Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan

Frequently asked questions

The Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project began in 2015. This was intentionally started after full of approval of the City’s Natural Heritage System through Official Plan Amendment (OPA) 42. With the City’s Natural Heritage System in place, the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project was started with an integrated, connected and protected NHS which forms a foundational building block of the secondary plan process.

The Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (CEIS) being undertaken as part of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan project will:

  • be a comprehensive and strategic document intended to address natural heritage and water resource protection;
  • incorporate subwatershed planning elements;
  • inform land use and infrastructure decision making as part of a broader integrated development framework.

No. The timeline on this project has not reduced the scope of the work that the City has done or intends to do. In particular, the timeline does not compromise any aspect of the environmental review process; we are still collecting environmental data for three years.

City staff was able to speed up the on-the-ground work based on early engagement with stakeholders and agencies, and by adopting some educated assumptions about the environment using existing data.

The third phase of the project may have to be extended if the monitoring data collected this year alters the findings to date, meaning the assumptions and interpretations that were made to-date need to be proven true before any further planning or development begins.

The City’s existing Natural Heritage System (NHS) protects all known significant natural heritage and water features and ecological linkages. In addition, the NHS recognized the importance of the Paris-Galt Moraine and protects areas which contain areas of significant landform as part of the system.

Through the Clair-Maltby Secondary plan project it is intended that direction will be provided and policies will be developed to minimize the disruption to existing landform through alteration of the existing landform.

No development and only limited types of infrastructure may be permitted within areas of significant landform subject to there being no negative impact to the feature or its functions in order to protect these areas for the long term.

For the areas of the Moraine that are outside of the NHS, the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan will develop additional policies and requirements to support innovative design that integrates new development into the rolling topography, while minimizing the disruption to the existing rolling landscape and its functions including those that support groundwater recharge.

Groundwater monitoring has been underway since 2016. As a groundwater community, the City understands the value of integrated groundwater studies to characterize the existing functions of groundwater in supporting municipal water supplies and ecological habitat.  These studies support informed decisions around land use planning. City staff continues to review groundwater monitoring results, and are using the City’s science-based models to simulate proposed development scenarios to identify, quantify and map potential impacts and mitigation strategies effectiveness for planning purposes.

The City’s groundwater flow model (Tier 3 model) was developed for source water protection purposes under the technical requirements of the Clean Water Act. Source water protection is about protecting our water quantity as well as quality, and the City is equally committed to both. The Tier 3 model is used to simulate current and future sustainability of Guelph’s drinking water system in light of expected growth and development, and climate change impacts such as drought. In short, the model helps determine the amount of water available for human uses, while making sure there is still enough left to keep wetlands, rivers, streams and lakes healthy.

Due to the specific characteristics of the Clair-Maltby area, it’s a headwater area, the hummocky terrain of the Moraine and the numerous wetlands and ponds, an integrated ground-surface water model is required for the secondary plan project. The Clair-Maltby integrated ground-surface water model builds on the Tier 3 groundwater flow model and represents additional water budget processes, natural heritage feature and land use details to support an assessment of the potential impacts on recharge to municipal aquifers, natural features and mitigation effectiveness of future development and management strategies.

Before any final recommendations are made, the full extent of the environmental work outlined in the Terms of Reference and the Technical Work Plan for the CEIS will be completed. At this time, the Phase 1 and 2 work has generally been completed with the exception of environmental analysis associated with tasks that have been shifted to Phase 3.

It was originally anticipated that refinements to the existing Natural Heritage System (NHS) would occur as part of Phase 2 and the land use alternatives; however, refinements have not yet been proposed. The refinements to the NHS will occur as part of the Phase 3 work using a science-based approach grounded in two years of environmental monitoring. Once refinements are proposed to the NHS and any potential impacts are understood, the land uses identified will be revisited and modified if necessary.

The Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP) Alternatives, which will look at different ways to provide water, wastewater, stormwater management and mobility service to this area, are being developed and evaluated in Phase 3 of the project. Therefore, the corresponding environmental analysis of those alternatives will also happen in Phase 3. After this work is completed, the land uses will be revisited and modified if necessary.

At this point, City staff is asking Council to approve a preferred community structure to give staff a starting point for the next phase which includes more technical and environmental studies. Council is not being asked to approve a final land use plan at this time. That request for approval will come only after the City has completed all of its environmental reviews and associated technical assessments.

