After four years of extensive consultation, Regional Council adopted the Niagara Official Plan at the June 23 Council meeting. The new plan moves Niagara forward and sets a vision for our communities and guides development and growth to 2051. Once approved by the Province, the new plan will replace the existing official plan.
Consultation with various groups has taken place at all stages in the Official Plan’s development, including determining important areas to protect, how and where we should grow and the policy tools required to achieve the vision.
Niagara is on the threshold of significant growth. Niagara is expected to grow by 202,000 people and 85,000 jobs over the next 30 years. Our growth management policies direct and prioritize growth to areas where transit and other infrastructure currently exists or is planned, including our urban growth centre, regional growth centres, major transit station areas, and other strategic growth areas.
The new Official Plan directs 60 per cent of growth to developed areas, and also requires settlement area expansions to address land needs of specific communities to the 2051 planning horizon.
Niagara’s new Official Plan provides new policy direction to take meaningful action on climate change and climate-resilient communities. Our sustainable policies will also result in stronger protections for Niagara’s natural environment system as we grow. There is an increase in newly mapped agricultural lands after considering settlement area expansions. Together, the Region’s agricultural system and natural environment system provide a significant contribution to Niagara’s resilience and ability to adapt to climate change. The agricultural land base will be protected for the provision of healthy, local food for present and future generations.
The Official Plan aligns with Niagara Region’s Ten Year Economic Development Strategy, which Regional Council also endorsed on June 23, 2022. It identifies and protects employment areas for a range of employment uses industrial and advance manufacturing, knowledge and innovation industries, and rural employment.
With Regional Council adoption, the Official Plan will be submitted to the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for approval to meet the Provincial conformity deadline of July 1, 2022.
"Creating the right framework for responsible growth is a strategic priority of Niagara Regional Council and we are pleased to see this addressed through the new Official Plan. I would like to thank the many members of the community who participated in the development of the plan through the various opportunities available to them. Their input was integral in shaping the Official Plan."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
"Niagara’s new Official Plan raises the bar sets a vision to 2051 for the growth we will receive over the next 30 years in a sustainable way. The plan preserves what is important to the communities in the Region and is intended to address the impacts of climate change, attract employment opportunities, and provide a range of housing options."
~ Michelle Sergi, Commissioner, Planning and Development Services