Council approves accelerated funding for Bronte Regional Waterfront Park improvements

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – for immediate release

Council approves accelerated funding for Bronte Regional Waterfront Park improvements

Construction will be completed for Canada Day 150th anniversary celebration in 2017

Improvements to Bronte Regional Waterfront Park will be completed faster than originally planned in order to be ready for the Canada Day 150 anniversary celebration in 2017.

On May 30, 2016, Town Council approved a new capital project, Bronte Harbour Regional Waterfront Park – Phase 4, that will accelerate project funding from 2017 to 2016. The total budget of $600,000 will be split with Halton Region with the town’s share of $300,000 coming from the Parkland Reserve Fund.

The funding will go toward the construction of a shade tensile structure and performance plaza near the water’s edge that will accommodate community events and performances. An irrigation system for the lawn and garden areas will be installed along with electrical upgrades to service the new park infrastructure.

“Every year the Canada Day celebration in Bronte draws an enormous crowd and we’re anticipating even more visitors for the 150th anniversary,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “With thousands of people expected to attend, it makes sense to fast-track the improvements so the park is in the best shape possible for all to enjoy.”

The town and the region have jointly funded many improvements to the Bronte Harbour Regional Waterfront Park over the past several years including grading, drainage, pathways, pathway lighting, donor gardens, a gazebo and benches and a year-round washroom building.

Visitors to Bronte Harbour will notice another change this summer when the National One Design Sailing Academy moves its keelboats from the Bronte outer harbour marina facility to the mooring slips within the inner harbour. Town Council approved a commercial licence agreement allowing the company to offer sailing instructional programs to the community from a more visible location with more opportunities to create business partnerships within the Bronte Business Improvement Area.

“The town is very much focused on making improvements to both Bronte and Oakville Harbours so that they continue to be beautiful destinations for years to come,” said Chris Mark, director of Parks and Open Space. “A key part of this work is the development of a Harbours Master Plan that is currently underway. We’re looking forward to sharing more information about it with the community later this year.”

For more information about Oakville’s harbours and the Harbours Master Plan, visit the harbours page.


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Council approves accelerated funding for Bronte Regional Waterfront Park improvements

Home staging – the virtual way

Most home buyers begin their search independently using the internet, a medium that skews largely in favour of the visual. A property listing can rise or fall on the strength of its accompanying photographs. It’s a simple line to draw: great imagery generates more interest, which encourages more foot traffic to the property, which sets the stage for more potential offers. Over the last decade, home staging has played an increasing role in this process.

Home staging has evolved beyond simply tidying up, putting away the kids’ toys and cutting the lawn. It has become conceptual. Sellers are told to purge in order to create the illusion of space, to “bring the outside in” with window treatments and earth tones, and to depersonalize the décor so that their home becomes a blank canvas of potential.

In order to be done well, home staging takes time, physical energy and money. At least, that was the case before virtual staging. Now you don’t have to move a single piece of furniture to declutter or lift a paintbrush in order to redecorate. You can stage a house digitally.

Here are four things to consider about virtual staging.


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1. Enhancement and Convenience

Virtual staging is particularly useful when you’re selling an empty property. Statistics show vacant properties spend longer on the market and sell for less than furnished properties. It’s hard for buyers to imagine the potential of a room while staring at a blank space. Empty rooms also seem smaller so it’s difficult for people to tell how much furniture can fit in the space without a few pieces to hint at scale. Virtual staging solves both of these problems. With the right keystrokes, you can insert appropriately-sized furniture to demonstrate the size of rooms and you can suggest how the space can be utilized.

Virtual staging can also be beneficial for furnished homes. It might be difficult for a family with young children to keep a pristine, minimally furnished house if they are trying to sell. It could be easier for them to leave the house untouched and digitally remove unwanted items from rooms. Or, if a house has an off-putting décor — say 1970s psychedelic — it is far simpler to neutralize the colours and textures with the wave of a mouse rather than a bucket full of brushes. Or if the sellers have a tenant and therefore lack access to all rooms to stage the house as they’d like, virtual staging can be used to update furniture and other aspects of the place.

