Where Do We Grow From Here Symposium Attracts Wide Range of Interest and Ideas for How to Best Plan For Waterloo Region’s Future

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (March 10, 2022)— Yesterday, over 200 members of the Waterloo Region community, including Realtors, Developers, Politicians, Planners, Builders, and housing advocates gathered virtually to hear from a panel of experts about exploring land needs assessment approaches for Waterloo Region’s official plan update which is underway.


The event, organized by the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) and moderated by Kirsten Wright of the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience has been recorded and is available for the media and public to view here.


The featured panelists were Kevin Eby, (former Director of Community Planning with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo from 1999 to 2015) Registered Professional Planner and consultant, Dr. Dawn Parker, Professor, School of Planning, University of Waterloo and Ted Tsiakopoulos, Senior Economist with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.


The recorded session begins with welcoming remarks from KWAR’s president, Megan Bell who offered her perspective on why the association felt the stakeholder-to-stakeholder symposium was important.


“It’s no secret that Waterloo Region is experiencing a housing crisis, the likes of which we have never seen before,” said Bell.  “We all know the statistics – how for the past two months the average price of residential home sales has breached the one-million-dollar mark. As REALTORS® we are concerned.”


Following Bell’s remarks, the Region of Waterloo’s Commissioner, Rod Regier provided an update on the Regional Official plan including new and/or revised policies. One of the proposed policies Regier spoke to would see a tiered approach to missing middle housing by allowing 4 units and up to 4 storeys, as-of-right, on all land currently zoned residential and on any new greenfield land (residential); and allow a range of 8 to 12 storeys, along specific corridors, such as the ION corridor.


“Sometimes people talk about this as doing away with exclusionary zoning,” said Regier. “We’re pretty serious about trying to find ways of really building a lot more affordable housing, market-oriented housing stock in the Waterloo Region.”


KWAR alongside the Ontario Real Estate Association are among the many groups who have been advocating for the province to end exclusionary zoning to allow for gentle density in our neighbourhoods and it was one of the recommendations stemming from the Report of the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force.


“This change would increase housing supply and help make housing in our community more affordable,” says Bell. “We applaud the Region of Waterloo’s proposal to end exclusionary zoning and encourage Regional Council to support it.”


Watch all the presentations and the moderated Q&A here: Where Do We Grow From Here Symposium Recorded Video:

      • Rod Regier starts at 00:08:45 and his slide deck can be downloaded here.
      • Kevin Eby starts at 00:31:38 and his slide deck can be downloaded here.
      • Dr. Dawn Parker starts at 00:56:30 and her slide deck can be downloaded here.
      • Ted Tsiakopoulos starts at 1:17:20 and his slide deck can be downloaded here.
      • The Q&A starts at 1:52.


Everyone who is interested in more information about the Region of Waterloo’s Regional Official Plan update should visit: https://www.engagewr.ca/regional-official-plan


A Land Needs Assessment document is expected to be released by the Region of Waterloo in early April for public input.



About KWAR

Established in 1937, the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) operates the local Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) and provides ongoing professional education courses for nearly 1,800 REALTOR® members who serve the communities of Kitchener-Waterloo and outlying areas. The term REALTOR® is a trademark identifying members in good standing of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) who provide real estate brokerage services in compliance with CREA’s By-Laws and Rules, the REALTOR® Code, and all applicable federal and provincial laws and regulations. The MLS® System of the KWAR is operated in association with the MLS® Marks owned by CREA. An MLS® System includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS®, and ensures a certain level of accuracy of information, professionalism, and co-operation amongst REALTORS® to affect the purchase and sale of real estate.