Parkland Dedication Bylaw

This bylaw is a consolidated digital version of the official legal document. It is not an exact reproduction and is for information purposes only.

Contact 519-747-8777, 1-866-785-3941 (TTY for deaf) or clerkinfo@waterloo.ca to get a copy of the official bylaw.


Bylaw number: 2022-073
Last passed by council: September 26, 2022


A bylaw of the Corporation of the City of Waterloo with respect to parkland dedication.


  1. Definitions
  2. Area and uses to which this bylaw is applicable
  3. Parkland dedication requirements
  4. Condition of land for conveyance
  5. Cash-in-lieu of parkland
  6. Previous parkland dedication or cash-in-lieu payment
  7. Valuation
  8. Timing
  9. Exemptions
  10. Temporary reduction and temporary exemption
  11. Transition
  12. Administration
  13. Bylaw repeals
  14. Effective date
  15. Schedule A
  16. Schedule B

Whereas Sections 42, 51.1 and 53 of the Planning Act provide that the council of a local municipality may by bylaw require that land and or cash-in-lieu of land be conveyed to the municipality for park or other public recreational purposes as a condition of development or redevelopment or the subdivision of lands; and

And whereas Sections 42 and 51.1 of the Planning Act provide for an alternate parkland rate of one hectare for each three hundred (300) dwelling units proposed for development provided the municipality has an official plan that contains specific policies dealing with the provision of lands for park or other public recreational purposes; and

And whereas the Official Plan for the City of Waterloo contains approved policies regarding the requirements for the conveyance of land for park or other public recreational purposes; and

And whereas the City of Waterloo enacted Bylaw No. 2011-024, as amended by Bylaw 2011-098, to require the conveyance of land for park or other recreational purposes; and further enacted Bylaw No. 2015-044, which expired Dec. 31, 2019, to temporarily reduce the parkland dedication in the Uptown for high density developments, offices, and mixed use buildings, and to temporarily waive the parkland dedication for industrial development / redevelopment city-wide; and

And whereas the City of Waterloo further enacted Bylaw No. 2020-051 to extend the temporary reduction of the required parkland dedication in the Uptown for high density developments, offices, and mixed use buildings, and to temporarily waive the parkland dedication for industrial development / redevelopment city-wide, retroactive to January 1, 2020 and expiring on December 31, 2024; and

And whereas the City of Waterloo deems it desirable to maintain the temporary reduction of the required parkland dedication in the Uptown for high density developments, offices, and mixed use buildings, and to temporarily waive the parkland dedication for industrial development / redevelopment city-wide, as per Section 10 of this bylaw, for a period expiring on December 31, 2024; and

And whereas in accordance with subsection 42 (3.1) of the Planning Act, in the preparation of this bylaw the City has consulted with such persons and public bodies as the municipality considers appropriate;

Therefore the Municipal Council of the Corporation of the City of Waterloo enacts as follows:


1.0 Definitions

In this bylaw,

(1) “building floor area” shall be defined as per the Zoning Bylaw;

(2) “city” means The Corporation of the City of Waterloo, including all land within its geographic boundaries, and where the context so applies, includes its officers, employees, servants, agents and contractors;

(3) "commercial uses" means the commercial uses specified in the Zoning Bylaw categories applied to the Uptown, which may be classified as Group A2 uses under the Ontario Building Code;

(4) “conversion” means the alteration or change of use of an existing building or property to some other use;

(5) “council” means the council of the City;

(6) "development” means the construction, erection, or placing of one or more buildings or structures on land or the making of an addition or alteration to a building or structure, and “developed” shall have the corresponding meaning;

(7) “dwelling unit” means two (2) or more rooms designed or intended to be occupied by and for the use of an individual or household as a residence with separate kitchen and sanitary (bathroom) facilities that are intended for the use of the dwelling unit only;

(8) “environmental features” means lands of the natural environment, including but not limited to:

  1. significant habitat of endangered species, threatened species;
  2. fish habitat;
  3. wetlands;
  4. life science areas of natural and scientific interest;
  5. significant valleylands;
  6. significant woodlands;
  7. significant wildlife habitat;
  8. sand barrens, savannahs and tallgrass prairies;
  9. alvars
  10. permanent and intermittent streams;
  11. lakes (and their littoral zones);
  12. environmentally significant discharge areas and environmentally significant recharge areas; and,
  13. regional recharge areas;

(9) “gross land area” means the total area of all lands that are the subject of a development or redevelopment application;

(10) "industrial” means the following industrial uses as specified in the industrial categories in the Zoning Bylaw:

  1. advanced tech;
  2. communication production;
  3. custom service shop;
  4. data centre;
  5. ood and beverage manufacturing industry;
  6. government use;
  7. industrial assembly (including light industrial assembly);
  8. industrial manufacturing (including light industrial manufacturing);
  9. industrial processing (including light industrial manufacturing);
  10. laboratory;
  11. microbrewery;
  12. pharmaceutical industry;
  13. printing establishment;
  14. warehouse (no retail);
  15. wholesaler (no retail);

(11) “mixed use” means the use of land, buildings or structures intended and designed to contain both residential and non-residential uses within the same building or on discrete portions of the same site;

(12) "mixed building" means:

  1. a building containing office and commercial uses; or
  2. a building containing office and residential uses; or
  3. a building containing office, commercial uses, and residential uses;

(13) “net land area” means the gross land area minus the land area of any environmental features and associated buffers within the gross land area that are being conveyed to the City at no cost;

(14) “opinion of value” means an estimate of the market value of one or more parcels of land, prepared by an independent accredited real-estate appraiser, in accordance with Section 7 and Schedule 'A' to this bylaw;

(15) "office" means the following office uses as defined in the Zoning Bylaw, which may be classified as Group D uses under the Ontario Building Code:

  1. office;
  2. major office
  3. tech office;
  4. medical clinic;
  5. business incubator;

(16) "Planning Act" means the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13 as amended from time to time, or any successor thereof;

(17) “redevelopment” means the removal of a building or structure from land, the further development of the land, or the substantial renovation of a building or structure and a change in the use or density of the use in connection therewith, and “redeveloped” shall have the corresponding meaning;

(18) "reduced land area" means fifteen per cent (15%) of the net land area minus the area of actual land conveyance for park or other public recreational purposes;

(19) "uptown" means the lands shown on Schedule 'B' attached hereto and illustrated as Uptown Waterloo Urban Growth Centre.

(20) “Zoning Bylaw” means City of Waterloo Bylaw 2018-050, as amended from time to time, or any successor thereof.


2.0 Areas and uses to which this bylaw is applicable

This bylaw shall apply to all lands within the city.


3.0 Parkland dedication requirements

As a condition of development or redevelopment of land anywhere in the City, the conveyance of land for park or other public recreational purposes shall be required as follows:

(1) Residential and institutional uses:

  1. residential development or redevelopment, having a density of 100 units per hectare or less (based on the net land area), shall convey parkland at a rate of five percent (5%) of the net land area;
  2. residential development or redevelopment, having a density exceeding 100 units per hectare (based on the net land area), shall convey parkland at an alternative rate of 0.15 hectares per 300 units;
  3. residential redevelopments which increase the number of dwelling units shall provide for a dedication based on the number of new units and the applicable rates set out in Section 3.1.1. and 3.1.2. of this bylaw, or at a reduced rate in accordance with Section 6.1 of the this bylaw, as determined by the City;
  4. institutional development or redevelopment shall convey parkland at a rate of five percent (5%) of the net land area;
  5. for redevelopment, addition, expansion, or extension of an existing institutional development, and where parkland was previously conveyed or cash-in-lieu of parkland previously paid, the required conveyance of land shall be determined by applying the rate in Section 3.1.4. to the net land area prorated proportionally to the additional building floor area as a percentage of the total building floor area of the development;