“It’s hard for buyers to imagine the potential of a room while staring at a blank space.”

2. Cost

The price tag for traditional staging can range from $2,000 to 4,000. Those funds must cover the cost of the designer, furniture storage and the rental of any additional furniture and furnishings.

Virtual staging costs only a tenth of that figure. If you’re virtually staging an empty house you can expect to pay $90 per photo. Many companies offer graduated package deals, i.e. $225 for three photos, $280 for four photos and $325 for five photos. Since you’re only spotlighting key rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and living room, five photos is often sufficient.

If you opt to erase existing furniture and replace items through virtual staging, the cost of your bill may double. Each photo will cost an average of $145. Virtual staging companies can also upgrade a property’s furnishings, wall colour, flooring, or even landscape the grounds.

3. Truth in Advertising

It’s important to make clear in the listing that these are virtually staged photographs. You want potential buyers to feel guided and supported by your efforts, not manipulated or misled. Label each photograph as ‘Virtually Staged’ and pair it with photos of the actual rooms so they can compare.

4. Process

Companies use 3D rendering technology that give the finished photos an impressive level of realism. The process generally goes as follows:

A)  Send your chosen company photos of the rooms you’d like staged. Ideally the rooms are empty but you can also opt for the more expensive packages that involve staging furnished rooms.

B)  Browse through the company’s gallery and choose from their furniture set options, or allow their design team to make the selections for you.

C)  Wait two to three days to receive jpg files of virtually staged spaces.

D)  Prepare to wait two to three days longer if you’re staging a furnished room, since “removing” furniture requires more time.

E)  Feel free to submit changes if you are unhappy with the final photographs. Check the company’s terms and conditions, since some revisions are offered for free while others will incur an additional charge.

This is the first in a two-part story on Virtual Home Staging. Watch for more practical tips in Part Two, coming in next month’s issue of The REALTOR® EDGE newsletter.

 

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Home staging – the virtual way

5 Web Design Trends for 2016

Web design in 2016 is about to go minimalist. At least that’s what the experts are predicting. If you’re thinking about redesigning your website or about to make your first foray into website ownership, here are five website trends experts say we should expect to dominate this year.

1. Flat Design

Over that past couple of years web design has leaned towards naturalistic imagery ie photographs or 3D illustrations. It seems this trend is rolling back. Now web designers are using 2D images that often look like icons. These image are smaller in terms of file size and so enable pages to load more quickly and websites to work faster.

The flat design look is very modern, it employs bright colours and makes websites more usable because the focus is not on bells or whistles but on enabling you to carry out your tasks with the least amount of distraction, confusion and delay.

2. Responsive web designs

Last April Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update which would rank websites more favourably if they were optimised for mobile devices. Google’s reasoning was simple: websites are used by a growing variety of devices. Regardless of the device and its screen size, websites should display optimally on all devices. Users should not have to zoom in to read copy, should be able to tap buttons with ease, scroll easily and use any other functionality the website offers. Google’s mobile-friendly push encouraged web designers to build sites that would automatically display well on every screen ie respond to the device. Responsive websites can enlarge or shrink content, they can hide items that get in the way or rearrange content so that it’s easier to read. It’s a trend that grew in 2015 and promises to expand further in 2016.

3. Cinemagraphs

It’s hard to believe that the GIF turns 30 next year, but like a fine wine it’s been getting better with age. The blinky, animated graphic has always been playful and fun, and now that millennials are pairing it with captions it has successfully evolved it into a storytelling device with a more sophisticated level of humour.

In 2016 the GIF looks set to advance once more, this time into a cinemagraph. Cast your mind back to Harry Potter and those newspaper covers with one or two animated features. This is the cinemagraph. It’s actually been around for a while, but this this year the more spare, cinematic style of use is likely to become as ubiquitous as the caption.

