence, higher self-esteem and an improved self-image, which contributes to strengthening children, families and communities.

The two-year project budget is $120,000. PLAY 2 will be managed by local recreation departments through Purchase of Service Agreements with York Region. YMCA of Greater Toronto will deliver the Play It Forward Program and is contributing $35,000. York Region will contribute $15,000 through the Community Services and Housing Department’s approved budget.

The Communities in Action Fund supports the Province’s ACTIVE 2010, a sport and recreation strategy designed to increase physical activity in Ontario.

Life Saving Society sustains Swim to Survive

York Region received funding of $47,227 from the Life Saving Society to provide basic water survival lessons to Grade 3 students in York Region during 2007/2008. Swim to Survive provides children in Grade 3 with three basic skills: roll into deep water, tread water for one minute and swim 50 metres.

In November 2005, York Region, in collaboration with the nine local municipal recreation departments, local school boards, and the Lifesaving Society, launched the Swim to Survive pilot across York Region. The pilot was implemented in response to the high number of children that drowned in Ontario during the summer of 2005.

In 2006/2007, 98 schools with a total of 3,330 Grade 3 children participated in the program. In 2007/2008, 104 schools with a total of 4,746 Grade 3 children will participate.

The total project budget is $62,727 for the 2007/2008 school year. York Region’s contribution of $10,500 will be managed within the approved budget of the Department of Community Services and Housing. The remaining $5,000 will be contributed by the two school boards.

Regional Council endorses results of Phase 2 consultation on growth scenarios and forecasts

Regional Council endorsed a report on Phase 2 of the Planning for Tomorrow Public Engagement process and feedback. This phase of consultation involved the review and consideration of growth scenarios with stakeholders in York Region and the preliminary assignment of forecasts to the local municipalities.

In Phase 2, there were 6 Town Hall meetings (Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Newmarket) and an additional 22 consultation sessions with other stakeholders.

The key messages raised throughout the Town Hall meetings included the pace and impact of growth, ensuring quality employment for York Region residents, addressing sustainability, providing affordable housing and human services, locating and designing intensification, protecting natural heritage and agricultural resources, and ensuring infrastructure is efficient, well designed and keeps up with the pace of growth.

There are also a number of emerging implementation challenges; ensuring a supply of affordable housing, integrating the natural heritage system into new “whitebelt” communities, alternative approaches to transportation while addressing congestion, and the fiscal impacts of growth.

Following the Phase 2 consultation, Regional staff will be:

  • Refining the growth management numbers (Fall 2007)
  • Completing a 25-year fiscal impact analysis of growth scenarios (January 2008)
  • Conducting an environmental analysis of growth scenarios (Fall 2007)
  • Coordinating with the infrastructure master plans (water and wastewater and transportation) (ongoing through Fall 2007)
  • Broadening the growth scenarios to include a 50 per cent intensification scenario (Fall 2007)

The overall public engagement and consultation work plan approved by Regional Council in 2005 includes a third phase of consultation on the preferred growth scenario selected by Regional Council and on implementing Regional Official Plan Amendment. This is anticipated to proceed in 2008 and will be coordinated with ongoing Master Plan work, including the Water and Wastewater Master Plan and the Transportation Master Plan.

The staff report will be circulated to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal (PIR), the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and local municipalities for information purposes.

Regional Council approves the 2006 Transportation Fact Book for distribution

The 2006 Transportation Fact Book provides general information and statistics about the transportation system in York Region and highlights the major aspects about the road and public transit infrastructure and commuter support services that are available in York Region.

This overview of the Region’s transportation system will help staff to monitor and plan for future transportation needs.

The Transportation Fact Book will be made available to local and adjacent municipalities, local Chambers of Commerce, stakeholder groups and public libraries for public distribution and may be downloaded from the corporate website.

Staff report outlines publicly-funded human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine

York Regional Council received a report regarding the new publicly-funded vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV) that will be offered to young women in Grade 8 through a voluntary school-based program beginning this fall.

The Gardasil vaccine has been shown to be 99 to 100-per cent effective in preventing persistent HPV infection with types 6, 11, 16 and 18, particularly when given before females become sexually active and are exposed to the HPV infection.

The report notes that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Canada and a cause of cervical cancer. This vaccine is expected to decrease the incidence of cervical cancer.

Newmarket Health Centre continues to provide high quality care and service

Regional Council received a report detailing a spring 2007 Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) compliance review demonstrates that the Newmarket Health Centre continues to provide high quality care and services.

The Newmarket Health Centre is in substantial compliance with MOHLTC Standards and Guidelines for the provision of long-term care programs and services.

In the report, the Health Services Department acknowledged the efforts of staff and volunteers and commended them for the excellent quality of care they provide to their clients.

Regional Council approves 2008 diversion and solid waste management initiatives

Regional Council approved several pilot programs to advance the 2006 Joint Municipal Waste Diversion Strategy, subject to 2008 Solid Waste Management Branch budget approval. They include:

  • The Town of Richmond Hill and the Township of King pilot projects to examine opportunities to optimize York Region’s Blue Box program in the first quarter of 2008
  • The three-stream waste management pilot in the Town of Newmarket’s Tom Taylor Trail system and neighbouring parks during the summer of 2008

In addition, Council approved the introduction of a strategy to explore multi-residential waste management options through pilot projects within Housing York Inc., York Region’s social housing corporation.

Regional Council also received a summary of the promotion and education activities organized by York Region’s Solid Waste Management Branch for 2007. Activities included attendance at Region-wide events, hosting of public events and running advertising campaigns.

York Regional Council approves new organizational change

To ensure that York Region is best positioned to meet the needs of residents, York Regional Council has approved the following departmental changes:

  • Joann Simmons was appointed Commissioner of the newly-formed Community and Health Services department
  • Recruitment will begin for a Commissioner of a newly-formed Transportation Services department and for a Commissioner of a newly-formed Environmental Services department

The Community and Health Services department will combine the existing departments of Community Services and Housing with Health Services. Community Services and Housing Commissioner Joann Simmons has been acting as Commissioner of Health Services since February 2006.

The Transportation Services and Environmental Services departments will be formed from the existing Transportation and Works department. Currently, Transportation and Works comprises nearly 65 per cent of the Region’s program budget and will continue to grow in the future, making the formation of two departments a logical step forward.

Transportation Services will oversee the Roads Transportation branch and York Region Transit. Environmental Services will oversee the Water and Wastewater and the Solid Waste Management branches.

The departmental changes were made following a comprehensive and independent 3-½-month review process. As part of that process, the Region will continue to examine new and better ways of doing business over the coming months through a formal Continuous Improvement Initiative.