Preliminary Preferred Community Structure

This plan resulted from the 5-day planning and design charrette held in early April. Changes to the plan may be made before it is presented to Council for approval in June 2018.


Clair-Maltby will be a vibrant, urban community that is integrated with Guelph’s southern neighbourhoods, as well as having strong connections to Downtown, employment areas and the rest of the City. The Natural Heritage System and the Paris Moraine provide the framework for the balanced development of interconnected and sustainable neighbourhoods. This area will be primarily residential in character with a full range and mix of housing types and a variety of other uses that meet the needs of all residents. A system of parks, open spaces and trails will be interwoven throughout to provide opportunities for active and passive recreation.

Conceptual Community Structure (CCS)

The CCS was approved by Council as the basis for technical studies and analysis throughout Phase 2 of the project and the development of Community Structure Alternatives. A full description of the CCS is provided in the Staff Report.

Clair-Maltby Conceptual Community Structure

The Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan Study will help Guelph plan the last greenfield area within the city. The Secondary Plan will establish an appropriate range and mix of land use designations to help achieve the City’s vision to plan a complete and healthy community and support future urban growth.


The study area is over 520 hectares and is located in the southeast corner of Guelph and is bounded by Clair Road to the north, Victoria Road to the east, Maltby Road to the south and the eastern limits of the Southgate Business Park to the west.

Map of study area

Through the secondary plan, a vision for a complete and healthy community will be created including:

  • a range and mix of land uses (residential, employment and commercial);
  • appropriate building heights and densities;
  • servicing and infrastructure, including sewer, water and hydro;
  • an integrated transportation network (both on and off-road), including public transit, pedestrian and bicycle connections;
  • the preservation of environmental features; and,
  • the inclusion of parks, trails and open space.


The Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan will be developed during a three phase process, with an estimated timeline of approximately four years to complete.

Phase 1 (May 2016 – April 2017) included the following tasks:

  • collection of background data
  • environmental characterization and monitoring
  • development of a vision and guiding principles for the study based on a Community Visioning Workshop
  • development of technical work plans and background reports
  • establishment of a Community Working Group and a Technical Advisory Group
  • Council approval of the vision and guiding principles (July 2017)

In addition to the approved Vision, the study will be guided by the following approved ‘Guiding Principles’. Clair-Maltby will be:

    • Vibrant and urban: Create identifiable urban neighbourhoods that are pedestrian oriented and humanscaled. Promote forward-thinking and innovative design that integrates new development into the rolling topography, while conserving significant cultural heritage resources.
    • Green and resilient: Protect, maintain, restore, and where possible, improve water resources and the Natural Heritage System. Support resiliency and environmental sustainability through measures such as energy efficiency, water conservation and green infrastructure.
    • Healthy and sustainable: Design the community for healthy, active living. Provide a mix of land uses including a diversity of housing choices at appropriate densities with appropriate municipal services to ensure long-term sustainable development which is fiscally responsible.
    • Interconnected and interwoven: Establish a multi-modal mobility network that provides choice and connects neighbourhoods to each other and the rest of the City. Create a network of parks, open spaces and trails to provide opportunities for active and passive recreation, as well as active transportation choices.
    • Balanced and liveable: A valued and livable community which reflects the right balance between protecting the environment and fostering a healthy, equitable and complete community.

Phase 2 (currently underway) will involve:

  • detailed technical studies
  • developing a preliminary concept plan, to be called the Conceptual Community Structure (CCS), based on a Community Visioning Exercise
  • developing and refining Community Structure Alternatives based on the original Conceptual Community Structure and input from technical studies
  • evaluating the Community Structure alternatives with public input through a design charrette to choose the preferred alternative
  • Presenting the preferred alternative to Council for endorsement

The CCS (shown above) was developed based on community input from the general public and the Community Working Group (CWG) for this project, as well as technical input from the Technical Steering Committee and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). Input was received through a group based, hands-on community planning and mapping exercise that was designed to allow each group to develop a concept for the secondary plan area. The development of the CCS was guided by the approved vision and guiding principles established in Phase 1 of the project. The concept generally illustrates where land uses (such as low, medium and high density residential, mixed-use, commercial and employment), major roads, parks and schools may be located.