4. Flash Video

Adobe’s Flash video was once a popular software program for streaming video. However, its popularity has been on the wane since 2010 when Apple decided not to use it on mobile devices claiming that it consumed too much battery and lacked robust security. Flash’s reputation took a further battering in last year when the Flash Player was found to be vulnerable to hacking. Mozilla responded by blocking all versions of Flash for Firefox users and Facebook’s security chief tweeted that it might be time Adobe set an end-of-life date for the software. While the format continues to be used on larger streaming sites like Youtube, this year is likely to bring it closer to retirement.

5. Card-style designs

Cards have proved popular on websites because they make it easy to differentiate between blocks of content, they are easy to illustrate and highly versatile. Cards also fit perfectly into the responsive design trend as they can be made to stack one on top of the other on smaller screens.

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5 Web Design Trends for 2016

4 Tech tools you should know about

Snip.ly

Snip.ly is a link shortener similar to Bitly. However, it can be used more strategically as it enables you to share articles while driving traffic back to your own site.

Every time you share a page using snip.ly the app adds a ‘call to action’ at the bottom of the destination page directing the reader to a selected page on your website. This means while you’re sharing valuable content and cultivating relationships with other content creators, you’re also self-promoting. Win: win.

A basic Snip.ly account is free so you can try before you buy. The basic account gives you access to analytics and 1000 clicks a month. The paid business accounts offer more control over customisation of buttons, logo, etc.

 

Infogr.am

When it comes to real estate people love data. The only thing better than copious data is data presented in an appealing, comprehensible style. Enter Infogr.am, a free web application that takes your spreadsheets and csv files and hands you back beautiful, interactive infographs.

You don’t need to be a visual artist or technologically-gifted to enable this transformation. All you need is the data you want to share. The site lets you pick a template, theme, chart type, and interactive element (ie a zoomable map), then lets you shape it all with a WYSIWYG editor. You can share the resulting infograph on social media or embed it on your own site.

The free account allows you 10 infographics and 10 uploaded images. If you like what you see you can opt for the paid-for Pro account, Business account or Enterprise account.

 

GoConnect

GoConnect aims to simplify the life of a real estate agent by organizing their tasks, business events and contacts in one portable toolbox. The app was designed, built, and tested by real estate agents, this is apparent in features like the deal-related workflow which functions based on four business events: new listings, buyer under contract, sold listings and post-closing. Agents can also add every person relevant to a deal as a contact in the app and contact them easily by phone, text or email.

The app was built for the busy Realtor®, the design tries to be as simple and efficient as possible. It was also created as a mobile-first application so displays optimally on mobile phones.

For the last few years it has only been available for iPhones but an android version was released this year.

 

Nimble

Nimble is a contact management system that helps you understand and communicate with your contacts more efficiently. The app will not only remember your complete history with a person ie email conversations and actions taken, it will also populate a contact profile for the person with additional details it pulls from data available in the public domain online. With only a name and email address Nimble can analyse your contact’s social media activities across a range of platforms helping you to determine which messages your contact will be most receptive to ie are they buying, selling, renting, happily settled but looking for a friend?

The app uses an intricate set of links between backdoor data and front-facing social media to create instant profiles that you can see in the app simply by hovering over a contact name with your cursor.

The additional data Nimble pulls can make it easier to maintain a relationship with contacts. Your fuller contact profile will indicate when to send a card for a birthday or offer congratulations on a new job.

The software plugs directly into your browser and is easy to navigate. The simplicity of use belies the complicated tasks the app carries out off screen

Users can try a 14-day trial to see how well it suits their needs.

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4 Tech tools you should know about

Town of Oakville 2015 Livable by Design Awards nomination period is now open

Tuesday, May 05, 2015 – for immediate release

Town of Oakville 2015 Livable by Design Awards nomination period is now open

Excellence deserves to be recognized

The Town of Oakville’s 2015 Livable by Design Awards celebrates urban design, heritage and green building excellence in our community and recognizes those who have developed well-designed and well-executed projects. Nominations will be accepted until Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.

