Waterloo Region's countryside has many unique natural and cultural heritage features.
The purpose of the Countryside Line, as set out in ROP policy 2.B.1., is to contain future growth within the urban areas thereby protecting farmlands and sensitive natural areas from urban development - areas such as wetlands, woodlands and groundwater recharge locations.
Supporting and Protecting the Countryside
The Regional Official Plan (ROP) also has policies to protect the countryside from harmful urban and rural activities so that it can continue to be a sustainable resource for current and future generations.
Although the region has some of the best farmland in Ontario, this Plan recognizes that simply protecting farmland will not guarantee it will be actively and viably farmed. To help keep farmers on the land, and recognize the cultural and farming practices of our Mennonite communities, the ROP contains policies that allow farmers to supplement their on-farm income.
The ROP also identifies areas of the countryside with environmental features and agricultural lands known as the Protected Countryside. These areas contain unique farmlands, woodlands, watercourses, river valleys, wetlands and several significant groundwater supply areas. The Protected Countryside designation will permanently protect these areas from urban development to ensure the region's continued environmental and economic health.
More in-depth information about the Region's polices related to the Countryside can be found in Chapter 6 of the Regional Official Plan.
Building more Complete Communities
While land beyond the Countryside Line is being protected and preserved, the ROP also has policies resulting in more compact, vibrant and complete communities in those areas that remain undeveloped within our cities and townships. These areas are called Greenfields, or suburbs, and the goal of the ROP is to ensure they are developed as walkable neighbourhoods that have a better mix of employment, housing, shopping and services than currently exists in most suburban areas.