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Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2024 Roundup – Assisting Individuals at GO Stations; & Halton Region Water Meter Upgrades

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2024 roundup.

The Mayor’s Monday Mailbag is a weekly initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at mayor@burlington.ca or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2024 Roundup

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ASSISTING INDIVIDUALS IN NEED AT GO STATIONS

QUESTION:

“How are we supporting and assisting individuals in need at our local GO stations?”

ANSWER:

Thank you to the members of the public who have reached out to the Mayor’s Office with concerns over individuals in need in our community, particularly those taking shelter at local GO Stations. Mayor Meed Ward shares these concerns.

The Office of Burlington MPP Natalie Pierre, and Mayor and Council are working together to assist in responding to the concerns where possible as GO stations are looked after by Metrolinx. Halton Region, Halton Regional Police Service, and Metrolinx have an ongoing partnership and Halton Region Outreach Workers are attending GO stations regularly to inform affected individuals of the supports available to them and offering to assist.

Currently, joint outreach is coordinated between HRPS, Halton Housing Help and a mental health and addictions nurse specifically onboarded to support individuals in need at GO stations. The Region has informed the City that the majority of individuals welcoming housing or social services support are relocated to emergency shelters.

It is important to note that no one can compel an individual to use the services offered through the shelters, and some do not accept the support offered or make use of service interventions. Sadly, the help that is available and offered is often refused by the person for various reasons. Halton Region staff always endeavour to offer solutions to meet individual needs, and additional resources are offered through Halton Region Public Health, where applicable. Outreach and teams from Halton Housing, HRPS (including COAST) and City By-law are all working together to ensure the safety of all residents

Metrolinx has informed the Region and City that it continues to examine different overnight staffing models at its GO stations. HRPS has also offered considerable logistical support and have made recommendations to Metrolinx to enhance security measures on site.  Shelter and other social service supports remain available to any individual that is accepting of assistance.

To date, Halton Region has informed the City there is capacity in both Oakville and Burlington for men seeking emergency shelter accommodation.  The Region’s program will temporarily house a homeless person as soon as possible, and agreements are in place with some hotels/motels for emergency situations or to provide overflow capacity as volume vary over time. In 2023, Halton’s Street Outreach Team assisted 139 individuals in accessing emergency shelter supports.

If you come across an unhoused individual in need, please contact Halton Region directly at:

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1. If you have a concern with an experience at a GO station, please contact Metrolinx at metrolinx.com/en/contact-us and your local MPP: Burlington MPP Natalie Pierre at 905-639-7924 or Natalie.Pierre@pc.ola.org; Oakville North-Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos at 905-825-2455 or Effie.Triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org; or Milton MPP Parm Gill at 905-878-1729 or parm.gill@pc.ola.org. Halton Regional Police Service also has an non-emergency line, 905-825-4777.

Bridging the Gap is a program funded by the Region of Halton that strives to provide readily and easily accessible support for youth between the ages of 16-24 residing in the Halton Region who are experiencing homeless or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. Bridging the Gap is 2SLGBTQIA+ friendly, and committed to fostering a youth directed, strength-based approach to assisting youth in achieving their goals.

Shelter for single women, couples & families with children under the age of 17Shelter for men
  • Call 311 or 365-292-3554 for immediate support
  • Support is available 24/7 in Burlington
  • Hotel overflow available where required
  • Call 311 or 905-339-2918 for immediate support
  • Support is available 24/7 in Oakville
  • Hotel overflow available where required

Halton Region continues to emphasize supportive housing as the most effective and durable solution to preventing homelessness and supporting unhoused individuals. A need for at least 120 units of supportive housing is needed to respond to homelessness and mitigate encampments in Halton. Approximately, 57 units are currently in development towards this target — Halton Region knows that more needs to be done. Supportive housing environments are particularly needed for individuals with mental health and addictions issues.

The Mayor and Burlington Council have taken an active role in advocacy for resources and supports that are the provisions from other levels of government. Please see more details below:

There is also a recent Mayor’s Monday Mailbag that details the supports available for unhoused individuals, please click/tap here: Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Nov. 13, 2023 – Homelessness Encampments & Supports Available.

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HALTON REGION WATER METER UPGRADES

QUESTION:

“Why is the Region of Halton upgrading water meters at homes and businesses?”

ANSWER:

The Region of Halton will begin upgrading water meters in the City of Burlington starting this month. The Region delivers high-quality drinking water to homes and businesses across the community. Your water meter measures your water use and provides readings used by your local hydro provider (Burlington Hydro) to calculate your water bill.

