The Ontario Municipal Board’s recent decision (PL110080) against the Region of Waterloo’s Official Plan is a threat to the quality of life of the residents of Waterloo Region and to the future of Ontario.
Over the next 20 years, our population in Waterloo Region will rise by nearly 200,000 people, from about 500,000 to over 700,000. That’s an average of 10,000 new people each year who will need homes and jobs in our Region, and who will bring new cars to our streets.
To accommodate these new members of our community, the Region of Waterloo has been working to make our cities more liveable through intensification and in ensure that our growth does not sprawl over and destroy our surrounding valuable farmland.
This is what we call Smart Growth – a more sustainable way of growth and development that encourages walkable, friendly communities, better public transit and transportation options, and helps to ensure our natural areas and prime farmlands are protected for future generations.
After lots of work and public consultation, the Region of Waterloo approved its Official Plan for growth in 2009. This plan, in keeping with provincial policy, seeks to limit the amount of farmland consumed by development and instead encourage intensification of urban areas. Part of this plan includes a fixed Countryside Line, separating urban and rural land uses. This plan is important to the Region in protecting our farmland and environment, and in making sure that our growth can continue to build the kinds of communities we want to live in.
But these Smart Growth plans are under threat by an Ontario Municipal Board ruling in favour of developers whose businesses have thrived on the old sprawl-permitting policies. If this ruling should stand, the amount of new sprawl in our Region would be more than 10 times what we had planned for. And the ruling sets a precedent that endangers Smart Growth across the province of Ontario.
We must take steps to ensure Smart Growth, protect our greenspace, and ensure the highest possible quality of life for everyone in our communities in the future. Thankfully, The Region of Waterloo is not taking this sitting down, and are appealing the decision to the Divisional Court, with the support of the Government of Ontario.
We need your help.
You can use our website to learn more about the OMB ruling, the Places to Grow Act, and the Region of Waterloo’s Official Plan. You can also find out what you can do to support the Region’s Official Plan and smart growth across the province.