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.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Got a question about growth in Waterloo Region? How we plan for it? Curious about the Regional Official Plan review, or a related topic? Ask our Planners! With this Q&A tool, you can:

Here's how the tool works:

  • Ask your question in the box below and click 'Submit'.
  • Submitted questions are reviewed by The Project Team.
  • Responses are provided within three business days of receipt. 
  • Sometimes answers require information from multiple sources. If the answer is going to take longer, we'll let you know.

For all urgent concerns, please call us.

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    Do you use something similar to BC's CLIC tool (Community Lifecycle Infrastructure Costing) in you planning process? https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/planning-land-use/local-government-planning/community-lifecycle-infrastructure-costing

    Julie Wright asked over 2 years ago

    Hello,

    Similar to the type of analysis facilitated by British Columbia’s CLIC tool, the Region will conduct a detailed financial impact analysis through the ROP update that contemplates the infrastructure lifecycle costs (development, maintenance, servicing and replacement) arising from the growth scenarios that have been presented (please refer to the June 10th, 2021 report in our Document Library). 

    We anticipate providing more detailed information on this part of the ROPR once it has been completed (early-mid 2022).

    Thanks for writing in your question and please feel free to reach out should you have any more questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    The ROPR Team

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    With all the current growth, a quick drive around Kitchener, Waterloo & Cambridge shows that roads infrastructure basic maintenance is simply not keeping up. Besides growing traffic/congestion concerns, a lot of the major arteries are a rough & nasty series of patches and potholes. If the region can't keep up now, how is it going to do so with such increased growth?

    Doc p asked over 2 years ago

    Hello,

    Thank you for taking the time to write in with your question about increased growth and road infrastructure.

    As the population of the Region grows, we will need to plan for our transportation system to become less auto-oriented, so that there is less need for additional roadway infrastructure. It is one of our objectives through the update to the ROP and placing an increased focus on transit and active transportation, among other things, that this will contribute to more people taking transit for longer trips and cycling and walking for shorter trips.  This, in turn, will hopefully help address concerns around the maintenance of road infrastructure. 

    Please let the ROPR team know if you have any additional questions or concerns and we will do our best to address them.

    Sincerely,
    The ROPR Team

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    Will the regional official plan contain policies for both high-quality architecture and a great public realm? The region's municipalities have a strong sense of character, and it would be great if development would be built to enhance & preserve this character - with a strong emphasis on context and aesthetics.

    daniel_kryz asked almost 3 years ago

    Hello and thanks for taking the time to send in a question.

    The Regional Official Plan is a document that guides long-term growth and development, and in a variety of respects, is limited in what is able to be included in the document; one of these limitations has to do with urban design.  However, the cities are afforded this responsibility and include policies in their Official Plan that can (and do) speak to context, aesthetics, and the public realm.  The ROP is able to include supportive or encouraging policies regarding high-quality architecture and urban design through our "general development policies" in Chapter 2, but that is the current extent of our abilities.  

    Please feel free to contact us again should you have any further questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    The ROPR Team


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    Does forest protection include types of development? Lyle Friesen from the Canadian Wildlife Service has done studies in Waterloo Region showing residential development beside forests is detrimental to interior forest bird species and industrial is actually better as an adjacent development.

    KarenM asked over 2 years ago

    Hello,

    Thank you for your question and we offer the following information regarding residential development adjacent to Core Environmental Features (where interior forest bird species live). Generally all development applications (i.e., applications to develop a property that are subject to the Planning Act) have the same policies applied to them from a natural heritage perspective.  Chapter 7, the Greenlands Network, of the Regional Official Plan (ROP) includes two ‘categories’ or groupings of policy that are applicable when work is proposed in or near a Core Environmental Feature, which includes Significant Woodlands: Infrastructure; all other development (residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, etc.).   

    Although there are not unique policies for different potential types of development, applications that propose to develop adjacent to Core Environmental Features are required to submit Environmental Impact Studies to demonstrate that the proposed development will not impact the feature or its ecological functions.  Generally, Environmental Impact Studies are done to reflect the form and type of development proposed for a specific site so the assessments for impacts done in a manner that is relevant and specific to each site.

    Please contact us again should you require any further information.

    Sincerely,
    The ROPR Team

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    My suggestion involves 1) reducing salt for water quality and 2) balancing water supply during droughts or heavy downpours. Require ALL new buildings to have a cistern based on building size. Older homes had basement cisterns for collecting rooftop rain water ensuring rain water did not run into storm drains, but was diverted for soft water use within the home. This provided a salt-free supply of soft water. (Not for drinking use.) We now have “blue light” purification if there is concern over microbes in the water. Benefits: a) reduced flooding during frequent heavy rainfalls occurring with climate change, & more water stored in residences for drought use. b) No salt used for softeners, less surface salt washed into storm drains/ground water from yards and driveways as well c) less water needed from municipal wells (Water for washing, toilets, etc comes from cisterns. Less calcium build-up in hot water pipes and heaters too.) Retro-fits on existing homes could be encouraged by a property tax rebate funded partially by the reduced need to expand water infrastructure volumes.

