Updating the Regional Official Plan

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This project supports the Region of Waterloo's strategic focus area(s):

Schematic graphic logo representing growth

What is this project about?

Waterloo Region is growing. Our population is expected to reach 923,000 people and 470,000 jobs by the year 2051, and we want your ideas on how and where to grow! We are currently reviewing the Regional Official Plan (ROP), a key document that guides long-term growth and development in the Region to 2051.

Please visit our Storymap for an interactive tour of the ROPR project.

How do I get involved?

We know people living and working in the region are passionate and eager to help shape future community growth. We encourage you to comment on project updates, ask questions or attend a public meeting to have your say.

This page will be updated regularly with project updates and opportunities to interact with the Project Team. Feel free to ask questions using the Q&A tab below.

Visit the Region's ROP main homepage for more information.

What are the key elements of the ROP review?

This review builds on the existing ROP, and will look at:

  • how and where our cities and townships might grow;
  • what kind of housing we should build;
  • how to continue to host a variety of jobs that residents need;
  • how to protect farmland, our environment and plan for climate change.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to share your ideas. If you have questions about the ROP go to the Q&A tab below.

This project supports the Region of Waterloo's strategic focus area(s):

Schematic graphic logo representing growth

What is this project about?

Waterloo Region is growing. Our population is expected to reach 923,000 people and 470,000 jobs by the year 2051, and we want your ideas on how and where to grow! We are currently reviewing the Regional Official Plan (ROP), a key document that guides long-term growth and development in the Region to 2051.

Please visit our Storymap for an interactive tour of the ROPR project.

How do I get involved?

We know people living and working in the region are passionate and eager to help shape future community growth. We encourage you to comment on project updates, ask questions or attend a public meeting to have your say.

This page will be updated regularly with project updates and opportunities to interact with the Project Team. Feel free to ask questions using the Q&A tab below.

Visit the Region's ROP main homepage for more information.

What are the key elements of the ROP review?

This review builds on the existing ROP, and will look at:

  • how and where our cities and townships might grow;
  • what kind of housing we should build;
  • how to continue to host a variety of jobs that residents need;
  • how to protect farmland, our environment and plan for climate change.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to share your ideas. If you have questions about the ROP go to the Q&A tab below.

  • ROP Amendment No. 6 Notice of Adoption

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    With thanks to all members of the community who took time to participate in consultation throughout this stage of the ROP review process.

    The Notice of Adoption has been issued with respect to Amendment No. 6 to Regional Official Plan: An amendment to establish the planning framework for accommodating Waterloo Region’s forecasted population and employment growth to 2051, in conformity with the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Sections 17, 21 and 26 of the Planning Act.

    On August 18, 2022, Regional Council passed By-law No. 22-038 to adopt Amendment No. 6 to the Regional Official Plan (ROP) in accordance with the Planning Act. This Notice summarizes the purpose of the amendment, the next steps in the approval process, and explains how to obtain additional information.

  • Council Adopts Regional Official Plan Amendment (growth components)

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    NEWS RELEASE

    Addition of 121,000 homes, 15-minute neighbourhoods among plan highlights

    Waterloo Region – Regional Council voted to adopt the growth components of staff’s proposed amendment to the Region’s Official Plan (ROP) at a special meeting of Council on Thursday, August 18, 2022. The decision comes after a two-year process to review the Region’s Official Plan (ROP) to 2051 - a requirement to plan for projected population and job growth.

    The adopted amendment includes plans for the addition of 121,000 housing units that support a range-and-mix of housing, development of 15-minute neighbourhoods in all cities and townships, protection of the Region’s natural and agricultural resources, and ensures supply and distribution of employment lands for job growth and economic development.

    The review process is meant to best position the Region to achieve its vision for an inclusive, thriving, and sustainable region of connected rural and urban communities with global reach, fostering opportunities for current and future generations. This is achieved by identifying community (housing, commercial, institutional) and employment areas that support critical community building and climate change objectives.

