City settles outstanding land use appeal on official plan amendment

Comprehensive staff planning upheld

Guelph, Ont., March 16, 2018—An appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) on a site-specific land use designation in the City of Guelph’s official plan amendment has been withdrawn after a settlement agreement was reached. The site under appeal, commonly known as the Niska Lands, is owned by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA).

The subject lands, an 8–hectare (20–acre) farm field located on the south side of Niska Road at  Pioneer Trail, is to be designated for low- to medium-density residential use, which would permit a future development application to propose detached, semi-detached and duplex dwellings, or multiple unit residential buildings such as townhouses, row dwellings and walk-up apartments.

“This is good news for everyone involved in the appeal, and for the community,” says Melissa Aldunate, manager of Policy Planning and Urban Design. “The settlement allows for better communication and consultation with our community for an area that is special to many people in Guelph. We’re pleased the solid planning behind the residential land use designation has been recognized and upheld, and look forward to working with the community on future trail access on the former Kortright Waterfowl Park  once the future of those lands is decided.”

The terms of the settlement provide for more public notification and opportunities for public comment as the GRCA works to create a management plan, not only for the site that was the subject of the appeals, but also the surrounding lands owned by GRCA. More information about the process to complete a management plan for the property is available on the GRCA website.

Once the GRCA management plan is finalized, the City will support this effort by establishing, with the GRCA, a joint working group to help determine future public access to the GRCA lands within the City which comprised the former Kortright Waterfowl Park. The joint working group will include members of the public.

About OPA 48

The City’s Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 48 provides clarity and direction for development while ensuring Guelph achieves sustainable growth targets, population densities and land uses. Highlights of the official plan amendment include updated policies addressing:

  • The protection of Guelph’s water resources;
  • Public health and safety regarding natural and human-made hazards;
  • Proactive climate change planning;
  • Transportation planning with a greater focus on transit, walking and cycling; and
  • Affordable housing needs.

OPA 48 was approved by the OMB with some modifications last fall, and the City’s amended Official Plan has been in effect since then. Some minor items were still under appeal at that time, including the settled appeal announced today. Appeals for one policy and some site–specific items remains to be addressed through future Ontario Municipal Board hearings.

About the Official Plan

The City’s Official Plan is a statement of goals, objectives and policies that guide Guelph’s growth and development in the years leading up to 2031. The Official Plan is developed based on input from the community and is updated every five years. The plan is focused on sustainability and establishes policies that have a positive effect on Guelph’s social, economic, cultural and natural environment. The Official Plan strives to maintain a high quality of life for the residents of Guelph, reduce uncertainty concerning future development, and provides a basis for the Zoning Bylaw and other land use controls.

Official Plan Amendment No. 48 was the final phase of the Official Plan Update. This amendment ensures that the Official Plan meets legislative requirements under the Planning Act and that Guelph’s Plan is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement.


Guelph’s Official Plan
OPA 48 – Official Plan Update
Minutes of Settlement for the Niska Lands

Media contact

Melissa Aldunate, Manager, Policy Planning and Urban Design
Planning and Building Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2361
[email protected]