    Kate G. asked over 2 years ago

    Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to write in with your question. 

    While the use of water cisterns will assist in the reduction of overall water use and related softener salt, the Region relies on recharge from rooftops and non-pavement areas of residential properties to meet its water balance needs.  Recharge from these areas replenish the aquifers (subsurface sand and gravel layers that provide water) that the Region relies on to feed municipal water supply wells.  Most, if not all new subdivisions, are required to maintain recharge levels post-construction to the levels that existed prior to construction.  This ensures that stormwater management systems can be adequately sized and also ensures that the precipitation that falls on the ground recharges the drinking water supply aquifers.

    Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other questions or concerns.

    Sincerely,
    The ROPR Team

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    With all of this future growth, are we not going to find ourselves with a water shortage? We already have restrictions in place to conserve it, but are we not going to have to be even more so?

    Steve asked over 3 years ago

    Thank you very much for the question.  Growth and the Region's water supply is always a topic of interest as we work through the update to the Regional Official Plan.

    In response to your question, the Region updates the Water Supply Master Plan Strategy every five to seven years.  The current Master Plan Strategy can be found on the Region’s website (www.regionofwaterloo.ca/water) and includes a review of water supply needs up to 2051.

    The Strategy makes sure we will have enough water to supply the population as it continues to grow. The Strategy also ensures this will be done in a sustainable manner which includes the implementation of water resource protection and conservation programs and policies.  

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    The proposed Breslau Go Station was announced in 2016 by Minister of Transportation. Metrolinx came into town in August 2019 with a Townhall meeting that the Breslau Go Station will help with the congestion going on in the hwy. We have not seen this Go Station or if the Waterloo region is serious about it. Cambridge also is in need of a Go Station and LRT. I have job offers in Toronto but I dread getting in that hwy 401 to go to work. Transportation is the key to creating a community Work, Economy and Place to Live.

    Yehi asked over 4 years ago

    Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in the Regional Official Plan Review project.  There has been a lot of interest in GO Transit for Waterloo Region and the region has been included in Metrolinx’s planning area (see Bill 57 – Schedule 25). This means that Metrolinx is responsible for planning and providing transit services between the Region to other areas served by Metrolinx.

    The Region continues to work with Metrolinx to advocate, support, and promote more service to the region, and has included this as one of its transit strategies in the 2018 Transportation Master Plan. Nonetheless, Metrolinx and the Province make the final decision on how and where to direct various investments for services.

    Metrolinx has plans to electrify the Kitchener GO corridor and plans to continue improving service leading to 2025 and beyond. The Breslau Station is planned to be delivered through Metrolinx’s market driven construction and procurement approach which is tailored towards soliciting third parties (private developers or municipalities) to fund the construction of the station

    The Region is currently leading a study to determine the feasibility of connecting Cambridge to the GO rail network via the Fergus subdivision. So far, findings from Phase 1 of the Study shows the concept to be feasible (see Report# TES-TRP-19-09, Page 113). We are currently wrapping up with Phase 2 of the study. Following that, the plan will be to request for it to be included into Metrolinx’s list of projects to be scheduled for an Initial Business Case.


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    How will the region balance its need for aggregate while protecting the Waterloo Moraine. Many licensed pits lie dormant and abandoned. What solution does the region have for this? What does the region know about the cumulative impacts of aggregate extraction on the environment and water quality and safely?

    Samantha asked over 4 years ago

    How will the region balance its need for aggregate while protecting the Waterloo Moraine?

    Thanks for your input.  Waterloo Region is one of the largest communities in Ontario that relies on groundwater for a significant portion of its drinking water. That's why protecting our water resources, including the Waterloo Moraine, is an important priority for the Region of Waterloo.

    The Region’s Water Resource Protection Master Plan and Chapter 8 of the Regional Official Plan (ROP) detail the Region’s approaches to keeping water clean, areas to protect, activities to manage, and programs to deliver. Chapter 9 of the ROP also contains several policies relating to the siting of mineral aggregate operations, best management practices, and conditions or restrictions on aggregate activities and rehabilitation plans. In general, the Region implements these policies when it reviews applications for new or expansions to existing aggregate operations.

    The Region, in collaboration with the local municipalities and other stakeholders, including the public, will be reviewing its aggregate resources and source water protection policies as part of the ROP review currently underway.