During the initial roll-out in February 2024, approximately 300 homes and businesses in Burlington will get upgraded meters. In August 2024, the Region will start upgrading meters at all homes and businesses in Burlington. Halton’s new meter technology will make meter reading more efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Below are a few related frequently-asked-questions. To learn more about the advanced metering infrastructure project, you can also: email accesshalton@halton.ca, call 311, and/or visit the Advanced Metering webpage on the Region’s website at halton.ca

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Q: Why is Halton upgrading water meters at homes and businesses?

A: Currently, a meter reader visits your home or business (in person) to read your water meter. This new water meter technology will:

  • modernize water meter infrastructure and allow you to track your usage online;
  • make the collection of water meter readings more efficient by eliminating manual (in person) meter reading;
  • use radio frequency to transmit water usage data, and
  • reduce our environmental impact by eliminating the need for meter readers to drive throughout the community to read water meters.

The new water meters (collectively known as advanced metering infrastructure) are a secure, modern and reliable technology that is already used in many communities across North America. The new meter technology will help you easily track your water usage. You will be able to use Burlington Hydro’s online customer portal to get secure access to your water usage data and view your hourly water meter readings (release date to be determined).

The new meters will also help you prepare for upcoming bills:

  • You can set up email alerts through the online customer portal to be informed of increases in your water usage; and
  • Alerts about increased water use can help you make changes at your home or business to conserve water or investigate possible leaks.

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Q: When will this water meter upgrade happen?

A: In February 2024, approximately 300 homes and businesses in Burlington will be upgraded.

  • In early 2024, Halton Region will send letters to 300 customers informing them of their participation in the advanced metering infrastructure. The letter will include details
    about the installation of the new meter technology.

In August 2024, the Region will start upgrading meters at all homes and businesses in Burlington.

  • In summer 2024, Halton Region will begin contacting more residents and business owners to begin installing new meter technology at all homes and businesses in Burlington. We anticipate that all properties in Burlington will have the new water meter technology installed by the end of 2025.

The Region anticipates that the new meter technology will be installed across all communities in Halton by the end of 2026.

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Q: How does the new water meter technology work?

A: Your water meter measures your water usage. The new technology:

  • has a transmitter that will track your water usage information;
  • will encrypt your usage information to protect your privacy; and
  • uses wireless technology to send your water usage information to Halton Region.

This data is sent six times per day and takes less than one second to send. No personal information is transmitted.

Halton Region will provide your water usage information to Burlington Hydro, who will then include it on your utility bill. You can access this water usage information through Burlington Hydro’s online customer portal, once available. You can visit the online portal to help manage your water use.

There will be no changes to how or when you receive your utility bill from Burlington Hydro.

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Q: Is this new water meter technology safe?

A: The new meter technology is safe and complies with Health Canada’s guidelines for radio frequency exposure limits.

The transmitter’s radio frequency levels are significantly less than other common household devices, such as microwaves, WIFI routers or cell phones.

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Q: Where can I learn more?

A: It is important that you get information about the upgraded meters from trusted and reliable sources. To learn more about the meters or their installation at homes and businesses in Burlington, please visit halton.ca/water. You can also sign up for email updates about the new water meter technology on the Region’s website.

Related webpages include:

  • Modernization of Water Meter Infrastructure in Halton
    • Project page offering the installation schedule and information about how the new meters work.
  • Burlington Hydro
    • Learn about Burlington’s local hydro provider. Burlington water customers will soon be able to access their water usage and billing information using Burlington Hydro’s online customer portal (visit burlingtonhydro.com, select “My Account” from the main menu and login).

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2 thoughts on “Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2024 Roundup – Assisting Individuals at GO Stations; & Halton Region Water Meter Upgrades”

  1. Linda and Mitch Banks

    Hello Mayor and Councillors Stolte and Sharman

    For the past few years I have written to you about the state of disrepair of the paved walkways at Paletta Park….our jewel on Lake Ontario.
    There are many broken and crooked and shifted pavers that make the walkways both unsightly and especially very unsafe.
    They need to be repaired and replaced before someone falls and trips and is seriously hurt.
    I know this is not as newsworthy as the new Skyway Community Centre or the refurbishing of Robert Bateman School but it needs your attention this year.

    1. Hello and thank you for reaching out to Mayor Meed Ward and alerting her to this issue. Might we also suggest connecting with the City’s Service Burlington customer experience portal at city@burlington.ca? That main email inbox helps staff keep track of all public inquiries and connect them with the most appropriate department and staff to look into the issues and determine the best next steps. Thank you in advance. — Burlington Mayor’s Office Team

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