Updating the Regional Official Plan

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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.

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 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.

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 survey has concluded. Thank you very much for your participation.

    We are pleased to post the following survey that relates directly to the Climate Change Policy Direction paper.  The survey will take approximately five (5) to 10 minutes to complete and by answering this survey, you will help us focus our efforts on what matter most to you, as we continue to update our Regional Official Plan. The survey will be online until February 28, 2021.

    A key piece of the Climate Change Policy Direction paper presents statements about our desired future for how we move, how we live and work, and how we build. This survey will focus on these three (3) areas and the changes we need to make to achieve them. To help you understand how the desired futures, changes and policy directions are connected, we’ve created summary placemats for how we move, how we live and work and how we build. 

    To provide a bit more context for the survey, the Climate Change Policy Direction paper explores the following key messages: 

    1. Climate change is global problem with local causes and local solutions;
    2. The Regional Official Plan (ROP) is a key document for directing local action on climate change;
    3. The current ROP Review, which plans to 2051, provides an opportunity to align with the Region’s Green House Gas (GHG) reduction target of 80% by 2050;
    4. Since land use and infrastructure locks in the amount of carbon a community uses, land use and infrastructure planning that is energy efficient and resilient to the impacts of climate change are essential to achieve this target;
    5. Our current land use and transportation systems are energy inefficient and account for approximately 50% of GHG emissions;
    6. The policy direction paper provides desired futures for how we move, how we live and work, and how build along with the “Big Moves” or changes needed to achieve the desired future and associated policies directions to implement them. (e.g., increasing intensification, providing for transit supportive densities in the Designated Greenfield Area);
    7. Climate action is a lens that we will be putting on all of the work associated with the ROP Review; and,
    8. Proposes policy directions related to our transportation system, growth, complete communities, net-zero carbon buildings, and energy resiliency.

    If, after completing the survey, you have any more feedback or thoughts on climate change and potential Regional policy direction, we're also happy to accept any feedback through the email address RegionalOfficialPlanReview@regionofwaterloo.ca or by mail at Community Planning Division (ROPR), 150 Frederick Street, 8th Floor, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 4J3.  We will use any comments or feedback to help draft policy regarding climate change to be integrated throughout the Regional Official Plan (ROP).


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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded.

    We’ve heard through responses to our “Six Questions About Growth in Waterloo Region” survey (conducted through Engage from July 2020-August 2020) that environmental protection is a top priority. As we review the Regional Official Plan (ROP), a key document that will guide growth and development in the Region to 2051, part of the review includes updating the policies that protect some of the environmental areas, or “natural heritage areas” as they are referred to in this survey. These policies are included in the “The Greenlands Network” Section of the ROP. 

    The purpose of this part of the update is to ensure that regional policies align with current provincial policies and regulations. We will also look at how we can best protect our natural heritage areas, such as woodlands, wetlands, streams and other valuable natural areas.

    Proposed Approach

    As we look to the future, it’s important that we review and update our current natural heritage policies. What’s working, what’s not working, and what could be improved?  Our proposed review approach is based on four objectives:

    1. ensure our current environmental protections are maintained, while considering opportunities to refine or enhance our natural heritage system where appropriate;

    2. review and update the Region’s current natural heritage policies to align with Provincial planning documents, including incorporating a new Provincial Natural Heritage System and a new Water Resource System;  

    3. refine the boundaries of the Region’s existing Core Environmental Features (Significant Woodlands and Environmentally Sensitive Policy Areas) to improve mapping accuracy; and,

    4. explore any new ideas and opportunities to better protect our natural environment for current and future generations.

    We want to hear from you!

    Please click the link below to complete the five to 10 minute survey. The survey will be online until November 2, 2020.

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  • * Please note that this survey is only to be completed by those who participated in the Virtual Research Symposium *

    Thank you very much for attending the August 18, 2020  virtual research symposium on the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the Regional planning process, presented in partnership by the Region of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo.  

    We would also like to extend a big thank you to the researchers, who quickly turned their attention to the challenge of trying to understand the implications of this momentous experience – COVID-19 – on our region and the planning for its growth and development.  

    Below are some follow-up questions about the event and if you have five to 10 minutes, we'd very much appreciate your feedback.  The survey will be closing September 30, 2020.

    If you did not attend the event, but would like to review the videos, please see the "Important Links" section on the right-hand side of the Regional Official Plan Engage Page. 

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  • CLOSED: This survey has concluded. Thank you very much for your interest and participation.
                                                                            

    The Region of Waterloo is currently projected to grow by over 278,00 people, 103,000 households, and 128,000 jobs between 2016 and 2041. As we plan for this growth, we need your input on how we can accommodate the people and employment opportunities required.    This survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete and consists of six (6) questions.         

    But first, a map and a bit of terminology to help answer the questions....

    The Proposed Regional Structure Map, below, highlights some of the elements that the Region plans for in the Regional Official Plan .  This map is shown again, however, by clicking on the map at this location, it will open in a new tab and you have the ability to zoom in and out:

    Built-Up Area refers to the lands within the Urban Area, where development is concentrated across the region.  So, for example, in our downtowns and along the ION rapid transit corridor. The Built-Up Area is shown in yellow on the map, above. 

    Designated Greenfield Area refers to the lands within the Urban Area, but outside of Built- Up Area (yellow).  Typically, these lands are suburban in nature, and contain mostly single-detached, semi-detached, and townhome-style development. The DGA is part of the land required to accommodate forecasted growth to 2041 in Waterloo Region.  The DGA is shown in pink on the map, below.                                                     

    Density refers to the number of people living and/or working within an area.                                                                      

    Intensification means the development of a property, site or area at a higher density than currently exists, through development, redevelopment, infill and expansion or conversion of existing buildings (source: Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing) (see infographic, below).


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  • Tell us what you think about the proposed criteria for employment land conversions and add your comments and thoughts on any additional criteria. This survey should take approximately five to 10 minutes, and will close on January 17, 2020.

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