Park Plan and Parkland Dedication Bylaw Review

Guelph is growing and the way people use parks is changing. It’s important we plan Guelph’s park system to provide optimal services as our population grows and changes. We will need to use our land more efficiently, expand our park system and reshape our spaces to accommodate outdoor recreation.

One way our park system will grow is through development. We use a Parkland Dedication Bylaw and Official Plan policies allowed by the Ontario Planning Act to require planning and development applications to transfer land to us for parks and public recreation or provide cash-in-lieu of parkland so parks or recreational spaces can be purchased.

Changes to legislation require municipalities in Ontario, including ours, to review our Parkland Dedication Bylaw in order to continue using the “alternative rate” from subsection 42(3) of the Planning Act. The alternative rate used by the City calculates parkland dedication that can lead to higher land dedication and/or cash-in-lieu of parkland.

How we determine what we charge for parkland

Different revenue sources pay for parks in the city. The two below make up the majority of this revenue, with subdivision making up the highest portion. Developments pay either the Parkland Dedication Bylaw rate or the Subdivision rate; the City does not charge twice for the same property unless the density increases on the site. Subdivision rate: The subdivision rates collected to pay for parks, under section 51.1 of the Planning Act, are applied when someone is subdividing or creating lots from a plot of land. Low density residence Charged five per cent of the land value. High-density residence Charged an alternative rate based on whether they are giving land to be used for parks, or cash-in-lieu of land. Land: 1 hectare of land for every 300 units. Cash in lieu: 1 hectare of land value for every 500 units. Parkland Dedication Bylaw rate The Parkland Dedication Bylaw rate, under section 42 of the Planning Act, is applied when someone is applying for a building permit to build a structure. Low density residence: Charged five per cent of the land value. High-density residence: Charged an alternative rate based on whether they are giving land to be used for parks, or cash-in-lieu of land. Land: 1 hectare of land for every 300 units or every 500 units for downtown. Cash in lieu: 1 hectare of land value for every 500 units. Commercial or industrial: Charged two per cent of the land value. Applying the cap to high-density: The cap is calculated based on land value, which is set at 20 per cent of land value for Downtown developments and 30 per cent of land value for the rest of Guelph. The City calculates both the parkland dedication alternate rate (based on the details in the diagram above) and the cap. The development pays either the alternate rate or the cap, whichever rate is lower. Accessible formats available by contacting 519-822-1260 extension 2527/TTY 519-826-9771.

Establishing Guelph’s parkland needs – now and in the future

Guelph Park Plan: Guiding our future parkland system

Our approved Park Plan helps assess the current park system and determine our future land needs as Guelph grows. The Park Plan ensures we have an optimal level of service for parks that is accessible to all residents as we grow—this is the amount and type of service that meets community needs/desires and is sustainable, affordable and realistic.

The Park Plan is part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) and will be used to address time-sensitive legislative changes to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw required before September 2022. The final plan will be re-integrated into the PRMP as a part of its delivery to Council in 2023.

It’s important to recognize that parkland dedication alone will not achieve Guelph’s Official Plan parkland targets. The larger PRMP will explore creative solutions to address those goals.

The Park Plan:

  • Defines our park system to understand our existing conditions
  • Outlines future challenges and opportunities facing our park system
  • Plans for an optimal level of service as our community grows and changes
  • Develops strategic directions for parkland retention, optimization and expansion

We need a Park Plan in order to update our policies and priorities in line with the City’s Strategic Plan and to take advantage of new approaches, legislation, trends and guidelines in park planning and development.

Have your say

Attend a virtual workshop

We hosted two facilitated virtual meetings open to the public to provide information about the project and to ask the community about their park experiences and needs.

Online Focus Group Meeting Presentation


Quarter 4, 2021

  • Background review and parkland analysis

Quarter 1, 2022

  • Community engagement for Park Plan
  • Draft Park Plan
  • Community engagement for Parkland Dedication Bylaw

Quarter 2, 2022

  • March 24, Park Plan report goes live on
  • March 31, Parkland Dedication Bylaw report goes live on
  • April 4, Committee of the Whole meeting for the Park Plan
  • April 25, Council meeting for the Park Plan
  • Council workshop on Parkland Dedication Bylaw
  • April 13, special meeting of Council for consideration of Parkland Dedication Bylaw

Quarter 3, 2022

  • July 18, Parkland dedication Bylaw passage

Key documents

Info sheet: How do we determine what we charge for parkland?

Presentation slides: Understanding the Parkland Dedication By-law (PDBL) Update (June 2022)

Draft Parkland Dedication Bylaw 2022Understanding the Parkland Dedication Bylaw (Questions and Answers)Draft Park PlanPark Plan engagement summary (January 2022)Park Plan Developers Focus Group summary (January 13, 2022)Park Plan Public Focus Group summary (January 12 and 13, 2022) Park Plan engagement questions and answers (January 12 & 13, 2022)

For more information

Mallory Lemon, Park Planner
Park and Trail Development, Parks
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3560
[email protected]