The plan will include objectives, policies and mapping that form Niagara's approach to managing population and employment growth; protecting the natural environment, resources and farmland; and providing sufficient infrastructure
The Official Plan will:
The Planning Act requires municipalities to regularly review and update official plans to align with provincial requirements.
The Regional Official Plan was first approved in the 1970s. At that time, our role and the content of the plan focused on protecting farmland and establishing urban boundaries.
Over the years, amendments were made to reflect the Region's increased land use planning functions under an evolving provincial system. However, the historic framework established over 40 years ago has never been comprehensively reviewed.
In 2017, resources were allocated to develop a new Niagara Official Plan that is contemporary and user friendly; provides a consistent structure; and reflects the current comprehensive planning framework.
How we manage growth and development, with a range and mix of housing types, including affordable housing
How we improve connections with transit, recreation, trails, infrastructure and technology
How we increase our competitiveness by supporting employment opportunities and protecting agricultural lands
How we enhance the vibrancy of communities by supporting strong urban design and protecting cultural heritage
How we protect our natural environment and plan for climate change
In 2013, we initiated an integrated process under the umbrella Niagara 2041 to undertake a Municipal Comprehensive Review (How We Grow), Transportation Master Plan (How We Go) and Water and Wastewater Master Servicing Study (How We Flow).
The work that began under How We Grow has transitioned to the process of developing the new Niagara Official Plan
In addition to these master plans, a number of background studies will help to inform the development of the new Niagara Official Plan:
Extensive consultations took place in 2013-14 on the priorities for the Official Plan under a campaign titled 'Imagine Niagara'. This campaign received the Communications / Public Education award from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute in 2015.
To build on Imagine Niagara, there will be more opportunities for community input on the background work, draft policies and new draft Official Plan. Enagement will include stakeholder sessions, open houses, public meetings, and online input through the website.
The new Niagara Official Plan will also be developed in consultation with the local area municipalities and Region's Planning Advisory Committee.
The new plan will be informed by background studies, and consultation with partners, stakeholders and the public in key project phases:
The target completion date for the new Niagara Official Plan is December 2021. Once endorsed by Regional Council, the new plan will be forwarded to the provincial government for approval.