    “We feel this approach to growth is ambitious, achievable, and responsible,” explained Rod Regier, the Region’s Commissioner of Planning, Development & Legislative Services. “It achieves our established community building objectives, prioritizes intensification, builds on a strong employment base, and importantly delivers on housing, as it promotes diverse range-and-mix of housing that will improve both choice and affordability.”

    The Region of Waterloo’s population is forecasted to grow to 923,000 people by 2051 and the ROP, a long-term tool used to manage growth and development, will the guide future development, transportation and infrastructure within the Region. The next stage of review will focus further on policies on the natural, agricultural and water systems, in addition to the transportation system, mineral aggregates and overall plan implementation.

  • The Proposed Amendment to the ROP

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    Staff have developed and published the proposed ROP amendment (PDL-CPL-22-24), which includes policies to implement the endorsed recommended approach to growth for the Region and revisions to the draft policies based on area municipal, stakeholder, and public feedback.

    The proposed ROP amendment reflects the Region's strong commitment to inclusivity, thriving communities, and sustainability. The proposed amendment shows Waterloo Region’s leadership on climate action and equity through policies aligned to enable the community’s transformation into an equitable, prosperous, resilient low-carbon community over the next 30 years.

    The proposed ROP amendment includes revisions in response to feedback received from the community since the release of the draft amendment on June 24, 2022. This includes feedback from the public information sessions held in early July, the statutory public open house on July 19, and the statutory public meeting on July 27. Most of the revisions are editorial nature to improve clarity and policy implementation. The more substantive policy changes are listed in the background section below, and further described in Attachment F.

    Regional Planning and Works Committee will be virtually presented the recommendation report on Thursday, August 11th beginning at 3:30PM.

  • The Recommended Approach to Growth and Draft Policies

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    Staff have developed and published a draft Regional Official Plan Amendment, which includes a recommended approach to growth for the Region and draft policies.

    The recommended approach to growth is ambitious, achievable, and responsible. It achieves our community building objectives via four key features:

    • Best advances the community’s key priorities outlined in our strategic plan
    • Prioritizes intensification to retrofit existing neighbourhoods into 15-minute neighbourhoods
    • Targets community area expansions to enable urban areas in the Townships to become 15-minute neighbourhoods with a full range of housing types
    • Builds on a strong employment base

    The Recommended Approach to Growth (PDL-22-20) best positions Waterloo Region to achieve its vision for an inclusive, thriving, and sustainable region of connected rural and urban communities with global reach, fostering opportunities for current and future generations. This is achieved by delivering strategic growth that supports critical community building and climate change objectives, while also meeting Provincial obligations to accommodate forecasted population and jobs to a 2051 planning horizon. UPDATE - Please note that PDL-CPL-22-20, including all appendices are now available in the Document Library, to the right.

    The accompanying policies in the draft amendment (PDL-22-21) reflect the Region’s strong commitment to inclusivity, thriving communities, and sustainability. The draft amendment shows Waterloo Region’s leadership on climate action and equity through policies aligned to enable the community’s transformation into an equitable, prosperous, resilient low-carbon community over the next 30 years.

    Together, the Recommended Approach to Growth and these draft policies will have a significant influence over how our community will transition into an inclusive, thriving, and sustainable Waterloo Region, both within existing and future neighbourhoods, and for current and future residents.

    Regional Council will be presented recommendation reports on Wednesday, June 29th beginning at 1:00PM.

    Have something to add to the conversation? Register a delegation.

    Future updates will provide additional information on public information meetings on the Draft ROP Amendment. Save the dates in your calendar:

    • Wednesday, July 6th (6:00PM – 7:30PM) – Virtual Public Information Meeting – Register Here
    • Wednesday, July 13th (2PM-4PM & 6PM-8PM) In-person Public Information Meetings (Location to be announced)
    • Thursday, July 14th (6:00PM – 7:30PM) – Virtual Public Information Meeting – Register Here
    • Tuesday, July 19th (2PM-4PM & 6PM-8PM) – Statutory Public Open House (150 Frederick St, Kitchener)

    Wednesday, July 27th (3:00PM) Virtual Statutory Public Meeting


  • Another Quick Update on Meeting Dates

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    The ROP team has another brief update on the preparatory work on the recommended approach to growth.