“Residents and business owners take great pride in contributing to the livability that Oakville encompasses,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “The Livable by Design Awards provides an opportunity to recognize these individuals and companies who have incorporated this livability into their urban design.”

To be eligible for the awards, the project must have been completed between July 1, 2009 and April 30, 2015, located within the geographic limits of the Town of Oakville and be visible from areas accessible to the public. Submission details are available on the town’s website.

The Livable by Design Award of Excellence will be presented to the project that exemplifies design excellence and achieves the evaluation criteria. Other outstanding projects will be eligible for a Livable by Design Award of Distinction.

The Livable by Design Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction will be decided by the Selection Committee representing the disciplines of urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, heritage and sustainable building. The Selection Committee will be looking for entries that include a number of the evaluation criteria such as: integration with surroundings, supporting sustainability and green building practices, demonstrating creativity and innovation, and preserving cultural and natural resources. Members of the committee will review all complete submissions and choose the award recipients.

Again this year, Oakville residents will be encouraged to vote for their favourite project to receive the Citizens’ Choice Award. Photos and descriptions of all submissions will be available on the town’s website for review this summer. Residents will be able to cast their vote between September 1 and October 1, 2015.

The Livable by Design Awards will be presented on November 12, 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville.

For more information, please visit the Livable by Design Awards page.


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Town of Oakville named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – for immediate release

Town of Oakville named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers

The Town of Oakville today was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2015 as selected by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Oakville was recognized for its commitment to environmental sustainability, its LEED Gold and Silver certified buildings, and its earth-friendly employee and community initiatives.

“Council is committed to creating a cleaner, greener and more livable Oakville,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Our efforts have shaped a sustainable community and provided residents with enormous benefits. Being recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers is appreciated.”

Launched in 2007, the Canada’s Greenest Employers Award is part of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition conducted by Mediacorp Canada. This special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a corporate culture of environmental awareness, have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives and are attracting people to their organizations because of their environmental leadership.

“A total of 60 employers were selected from across Canada for this designation and we are proud to be one of them,” said Town of Oakville CAO Ray Green. “Our actions demonstrate our commitment to creating a sustainable community. It’s ingrained in the way we think and conduct our business.”

Some of the reasons why the town was selected as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers (2015) are:

introduced and manages an impressive number of initiatives across the town, including a sustainable purchasing program, waste reduction and diversion programs at facilities (and ongoing waste audits as part of the Towards Zero Waste program), green fleet initiatives, promotion of the SmartCommute program, and the development of a road ecology strategy to address impacts of the roadways on wildlife corridors and the environment.
as a lakeside community, the town has worked to clean and improve the town’s Oakville and Bronte Harbours through the adoption of over 200 standards set by Boating Ontario, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The town received the 2013 Safeguarding the Environment Award from the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC). Oakville was the first municipal marina in Ontario and one of six organizations across Canada to receive the Five Anchor Diamond rating.
leading by example, a number of town facilities boast many unique environmental features, including solar panel arrays, rainwater harvesting systems, geothermal heating and cooling, recycled content and regionally sourced materials, a green roof, permeable paving, and drought-resistant landscaping. The town developed a sustainable building policy that requires all new municipal buildings over 500 square metres to be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard. The town currently has one LEED Gold building and two LEED Silver facilities.
published Sustainable Living – Building a Greener Oakville for builders and residents alike. The guide showcases over 30 Oakville structures incorporating sustainable design.
reaches out to the next generation through the EcoSchool Newsletter that is published twice each year and distributed to all area schools. The newsletter highlights a range of topics, from stewardship program on water to energy conservation.
works with the community as partners to protect and enhance Oakville’s environment, foster environmental stewardship, prepare for climate change impacts such as extreme weather, and raise the awareness of the importance of community actions through outreach and education.
as a forward looking municipality the town established the position of director, Environmental Policy, who oversees a formal Environmental Management Team responsible for the implementation of the town’s corporate Environmental Strategic Plan.

