It has been a big four years for Durham Region under the leadership of John Henry as Durham Regional Chair. This is a selection of just some of what was accomplished during his first term.
COVID 19: Vaccinations and Recovery
- Implemented the co-ordinated access system supporting those experiencing homelessness.
- Transitioned to virtual service delivery.
- Enhanced public health measures.
- Adapted and prioritized to meet community needs.
- Progressed workplace modernization, myDurham311 and return-to-work plans.
- Monitored financial impacts closely.
- Launched Downtowns of Durham featuring 955 business listings.
- Created the Durham Economic Task Force.
- Started construction for new broadband infrastructure.
- Accelerated transit service plans to support public mobility throughout COVID-19.
- Enhanced active transportation planning.
- Advanced sustainability programs.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Established a Regional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office.
- Made strides to address anti-Black racism through the Durham Region Anti-Racism Task Force (DRART) and action implementation.
- Installed a permanent location for the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation flag at Regional Headquarters.
- Held a Drum Circle in recognition of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
- Introduced Durham’s first Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
The Region of Durham is Growing
- The Region is required to plan for 1.3 million residents and 460,000 jobs by 2051.
- Through theMunicipal Comprehensive Review, additional urban area land will be designated to support growth to 2051:
- 1,170 hectares of Employment Land
- 2,500 hectares of additional Community AreaLand
- 50 per cent ofnew growth will occur though intensification.
- Durham has a healthy supply of market housing in the development pipeline, with more than 55,000 ground-related units currently in development plans.
- That’s nearly a 10-year supply based on historical rates. We want to work with our development industry partners to turn those units on paper, into homes on the ground.
- In 2022 Regional Council approved the At Home Incentive Program (AHIP) to facilitate the creation ofaffordable housing options.
- The waitlist for affordable housing options continues to grow in Durham.At the end of 2021 there were 8,200 applicants on the Durham Access to Social Housing (DASH) waitlist.
- To address the significant and increasing affordability needs of low-and moderate-income renters in Durham, the Region Council has set an ambitious goal to initiate 1,000 new affordable housing units by 2024.
- Since the beginning of 2020, 225 new units havebeen completed and 170 are currently under development.An additional 1,000units have been identified as future development opportunities that will requiresupport from all levels of government.
Housing and Homelessness
- The Region is building housing to support high needspopulations which include:
- Beaverton Supportive Housing Project
- Oshawa Micro-homes
- Cornerstone Supportive Housing
- Muslim Welfare Home Supported Transitional Housing
- Durham Youth ServicesSupportive Transitional Housing
- The Refuge Youth Supportive Transitional Housing
- Otter Creek Co-operative Housing with Supports
- Durham Non-Profit Affordable Housing with Supports
- Parkview Seniors Affordable Housing
- Joined Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness’s Built for Zero Canada program—a nation-wide effort that helps communities end chronic homelessness.There were 219 people who were experiencing homelessness, housed in 2021.
- There were 55 people housed in the first four months of 2022.
Long Term Waste Management
- Durham has a strong history of responsible waste management.
- Durham’s first Waste Plan (2000-2020) saw significant advancements and increased diversion from 30 per cent to ~63 per cent.
- Expanded Green Bin, Blue Box and Hazardous Waste programs.
- Introduced electronics, textiles, and porcelain recycling.
- Opened the made-in-Durham solution: Durham York Energy Centre (DYEC).
- Durham Regional Council approved Long-term Waste Management Plan and first Action Plan (2022 to 2026) –a roadmap to finding innovative ways to use waste as a resource in a circular economy.
- The Waste Plan aligns with provincial policy, plans for population growth and demonstrates leadership in sustainability.
- Outlines working with producers and importers of products and packaging to implement Extended Producer Responsibility and adjust the Region’s waste programs, as required.
- Innovation is one of our corporate values at the Region. We are advanced several key innovation and modernization initiatives.
- Durham was recognized as one of the Smart21 Communities of the Year in 2021 and 2022.
- The Region and local municipalities, partners and the community, will focus on our residents and businesses as we address our collective challenges in a smart, connected way.
A first of its kind project in Canada, we launched the myDurham311 Smart Home Device Voice Service Project.
Streamlining Development Approvals
- With funding from the province, the Region will enhance our online presences for the submitting and revising of development applications.
- Project completion in early 2023.
OVIN Challenge Statement
- Durham to issue a challenge to the business community to help make our intersections safer.
- Successful challenge participants will be able to pilot solutions at Regional intersections.
- The Region currently owns and operates four long-term care homes and has a stellar reputation for providing high-quality, person-centredcare to 850 residents.
- To continue to provide exceptional care to our residents through the COVID pandemic, the Region implemented immediate health and safety protocols and hired 300 staff.
