BUILDING ON THE PAST... EMBRACING THE FUTURE... TOGETHER
The theme for this year's Annual Report appropriately acknowledges the shift that the world took from one millennium to the next in the year 2000. It also celebrates the fact that, at this pivotal point in history, our achievements have firm roots in the past and that future initiatives will best be accomplished through collaboration with our many communities.
This is so very true for York Region. The many successes that York Region achieved in 2000 were made possible through a committed partnership with our nine member municipalities. Together, we developed and implemented outstanding and innovative service and program delivery models. And together we will continue to make York Region the preferred place for people seeking healthy and prosperous lifestyles, and for businesses striving to flourish in the modern marketplace.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SUCCESS
York Region experienced remarkable successes in 2000. One way to measure success is through sound fiscal management. For the third consecutive year, Regional Council adopted a budget with no tax levy increase. York Region takes great pride that taxes held the line without any reduction in services.
In fact, program and service delivery to residents and businesses expanded in 2000. Great progress was made in the development of a Regional transit system. Council and all nine area municipalities unanimously approved an implementation plan to amalgamate the transit systems in York Region, paving the way for the successful launch of the York Region Transit system in January 2001.
Additionally, Council agreed to a more ambitious streetscaping policy to beautify roads in urban areas and the Transportation Master Plan study was launched in an effort to develop solutions and a long term framework for the Region's transportation challenges. Our goal, as always, is to provide the best possible services to meet the needs of everyone within our borders, both now and in the future.
Another important initiative was the publishing of an updated and electronic version of YorkLink, the community services directory that lists over 560 human service providers, with information posted at no cost on the Regional website. With public health in mind, the passing of the York Region No-Smoking By-law took great strides in the protection of York Region residents from the health hazards caused by tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke. And Council agreed to set aside $62.5 million over the next five years for local hospital capital projects.
York Region is home to significant greenlands, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, and York Regional Council is committed to the protection and enhancement of the Region's unique landscape. In 2000, Council called for a provincial strategy to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine and objected to proposed residential expansions before the Ontario Municipal Board. Additionally, the York Regional Forest became the first public forest in Canada to be certified as "sustainable" according to international standards, and the Region's sewage system was the first in North America to be registered to ISO 14001, an international environmental management system.
SUCCESS THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
Yes, York Region experienced remarkable successes in 2000. Such achievements were made possible by the outstanding and visionary efforts of Regional Council who provided clear policies, direction and budgets that set the framework for York Region programs and services to flourish.
Special thanks must also go to our Chief Administrative Officer, Alan Wells, members of the Senior Management team and to all Regional staff. None of our successes would be possible without the support of a skilled, professional and dedicated administration.
It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with such a talented team of Councillors and staff at this exciting and important time in our Region's history, and I look forward to all that we will accomplish in the years ahead ... together.
Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer