Two Newmarket Organizations Honoured by Metrolinx for their Committment to Sustainable Commuting

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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) presented with the York Region Smart Commute Employer of the Year Award L-R: Rob Chaggares (SCCY Advisory Board Chair); Debra Scott (Pres. & CEO, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce); Andrea Stephenson (SCCY); Pat Lusink (SCCY); Ken Cheney (LSRCA); David Lembcke (LSRCA), Marianne Maertens (LSRCA) and Shauna Fernandes (LSRCA)

Newmarket, ON (November 25, 2016) – Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) and Southlake Regional Health Centre were honoured last night during the tenth annual Smart Commute Awards, hosted at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  LSRCA received the “York Region Employer of the Year” award and Southlake employee, Katharine Gatto, was presented with the “Smart Commute Champion of the Year Award”.

The “York Region Employer of the Year” award recognizes outstanding achievement in the areas of commitment, leadership, innovation and results in the Smart Commute program. LSRCA joined Smart Commute Central York (SCCY) in 2010 when they experienced parking challenges. With approximately 120 employees, LSRCA is proof that a small organization can have a big impact.  Sustainable travel is firmly embedded in the organization’s culture. This past summer LSRCA staff constructed a bike shed allowing employees to store their bikes in a secure place away from the elements. This has resulted in more staff cycling to work. The organization also has a robust carpool program, providing nine reserved spaces for carpoolers. In addition, LSRCA has purchased an electric vehicle for staff to carpool to meetings and installed two charging stations.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts in reducing climate changing carbons,” said Mike Walters, CAO of LSRCA. “We are acutely aware of how important it is for us, as the guardians of our watershed, to walk the talk. Encouraging our staff to find alternate ways of getting to work, is just one more step towards achieving our vision.”

Southlake Regional Health Centre employees and volunteers celebrate Katharine Gatto's Smart Commute Champion of the Year Award. L-R: Sarujen Nagarajan, Katharine Gatto, Jennifer Blight, Sandra Smith (VP), Tanya Gobin-Persad

Southlake Regional Health Centre employees and volunteers celebrate Katharine Gatto’s Smart Commute Champion of the Year Award.
L-R: Sarujen Nagarajan, Katharine Gatto, Jennifer Blight, Sandra Smith (VP), Tanya Gobin-Persad

Katharine Gatto, Human Resources Advisor at Southlake Regional Health Centre, was presented with the “Smart Commute Champion of the Year” award. Katharine promotes all Smart Commute campaigns and advocates with numerous departments to support sustainable travel to over 3,000 employees. Since joining the Smart Commute program, Southlake has achieved an 11% decrease in employee drive alone trips to the workplace.

“We are thrilled that Katharine is being recognized. She is committed to Smart Commute and spreads her passion and knowledge across the organization. We are proud to have her as part of the Southlake family,” said Sandra J. Smith, VP, Our People, Corporate Services & Chief Human Resources Officer, Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Smart Commute is a program of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. We help anyone who is going from A to B explore and try out smart travel options such as walking, cycling, transit and carpooling. Our goal is to ease gridlock while helping you save time and money. To date, more than 325 employers with 706,000 employees have signed on to the program and are designated Smart Commute workplaces.