The recommended CCS provides a general layout of land use, connective elements and community facilities (parks and schools). The CCS displays the following:

      • Residential Land Use, Density and Built Form
      • Mobility Network
      • Neighbourhoods, Parks and Schools
      • Natural Heritage System
      • Employment Lands

A detailed description of the recommended CCS is provided in the Staff Report to Council.

Phase 3 will involve:

      • preparing the Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP) and Secondary Plan documents
      • holding a public meeting
      • presenting the final MESP and Secondary Plan to Council for approval

Public engagement

The Secondary Plan process strives to be inclusive, with a significant amount of community engagement and Council input, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to remain informed and involved in the process.

Email to be added to the mailing list to receive notice of public engagement opportunities.

For more information

Stacey Laughlin, Senior Policy Planner
Planning, Urban Design and Building Services
519-822-1260 extension 2327

Background information

Terms of reference phase

After Council approved the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan Project Initiation report on June 22, 2015, staff began work on developing the detailed terms of reference to guide the Secondary Plan study.

Community engagement for the terms of reference included a public open house on August 11, 2015 (see below for public open house materials) and a focus group session on September 17, 2015, both of which were well attended. In addition, a draft version of the terms of reference was released on this webpage for public review and comment from October 23 to November 2, 2015.

August 15, 2015 Public Open House Materials

A Technical Steering Committee, consisting of city staff and representatives from the County of Wellington, the Township of Puslinch and Grand River Conservation Authority provided input into the terms of reference. Council Advisory Committees, including the Environmental Advisory Committee, River Systems Advisory Committee and Heritage Guelph were also consulted and provided input into the terms of reference.

The comments received from the public open house, focus group session, technical steering committee, council advisory committee, and the release of the draft Terms of Reference all informed the final Terms of Reference for the project.

A Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP) and Secondary Plan process is being followed to develop the Secondary Plan. The MESP is being carried out in accordance with the Master Plan (Approach #1) requirements of the Municipal Engineers Association Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process (Section A.2.7 of the Class EA document). This comprehensive approach integrates the environmental, servicing, transportation and land use planning.

On December 14, 2015, Council approved the Terms of Reference for the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan and Master Environmental Servicing Plan (MESP).

A consultant team was retained in early 2016. The consultant team consists of the following firms:

  • Macaulay Shiomi Howson Ltd.
  • Brook McIlroy Inc.
  • Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Beacon Environmental
  • Matrix Solutions Inc.
  • Daryl W. Cowell & Associates Inc.
  • BA Group
  • Watson & Associates Economists Ltd.
  • ASI

Phase one

Major components of Phase 1 work include the following:

  • Refinement of the Study Timeline;
  • Finalization of the secondary plan area boundary;
  • Development and refinement of background reports and technical work plans for all components of the study;
  • Establishment of a consistent look for all project materials;
  • Development of a Problem/Opportunity statement for the MESP;
  • Environmental monitoring and characterization;
  • Establishment of the TAG and the CWG;
  • Notice of Study Commencement;
  • PIC #1 and Community Visioning Workshop; and,
  • Development of a vision and guiding principles for the study and secondary plan.

Phase 1 work began in Q2 2016 and concluded with the presentation of the vision and guiding principles to Council for approval on July 4, 2017.

An information session for landowners within the study was held on May 26, 2016 for landowners and their representatives to ask questions and provide comments in order to better understand the Project Team’s request for access to property within the study area. The presentation from that meeting is available below:

The draft Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study (CEIS) Technical Work Plan was presented to the Environmental Advisory Committee and the River Systems Advisory Committee at a joint special meeting on November 16, 2016.

The Technical Advisory Group and the Community Working Group for the project were both established in Q1 of 2017.

On April 6, 2017 the Notice of Study Commencement was issued in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act and the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process.

On April 27, 2017 a Visioning Workshop and Public Information Centre PIC #1 were held for the study at Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School. The materials and information presented at that meeting are below.

At the conclusion of Phase One of the project, the following Background Reports and Technical Work Plans have been prepared:

Task A: Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study

Task B: Water/Wastewater Servicing Study

Task C: Stormwater Management Plan

Task D: Mobility Study

Task E: Energy and Other Utilities Study

Task F: Secondary Plan Study

Task G: Fiscal Impact Assessment

Task H: Community Engagement & Communications

On July 4, 2017, Committee of a Whole approved the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan Phase One Report and Recommended Vision and Guiding Principles. This report provides a summary of the work completed during Phase One of the project and provides Council with the recommended Vision and Guiding Principles for the secondary plan project.