Updating the Regional Official Plan

Schematic graphic logo representing growth

What is this project about?

Waterloo Region is growing. Our population is expected to reach 835,000 people and 404,000 jobs by the year 2041, 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 2041.

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.

What is this project about?

Waterloo Region is growing. Our population is expected to reach 835,000 people and 404,000 jobs by the year 2041, 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 2041.

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.

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.

Q&A

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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 2 months 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.


  • 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 3 months 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


  • 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 3 months 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.

  • 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 4 months 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


  • I'm concerned about the continuing loss of affordable housing in order to build high-end apartments and condos (e.g. proposed new development on Mill Street near Queen, reported in The Record this week). I'm also concerned that there don't seem to be an meaningful strategies being put in place to replace that type of housing (e.g. requiring developers to include a certain number of affordable units in new builds). I know the City of Kitchener recently adopted new zoning to allow granny flats, tiny houses, and similar new housing on existing home sites, but am concerned that this will not be a good "fit" for many low-income residents, and doesn't not help the situation of families.

    Peggy asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your concerns.  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.

    The Region also produces a 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.  This 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 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

    In addition to this, the Province has passed legislation allowing municipalities to use inclusionary zoning within Major Transit Station Areas.  This is a tool that requires new residential developments to include affordable housing units. The cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo are currently reviewing how this tool can be used locally. 

    Each of these initiatives will inform the ongoing review of the Regional Official Plan as we plan for housing to accommodate population growth to the year 2041.


  • My major concern Is that this review does not become a stalking horse for further urban sprawl. Is there any intention to further erode the countryside line, which is itself far too generous to developers?

    Drfoxboro asked 4 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback. The Countryside Line is an important component of the existing Regional Official Plan (ROP) framework to direct where growth and development will occur. The ongoing review of the Regional Official Plan is to plan for population and employment growth to year 2041 within the existing ROP framework, including the Countryside Line.