- The Region is committed to a strong long-term care sector in Durham. We contribute significant funding to support long-term care operations, including almost $55 million from property tax in 2022.
- In Regional homes, we currently provide an average 3.4 hours of direct care. Our care will reach an average of 3.8 hours in 2022 as we move towards the best practice of four hours of direct care, per resident.
- We look forward to being a partner at the table as the province considers changes to the long-term care sector in the future.
- The demand for Long-Term Care is the highest in the Central East LHIN, which covers the Region of Durham. With a growing aging population, the need will continue to increase.
- We recognize and thank the province for the recent announcement of 320 new LTC beds in Ajax.
- We also recognize the commitment to the long-term care facility proposed for Seaton and look forward to working together on that project.
Long-Term Care - Community Paramedicine
- In 2021, the Region launched a Community Paramedicine program with funding from the Ministry of LTC.
- The program has 10 full-time Community Paramedics. In the last 60 days:
- Enrolled 100 new patients
- Completed 297 visits
- Transported 14 people to the hospital –13 were admitted
- The Community Paramedics also use remote monitoring software to catch changes in health before they occur to reduce the use of 911 and emergency room visits
Durham Region Transit
- Durham Region Transit has a vision for building transit ridership. We need to accelerate investment and grow the local transit network to be convenient for residents. Only by improving access and frequency to transit, will we impact a modal shift to public transit.
- Durham Region Transit continues to work closely with the province and other transit agencies to make progress towards fare and service integration across municipal boundaries and transit agencies. We believe that it should be a seamless experience for the residents, and we’re committed to ensuring that is a reality.
On Demand Transit - Service Excellence
- In 2017, Durham Region launched On Demand pilot program in the northern municipalities.
- In 2020, during the pandemic, DRT accelerated the transition to On Demand in low ridership zones in urban centres and across entire rural area to benefit residents/essential workers and mitigate operational pressures.
- Now DRT operates one of the largest On Demand system in the countrywith average wait times of15 minutes in urban zones, and 30 minutes across rural areas.Transit in Durham operates 24 hours/day and 7 days/week.
- Customers pay a regular fare that is affordable and convenient.
- Monitoring weekly ridership data allowed DRTto transition between On Demand and regularly scheduled servicetobest meet customer needs in afinancially responsible manner.
Transportation and Transit Initiatives
- Lakeshore GO East Extension to Bowmanville is our signature project that is key to enabling Durham’s transit vision and unlocking community building and economic development for Durham Region.
- With funding from the provincial and federal governments, we continue to make progress on the Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit project.
- Removal of tolls on the 412 and 418 will increase traffic volumes on the highways and reduce the capacity and congestion issues on parallel Regional roads.
- The highways will unlock housing and job creation opportunities along the highway to support our growth.
Durham’s Commitment to Climate Action
Regional Council declared a climate emergency in January 2020.
Corporate Climate Action Plan
Carbon Budget Management Framework
- Achieving deep GHG emissions reductions is about organizational transformation, plus technical solutions.
- Need to incorporate climate mitigation into decision-making processes and ensure awareness and training of staff across the organization.
- Development of a Carbon Budget Management Framework to embed climate considerations within decision making at the Region.
- The framework had two objectives:
- Integrate climate change consideration into decision-making processes.
- Provide a framework that aligns with the existing business planning cycle.
- Innovation in Durham is Driving Ontario’s Future Energyand EV/AV Automotive Sectors:
- OPG / GE-Hitachi constructing the first grid-tied Small Modular Reactor, near OPG’s new corporate headquarters.
- Ontario Tech U leads the province in applied vehicle technology testing with their world-class ACE climatic wind tunnel and specialized degree programs.
- The Region supports innovation and entrepreneurship
- Experiencing booming growth, emerging from the pandemic:
- Merck began production of the COVID-19 antiviral pill at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Durham.
- William F. White opened a 90-acre film and television backlot location.
- East Penn, large battery vendor/distributor, opened a corporate HQ and logistics centre.
- General Motors ramping up production of vehicles with investment from the province and federal government.
- FGF Foods and Hi Tech Bay made a major investment announcement in the Seaton Innovation Corridor.
- Building and enabling Durham’s vibrant downtowns:
- Shop where you live
- The OMAs music awards
- Durham Is Home collection
- Supporting Durham’s Agri-Food and Agri-tech Sectors
- Eight videos highlighting diverse career opportunities in agri-food.
- Delivered a four-part webinar on specialty crop opportunities.
- With ICIP funding, Durham built a 38-kilometre high-speed fibreoptic backbone connecting the Township of Uxbridge to the City of Pickering.
- This is just the first of a major undertaking to bring high-speed internet to underserved communitiesacross Durham through our municipally owned Durham OneNetInc.