    Staff are working through some of the final items in the review process, in addition to incorporating the perspectives of our Area Municipal Councils into the recommendation and associated draft policies.

    To accommodate incorporation of all feedback, we are again adjusting the schedule for the ROP this month.

    The Special Planning and Works Committee meeting currently planned for June 22nd will be moved to June 29th. This will also require the statutory public meeting (on the upcoming Draft ROP Amendment) to be moved from July 20th, 2022 to the week of July 25th, so as to allow us to meet the notification requirements under the Planning Act for this process.

    The ROP team appreciates that this is yet another change in an already intensive process, however we believe allowing this additional time will improve the outcome on the overall recommended approach to growth.

    Thank you for your patience through this process and we look forward to June 29th.

  • We are listening: updated date and time for recommended growth approach - June 22, 2022 at 1pm

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    As you are likely aware, the ROP team have been working to ensure that we are engaging on the draft Land Needs Assessment (LNA). Over the last six-weeks in particular, we have been meeting with stakeholders and supporting area municipal staff in conversations with Area Municipal Councils.

    While we planned to present our recommendation on a recommended growth approach at a special Council meeting on June 15th, we understand that municipal Councils are meeting and gathering feedback through June 13, 2022.

    In order to continue the meaningful conversations on the LNA, provide area municipal councils more time to review and provide feedback on the growth options outlined in the LNA, and comprehensively assess the feedback, we will reschedule our special Planning and Works meeting to June 22 at 1:00PM. The meeting will precede the regularly scheduled meeting of Council. This additional week will allow us to keep listening and more comprehensively take in and reflect on all feedback and suggestions.

    Thank you for your understanding, your participation in this process and we look forward to a fulsome discussion on June 22nd, starting at 1pm.

  • Reminder - May 18th Special Public Input Meeting on Growth Options

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    We're growing. The questions is...how? The growth options (PDL-CPL-22-11) are on the table. Right now! Please join the conversation and provide your thoughts and feedback at the May 18th Virtual Special Public Input Meeting (3pm start). Sign up to be a delegation.

    Also, for those that are curious about this process and would like to review some of the material associated with the draft Land Needs Assessment, please browse the Document Library (right column of this Engage page), where you will find a variety of presentation slide decks, videos, background technical reports, regional council reports, and the draft LNA.

    We will be accepting feedback on the draft LNA and growth option until May 27th, so we invite you to please get in touch with the ROP team if you have any questions or would like to talk about the options (regionalofficialplanreview@regionofwaterloo.ca).


  • What Are Your Thoughts on our Growth Options?

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    April 12, 2022 marked the official release of our draft Land Needs Assessment (LNA) (Report PDL-CPL-22-11) and we are excited to continue some important conversations with members of our community around how they see our region accommodating forecasted population and employment growth - we are expecting to add approximately 300,000 new residents and 178,000 new jobs to this community over the next 30 years.

    A LNA is basically a document, based on an analysis of required technical information and calculations, that helps us determine how much land we may need in the future. The draft LNA took direction from Council in Fall 2021 and presents three growth options for community area and two growth options for employment area.

    Over the next six weeks (April 12 to May 27, 2022), we would like to invite you to join us at any or all of the following:

    • Join us for a virtual, interactive Q & A session with Regional staff. Staff will provide a short overview of the draft LNA and then invite participants to breakout rooms for more focused conversation. To register, please select a registration link, below. Both sessions will provide the same information

    • A live-stream of an All-Council (Regional and Area Municipal councillors) Education session on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 1-3pm (link TBD);

    • A Special Public Input Meeting is being scheduled for mid-May. This meeting will provide an opportunity for you to delegate in front of Regional Council and share your thoughts, ideas, feedback, and concerns about the draft LNA and associated growth options.