    Many licensed pits lie dormant and abandoned. What solution does the region have for this?

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry oversees the rules governing the extraction and management of aggregate resources. It issues licences, permits and changes to existing approvals. It is also responsible for inspecting aggregate operations, enforcing compliance and ensuring that rehabilitation is carried out on sites.

    The current ROP contains policies that require rehabilitation plans be submitted with new proposals for mineral aggregate extraction.  This includes a requirement to carry out progressive rehabilitation whenever feasible to ensure that depleted areas are restored while extraction continues in other areas of a site.

    What does the region know about the cumulative impacts of aggregate extraction on the environment and water quality and safety?

    The Region of Waterloo, in collaboration with the GRCA, has had a longstanding interest in the potential cumulative effects of aggregate extraction below the water table on ground and surface water resources. While local effects have been typically assessed at the aggregate license application stage, to date there has not been a cumulative effect study on the impact of aggregate production activities on water resources.

    A best practices paper was prepared by the GRCA, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Ontario Stone Sand & Gravel Association in 2010 titled "Cumulative Effects Assessment (Water Quality and Quantity) Best Practices Paper for Below-Water Sand and Gravel Extraction Operations in Priority Subwatersheds in the Grand River Watershed."  The overall goal was to establish a reasonable, consistent, and scientifically defensible approach to assessing potential cumulative effects of below-water extraction as part of the Ministry’s review/approval process under the Aggregate Resources Act.  You can view the best practices paper at the following link:

    https://www.grandriver.ca/en/Planning-Development/resources/Documents/Planning_AggregateBestPractices.pdf


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    I can't go to Open House locations due to my illnesses that dominate my time - but I do have some ideas I like to share before I die. ~ Why can't Waterloo region attract entertainment venues like Six Flags to set up a site on the outskirts of K-W where the iExpress can go out to it from May to end of October. At a Six Flags they have a midway as well as concert venues to attract music superstars like Elton John to Kacey Musgraves from Tenille Townes to older bands like The Spoons, Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga. If Toronto has Canada's Wonderland and the C.N.E. why can't we have at least one major entertainment venue where we service Windsor to Toronto with our own major midway location that would bring in money to regional financial coffers. We would have a midway we don't have to bustle through downtown Toronto or the busy outskirts to get to when we want to ride midway rides, go to special events like our own Halloween Haunt, or Jurassic Park setup. But also a carnival etc... Second it would be a landmark we are known for other than Oktoberfest. We NEED to diversify to buffer us from the storms of recessions to come. Also why aren't we creating our own landmarks like a Mythical Gardens with statues of mythological creatures and gods/goddess surrounded by flowers in a domed structure like Toronto's Allan Gardens has, and a large fountain. Maybe even a large statue, like the Colossus of Rhodes which people will want to visit the region to stand next to it, or under it. On top of the statue's head is a crown that displays at night a revolving set of multi-colored light. It holds a sword high above its head in the right hand and a lantern in front of it in the left hand. Which too is lit. The more we build that benefits all, the more we are heard about and the more people that will want to visit our region, and even move here. To bring in more tourists we need to have more landmarks we are known for to attract them. More tourists means more money into the region and less taxes applied to residents.

    Ninjawitch asked over 4 years ago

    Thank you for your input!  Through the Regional Official Plan, the Region is striving to create a community that provides opportunities to live, work and play.

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    How many low income apartments, were lost due to redevelopment, construction of new condos or apartment buildings? What is considered to be affordable housing? How many new geared to income housing units will be added and when? How will the Region be addressing homelessness

    Carol asked over 4 years ago

    Thank you for your questions.  Housing affordability is an important issue.  

    Each year the Region publishes the Monitoring Change in the Central Transit Corridor report.  This report monitors change that is happening in the Central Transit Corridor, which is the area most proximate to the ION transit system.  In 2017, the theme for this report was housing affordability. You can find the monitoring report here: https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/regional-government/resources/Monitoring_Change_in_the_CTC_2017_Report.pdf  Housing affordability in the Central Transit Corridor continues to be monitored on an annual basis through the monitoring report. Outside of what is monitored through this report, the Region does not currently monitor how many low income apartments are lost to redevelopment.

    The Region also produces a 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan. This Plan has recently undergone a 5-year review.  The Plan sets strategic directions, actions, and targets to increase housing affordability and expand supports to help low and moderate-income households find and maintain appropriate housing. The Plan also defines affordable housing  and contains the affordable housing target for Waterloo region for 2019-2041.  You can find out more about this plan here: https://calendar.regionofwaterloo.ca/Council/Detail/2019-11-05-0900-Community-Services-Committee/41c9c2cc-600e-40a1-ac5e-aafb00f79fdc


Page last updated: 10 Nov 2023, 10:08 AM