Celebrate staff who keep towns running smoothly, safely

They keep our municipalities running smoothly and safely with well-maintained roads, reliable transit, state-of-the-art water treatment and recycling facilities, first response and forest conservation.

They’re public works professionals and York Region will be celebrating the work they do during National Public Works Week from May 20 to 27. Events and programs include a Paint-a-Plow contest for Grade 5 students and school tours at regional facilities and forests.

National Public Works Week is celebrated across North America in coordination with Canadian and Ontario Public Works Associations. It’s designed to increase awareness of the importance of public works and recognizes the professionals that work behind the scenes. This year’s theme is ‘Connecting the World through Public Works.’

York Region employs more than 800 public works professionals in its Environmental Services and Transportation Services Departments. Last year, they continued COVID-19 wastewater surveillance testing and were responsible for delivering safe and clean drinking water that achieved a 100 per cent water standard score.

Public Works staff also monitored 894 traffic controls and signals. They built, operated and maintained 4,300 lane kilometres of regional roads and infrastructure. They completed construction of two York Region Transit bus terminals: one in Markham and the other in Vaughan. They processed more than 368,000 tonnes of waste, 94 per cent of which was diverted landfills. They also repaired and added a new accessible York Regional Forest trail at Hollidge tract in Whitchurch-Stouffville, among many other things.

National Public Works Week wraps up with a Family Fun Day featuring public works trucks and equipment, mascots, a paint-a-plow showcase and a barbecue lunch in support of a local charity. Videos offer an inside look into public works facilities and services, including recycling, forestry and water, public transit, traffic operations technology and the road operations fleet. It takes place Saturday, May 27 at the York Region Public Works Operations Centre at 90 Bales Dr. E., East Gwillimbury.

File photo. 

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