    • participate in a brief, four-question survey that asks for your thoughts on the growth options. The responses we receive through this survey, and through all engagement between April 12-May 27, 2022, will be summarized and presented to Regional Council in mid-June.

    • Regional staff are also available to meet with you (individually or as a group), upon request, to answer any questions or provide clarification on the growth options. Please feel free to reach out to regionalofficialplanreview@regionofwaterloo.ca, and we can work together to find a time to discuss this project further.

    We look forward to working together with you, with our colleagues, and with other community members to help Waterloo Region reach its full potential! Please keep an eye on this page, as we will be posting more information in the coming weeks.





  • NEW! Draft Housing Policies

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    We have added another set of draft policies related to housing for you to review and provide us with some feedback by May 6, 2022.

    Housing is a source of much conversation in Waterloo Region. As a Region, we are committed to making housing affordable for all. To meet this commitment, it is important that we consider the various needs of our current and future residents.

    These proposed draft housing policies are a first attempt at how we see the policies being included into the ROP, but we want your thoughts on if you think we're on the right track, if you think we should make some revisions, or if you think we need to go in another direction. The draft housing policies touch on areas such as affordable housing targets (rental and ownership), advocacy for rental tenure zoning, inclusionary zoning, gentle intensification and "missing middle" housing, and supporting the Region's clean energy transition and equitable climate action.

    We also have some Housing virtual display boards that we hope will provide you with some context on what these policies do, why we need to include them in the ROP. A PDF version of the draft housing holicies virtual display boards are also available to the right, in the Document Library.

    If you'd like to chat with regional staff about any of the draft policies, or if you have any questions about the process going forward, please feel free to reach out to us at regionalofficialplanreview@regionofwaterloo.ca and we would be happy to set up a virtual meeting time. Or if you would like to submit any specific thoughts or comments on the proposed draft housing policies, please take a few minutes to complete the Housing Policies comment form.

  • Take a look! Draft Policies on Major Transit Station Areas and Regional Employment Areas

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    We have just posted some proposed draft policies on Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA) and proposed draft policies on Regional Employment Areas (REA) that will, after further revisions, consultation, and feedback, be incorporated into our Regional Official Plan (ROP).

    MTSAs are generally defined as 500m to 800m around a Rapid Transit stop. They are areas intended to accommodate higher density, mixed-use, transit-supportive neighbourhoods that support access to local amenities, jobs and housing.

    REAs are areas protected in the ROP for clusters of businesses and economic activities, such as manufacturing, warehouses and some offices (e.g., RT Park in Waterloo, East Side Lands in North Cambridge, Highway 401/97 are in North Dumfries). In order to support the forecasted job growth to the year 2051, and support the creation of complete communities, it's important that the Region identifies and protects the right supply of employment lands, at the right time, in a variety of rural and urban locations.

    These draft policies are a first attempt at how we see the policies being included into the ROP, but we want your thoughts on if you think we're on the right track, if you think we should make some revisions, or if you think we need to go in another direction.

    We also have some MTSA virtual display boards and REA virtual display boards that we hope will provide you with some context on what these policies do, why we need to include them in the ROP, and some history regarding how the endorsed boundaries were created. A .pdf version of the MTSA virtual display boards and REA virtual display boards are also available to the right, in the Document Library.

    If you'd like to chat with regional staff about any of the draft policies, or if you have any questions about the process going forward, please feel free to reach out to us at regionalofficialplanreview@regionofwaterloo.ca and we would be happy to set up a virtual meeting time. Or if you would like to submit any specific thoughts or comments on the proposed draft MTSA policies or draft REA policies, please take a few minutes to complete the MTSA comment form or the REA comment form.

Page last updated: 26 Aug 2022, 12:03 PM