Land Readiness

The Region of Waterloo’s Land Readiness Strategy is about creating good jobs in Waterloo Region for now and the generations to come. As our community continues to grow, the need for different types of jobs across a variety of industries and sectors becomes more important than ever – getting land ready for those future employers is the first step. 

What is Land Readiness?

In general, Land Readiness means looking at our region as a whole and identifying key locations that would be best suited for certain priority uses, such as new business parks or industrial operations (known as employment lands), affordable housing or future community needs like community centres or schools. 

It also includes preparing land to be ready for development. This typically includes completing environmental work, bringing utilities infrastructure to the site (such as hydro, water, wastewater pipes, etc.), grading the property, preparing possible transit upgrades and other technical and planning studies for the site. 

Preparing land in this way makes it more attractive to companies and organizations looking to relocate or build a new location. It reduces the financial risk of the site and reduces barriers to their project being able to begin. Throughout recent consultation with the local and global business community, a need for more “Shovel-Ready” land was identified. Without appropriate shovel-ready lands, Waterloo Region risks losing large-scale investment to other communities.

By ensuring we have land shovel-ready, we enable global and local businesses to locate and expand in Waterloo Region, keeping innovation and economic prosperity front and centre in our community. 

What makes certain land a good fit for “shovel-ready” projects?

There are certain elements that make a property a good candidate for future uses.  When it comes to employment lands, some of the factors that make a property suitable include:

  • Close proximity to major roadways and infrastructure
  • Being near growing communities, with skilled workers
  • Relatively flat lands that do not require a significant amount of grading
  • Outside of key environmental factors, such as the Regional Recharge Zone.

When searching for locations to locate or expand, what do businesses look for?

Through consultation with the local and global business community and experts in the site selection field, the following are also identified as some of the key attributes that make a site well-suited to investment, from an employers perspective:

  • Land that is shovel-ready and can meet their development timelines
  • Being part of a community with a great quality of life, including diverse neighbourhoods, schools, shops, restaurants and leisure options.
  • Access to a variety of transportation methods
  • Availability of wraparound supports such as daycare, family physicians and community centres.
  • Opportunity to work with post-secondary institutions for partnerships, training and the hiring of recent graduates.

The Region of Waterloo is committed to building economic vibrancy as we grow to one million people in the coming decades. Land readiness and the upcoming “Build Waterloo Region” shovel-ready strategy, play an important role in creating new jobs, economic opportunities and stability for our community.

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