What is the Regional Official Plan (ROP)?

The Region Official Plan (ROP) is a long-term plan used to manage growth and development.  Key elements of the ROP are:
  • a fixed border between rural and urban areas;
  • directing growth to make better use of land and municipal services within the built up areas of the Region;-increasing transportation choice, including the creation of a rapid transit system;
  • protecting our drinking water and significant environmental areas; and;
  • increasing the quality of life of citizens in Waterloo Region. 
All future development, transportation and infrastructure within Waterloo Region, must conform to the policies, goals and objectives of the ROP.

Why are we reviewing the ROP?

Under the Planning Act, Regional staff are required to review the existing Regional Official Plan every five years in order to conform with Provincial Plans and policy statements – this is technically known as a Municipal Comprehensive Review.  

The ROP review will also ensure we're keeping up with any additional policy updates the public, Regional Council and staff think would enhance how we plan for growth over the next 20 years.


How can I participate?

There are many ways you can participate in this process and we welcome your views and ideas.  Attend an Open House, to be held in all municipalities at various times throughout the review.  Below, is the schedule for the first round of Open Houses:

City of Kitchener – Monday, November 18, 2019, 4-8 p.m.
Kitchener Public Library, Meeting room D&E

City of Cambridge – Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 4-8 p.m.
Cambridge City Hall, Bowman Room

Township of Wilmot – Thursday, November 28, 2019, 4-8 p.m.
Wilmot Recreation Complex, Wayne Roth Room

Township of Woolwich – Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 4-8 p.m.
Heidelberg Community Centre

We have set up a project page (the one you’re most likely currently on), where you can submit any questions or comments directly to Regional planning staff.  We'll take your feedback into consideration when drafting the updated ROP.   Attending any Regional Council meeting or Planning and Works Committee meeting when the ROP review is on the agenda.  Members of the public are also able to sign-up as a delegation (speaker)  at these meetings to present views and opinions to Council or Committee members. 

Who else is involved in the ROP review?

In addition to public input, the ROP review team is assembling four committees to help with this project.

  1. Technical Committee – comprised of Regional staff from various departments, the Grand River Conservation Authority, and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, all of whom have specific technical expertise.
  2. Steering Committee – comprised of Regional Councillors, Commissioners and Directors.
  3. Area Municipal Committee – comprised of planners and technical staff from each of the Area Municipalities.
  4. Stakeholder Committee – comprised of representatives from key stakeholder groups, including Agriculture, Environment/Natural Heritage, the development industry, and the business community.

Can I see the current ROP?

The current ROP is available online, by clicking on the following link and then click on the drop down menu for 'Regional Official Plan': https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/regional-government/land-use-planning.aspx

What is the process for updating the ROP?

1. Official project launch through a Special Council Meeting on September 18, 2019 – this met our legal obligation under the Planning Act. 

2. Hire a consultant team to update the technical information necessary to determine if our current ROP policies need to be amended.  This step requires very specific expertise across a variety of fields of study, which is why Regional staff is pleased to be working with the team at Dillon Consulting. 

3. Gather technical data while also organizing the first round of Open Houses for the last two weeks of November/first week of December 2019 (future Open Houses will be advertised at key points throughout the ROP review).  These four Open Houses will introduce the ROP review to the public and will be the first of many opportunities to have your say.

We have released a video that captures many images of Waterloo Region and that will hopefully stir some thoughts and ideas for what you’d like to see in this community in the years to come.  We want to hear these thoughts and ideas, and encourage you to join us at the upcoming Open Houses.  We anticipate having three sets of Open Houses throughout this review process.

4. Take all the legislative requirements, the updated technical data, and the feedback from the public, area municipalities, and various other agencies involved in our community, and seeing how we can best organize and update our ROP.  Changes to current mapping may be needed to what’s reflect on-the-ground, additional policies may be required to ensure conformity with Provincial policies, and other policies may be tweaked and altered to represent feedback from the public, area municipalities, and various agencies.  Drafts of the updated ROP will be presented to the public for review and comment.

5. The last step of the ROP review process requires Regional staff to present the final draft to Regional Council for adoption and then submit the adopted ROP to the Province for final approval.