Region requests support from Province to address transit, public health and housing issues

Durham Region is pushing for support from the Province to address issues surrounding transit, public health and social housing.

Representatives from the Region met with provincial cabinet ministers during the 2019 Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference in Ottawa this week to discuss challenges impacting residents and businesses in Durham and partnering on solutions.

“Durham Region is one of Canada’s fastest growing regions,” said Regional Chair John Henry in a media release.

“We are experiencing immense economic and social change. To ensure our region’s continued growth and development, advance the quality of life for our residents, and support the future of our transportation network, we must work together to provide innovative, cost-effective and efficient services.”

According to that release, the Region is advocating for support and action on the following issues:

GO Lakeshore East Extension, Option 1: To enhance GO train service north of Highway 401 into Oshawa and Clarington. This extension is critical to the region’s future land use and transportation network – putting train service and stations where people and businesses are located.

Option 1 will help to support community-building, economic development and transit ridership growth for decades to come. It will provide value for our taxpayers via job stimulation, new homes, construction of office space, and over $1 billion in transit-oriented walkable urban development. And, it will provide an anchor in downtown Oshawa to drive Durham’s bold vision for transit.

Delivery of public health services across the region: Public health is working in Durham Region. The integration of our public health unit—within the regional government structure—has already created significant administrative efficiencies related to facilities, finance, human resources, information technology and legal services. It also enables collaboration with other human services to help better meet the needs of our vulnerable populations. Removing public health from the Region would be complex, have a significant financial impact, and eliminate efficiencies already being realized.

Social housing crisis: Affordable, accessible and suitable housing is essential for healthy communities, strong and vibrant neighbourhoods. Current housing programs are not meeting the needs of our residents—some rent-to-income housing applicants face a 14-year wait. Plus, service managers require flexibility to optimize provincial funding.

We need more housing choices, innovative options, and improved access to information (particularly for support services related to addiction and mental health issues). Through Durham’s Primary Care Outreach Program (PCOP), a paramedic and social worker provide front-line services to those who are homeless/underhoused or have mental health and addiction challenges; including referrals for housing, counselling and other services.

“The Region will continue these conversations with the province, ensuring that the needs of Durham’s residents and businesses are met,” said Chair Henry.

“We know that investing in our communities today will create a strong and resilient Durham of tomorrow.”

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