“We’re committed to keeping Oakville on a path towards a sustainable future,” added Mayor Burton. “We continue to adopt new and innovative processes and technologies that reinforce this commitment and provide our community with top results.”

To stay informed about town’s environmental initiatives and key events throughout the year visit oakville.ca

Employers who submit for Canada’s Greenest Employers are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. the unique environmental initiatives and programs they have developed;
  2. the extent to which they have been successful in reducing the organization’s own environmental footprint;
  3. the degree to which their employees are involved in these programs and whether they contribute any unique skills; and
  4. the extent to which these initiatives have become linked to the employer’s public identity and whether they attract new people to the organization.

The full list of this year’s winners were announced in The Globe and Mail. For more information about Canada’s Greenest Employers, visit the Canada’s Top 100 Employers website.


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What’s happening at Town Hall — December 15 to 19, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014 – for immediate release

What’s happening at Town Hall — December 15 to 19, 2014

Do you want to know what’s happening at Town Hall? Are you interested in participating in local government? Here’s a highlight of what’s happening December 15 to 19.

December 15

Administrative Services Committee 
Location: Town Hall, Oakville and Trafalgar rooms, 7 – 10 p.m.

Consent items
By-law 2014-134 – 2015 Interim Tax Levy
Tax Apportionments
2014 Noise Exemption Permits Issued
2014 Municipal Election Accessibility Initiatives
Oakville Universal Design Standards for town facilities
By-law 2014-123 – Records Retention By-law Update

Discussion items
By-law 2014-113 to address Purchasing regulations, processes and methods and to rescind By-law 2010-130
Internal Audit 2013 Annual Report and Status of 2014 Annual Work Plan
Diversity Initiatives Status Update
2014 Accessibility Status Update
September 30th 2014 Financial Progress Report
Appointments to Citizen Committees – Committee of Adjustment, Community Spirit Awards Selection Committee, Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee and Property Standards Committee

Advisory Committee minutes
Accessibility Advisory Committee (August 14, 2014 )
Accessibility Advisory Committee (September 11, 2014 )

Community Services Committee Meeting 
Location: Bronte and Palermo rooms – 7 – 10 p.m.

Consent item
By-law Amendment 2014-121 to By-law 1984-1 (The Traffic By‑law)

Discussion items
Oakville’s State of the Environment (SOER) Report 2014 Annual Report
Request for All-Way Stop Control at Grand Oak Trail and Blue Holly Crescent / Edgerose Lane
Fourth Line Reconstruction (Speers Road to Wyecroft Road) Design Approval

December 16

Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee 
Location: Town Hall, Palermo Room, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

What’s happening at Town Hall provides an overview of upcoming Town of Oakville meetings and other events. The public is welcome to attend these meetings. For agendas and copies of reports, please visit the agendas and minutes page. For more information and additional upcoming meetings, please visit the Council calendar or news and notices page.

For more information

Kathy Patrick
Supervisor, Council and Committee Services
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 4235
kathy.patrick@oakville.ca


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What’s happening at Town Hall — December 15 to 19, 2014

Urban designers from across the area take to the streets of downtown Oakville

Tuesday, November 04, 2014 – for immediate release

Urban designers from across the area take to the streets of downtown Oakville

On October 17, over 30 urban designers from across the GTA met in Oakville to participate in the Municipal Urban Designers’ Roundtable (MUDR) biannual meeting.

The typical meeting agenda focuses on presentations and discussions on urban design projects and sharing new ideas, however, the focus of this gathering was initiating Project Crosswalk in downtown Oakville. Over 40 designs were submitted by MUDR members but only one design was chosen to be painted at the crosswalk at Robinson and George Streets in downtown Oakville. The winning design entitled The Treeswalk, by City of Toronto Urban Designer Ran Chen, was implemented by a very enthusiastic group.

