Plans and strategies

Master planning: for our future

How does the City make sure we have the roads, transit, trails, water and wastewater systems, garbage collection and recycling programs, parks and recreation facilities, and all the other City services we need 20 years from now?

We use master plans to assess the infrastructure we have to support those services today, and decide what we’ll need as Guelph grows.

Looking at our city as a whole helps us evaluate options, consider a variety of community perspectives, understand possible outcomes, and make better decisions for Guelph’s future.

Then, we use master plans to guide short-term projects in each neighbourhood so they all work toward achieving our community’s long-term goals.

Updating master plans

We review and update master plans about every five years to address Guelph’s changing needs, and take advantage of new approaches and technologies. City staff prepare master plans and present them to City Council for approval.

When updating master plans, we consult professional and technical experts, complete industry research, review existing policies and regulations. We also invite residents, businesses, other government agencies and municipalities, and Indigenous communities to discuss their opinions, perspectives and concerns. The City’s community engagement framework sets out when and how we engage with our community.

We use all of that information as we consider options, find solutions and make recommendations on behalf of the entire community.

Some master plans also have legal requirements for how they are completed. For example, the legislated process for developing master plans under the Environmental Assessment Act includes:

  • Identifying the problem or opportunity to be addressed
  • Developing and evaluating a range of options
  • Providing opportunities for public input
  • Identifying the preferred option or plan of action

How master plans support Guelph’s Official Plan

Guelph’s Official Plan sets out the goals and policies we use to manage land use in our city—how we protect and enhance natural areas, which parts of the city have residential, commercial or industrial development, designing enjoyable neighbourhoods with parks, transportation and other amenities nearby. It’s a legal document developed through a public process that’s legislated by a number of Provincial acts and policies including the Planning Act.

Master plans build on the goals and policies from the Official Plan to define long-term objectives for specific municipal programs and services. Master plans integrate existing and future land use and infrastructure planning with the principles of environmental assessment planning.

City master plans

Other plans and strategies