“This type of walkable art is an example of what urban designers call tactical urbanism – small-scale changes generated by community-based ideas that can bring about permanent change,” said Christina Tizzard, manager, Urban Design at the Town of Oakville. “There are many small changes we can make as a community that not only improve the look of an area, but can change the feeling and create a greater sense of place.”

To check out MUDR’s handy work, stop by Robinson and George Streets downtown Oakville, or watch the time-lapse photography video of the installation.


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Town of Oakville awarded silver for sustainable design

Transit building receives LEED Silver certification from Canada Green Building Council

At Council on April 28, 2014, Mayor Rob Burton presented a LEED Silver certification plaque received from the Canada Green Building Council for Oakville Transit’s new building on Wyecroft Road.

The building is the second town facility to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The town received LEED Gold certification for the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in 2012.

“This Council is committed to adding facilities and green building,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Achieving a LEED Silver certification is a significant accomplishment that reflects the town’s dedication to sustainability practices that enhance our environment and reduce operational costs.”

The Canada Green Building Council, which encourages and facilitates the development of sustainable buildings in Canada, evaluates projects according to six LEED categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality, and innovation and design.

“The town approaches every new facility design with LEED objectives in mind,” said Shelly Switzer, director of facilities and construction management for the Town of Oakville. “LEED Silver certification reflects the dedication of the entire project team to the principles of environmentally sustainable design, construction and operation.”

The transit building received LEED credits for energy performance, stormwater management, water use reduction, ozone protection, light pollution reduction, water-efficient landscaping, indoor air quality, green housekeeping and for having bicycle storage and changing facilities to support alternative transportation.

The building has several significant features including:

The town’s first geothermal heating and cooling system that reduces the facility’s electrical and natural gas demands.
Permeable paving that reduces stormwater runoff by 50 per cent.
A 1,000-litre underground stormwater tank that collects rainwater for bus washing.
Spaces for 55 bicycles and four carpools to encourage alternative transportation.
Landscaping that includes drought-resistant native species for reduced watering.

The $37 million facility located at 430 Wyecroft Road was constructed with two-thirds funding assistance provided by the federal and provincial governments through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The building was designed by IBI Group and built by PCL Constructors, and took 11 months to complete. The nearly 25,000 square-metre building opened in 2011 and has indoor storage for up to 175 buses, 19 service bays, and administrative and operations offices.

Through the Livable Oakville Official Plan and the town’s Sustainable Building Design guidelines, which came into effect in 2009, new town buildings over 500 square metres in building area are required to be designed and built to achieve LEED Silver certification. Green building design and construction adheres to Council’s strategic goals of enhancing the town’s natural, cultural, social and economic environments.


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Town of Oakville awarded silver for sustainable design

Youth Week logo design contest encourages creativity and learning

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – for immediate release

Youth Week logo design contest encourages creativity and learning

Winning logo will brand 2014 Oakville Youth Week

Are you the creative type? Do you enjoy all things digital? The Town of Oakville is inviting youth aged 12 to 19 to submit original and innovative designs as part of the 2014 Youth Week Logo Design Contest.

Oakville Youth Services is looking for a fresh logo that showcases Oakville’s amazing youth and celebrates their participation in the community. The winning logo design will be used to brand all 2014 Oakville Youth Week materials.

The contest winner will receive a $100 gift card to a local store of his or her choice. In addition, the top five entries will be invited to attend a hands-on workshop with the town’s award-winning graphic designer and illustrator Jeff Smalley to develop their logo design further and learn a few cool tips of the trade.

Logo design submissions should be sent as a pdf or jpeg file to oakvilleyouth@oakville.ca or dropped off in person at any Town of Oakville youth centre by Friday, February 28, 2014.

Visit the Youth page for more information about the contest.


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Youth Week logo design contest encourages creativity and learning