(f) in the case of the conversion of land originally used for commercial or industrial purposes to residential or institutional purposes, parkland shall be conveyed as per the applicable rates outlined in Sections 3.1.1. 3.1.2. and 3.1.3. of this bylaw, or at a reduced rate in accordance with Section 6.1, as determined by the City;

(2) Commercial or industrial uses:

  1. commercial or industrial development or redevelopment shall convey parkland at a rate of 2% of the net land area;
  2. for redevelopment, addition, expansion, or extension of an existing commercial or industrial development, and where parkland was previously conveyed or cash-in-lieu of parkland previously paid, the required conveyance of land shall be determined by applying the rate in Section 3.2.1. to the net land area prorated proportionally to the additional building floor area as a percentage of the total building floor area of the development;
  3. in the case of the conversion of land originally used for residential or institutional purposes to commercial or industrial purposes, parkland shall be conveyed as per Section 3.2.1. of this bylaw, or at a reduced rate in accordance with Section 6.1 as determined by the City;

(3) Mixed use:

  1. in the case of a mixed use development or redevelopment, where the residential component has a density of 100 units per hectare or less (based on the net land area), the residential component of the conveyance shall be determined in accordance with Section 3.1.1. The commercial component of the conveyance shall be determined in accordance with the rate in Section 3.2.1. Both rates will be based on the net land area prorated proportionally to the building floor area allocated to each use;
  2. in the case of a mixed use development or redevelopment, where the residential component has a density exceeding 100 units per hectare (based on the net land area), the residential component of the conveyance shall be determined in accordance with the alternative rate of 0.15 hectares per 300 units in Section 3.1.2. The commercial component of the conveyance shall be determined in accordance with the rate in Section 3.2.1. Both rates will be based on the net land area prorated proportionally to the building floor area allocated to each use;
  3. Where there is a claim of previous conveyance or cash-in-lieu payment, refer to Section 6 of this bylaw.

4.0 Condition of land for conveyance

(1) Lands conveyed to the City for park or other recreational purposes shall be conveyed in a condition satisfactory to the City, free and clear of all encumbrances unless otherwise agreed to by the City, meeting minimum standards in terms of drainage, grading and site conditions;

(2) The City will not consider any land that has been or is to be conveyed to the City for stormwater management facilities, for flood plain or conservation purposes, for highways, roadways, walkways, servicing or any other non-parkland purpose, as contributing towards the required parkland dedication;

(3) The City retains the right to not accept the conveyance of any land that is considered by the City to be unsuitable for park or public recreation purposes and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, land having any of the following features:

  1. environmental features;
  2. hazardous or flood prone lands;
  3. steep or unstable slopes;
  4. where the location and configuration of the lands are constrained or undesirable as determined by the City;
  5. any lands having unsuitable or unstable soil conditions;
  6. utility rights-of-way or easements, including but not limited to hydro, gas, cable and telecommunications;
  7. lands that are located adjacent to a major collector, city arterial or regional road;
  8. lands that are contaminated or are suspected of being contaminated;
  9. any land containing an easement, encumbrance, or right-of-use that limits or restricts the City's use of the land; or
  10. lands that are within or form part of a stormwater management facility;

(4) Where it has been determined by the City that the lands to be conveyed have been physically disturbed by the dumping of debris, unconsolidated fill or other refuse, or by stripping the topsoil or by any other means or works, the owner shall be responsible for restoring the land to a condition satisfactory to the City before the City accepts such lands;

(5) Any legal and administrative costs associated with the conveyance of land as per this bylaw shall be the responsibility of the transferor.


5.0 Cash-in-lieu of parkland

(1) At the discretion of the City's Commissioner of Integrated Planning and Public Works or their designate (in consultation with the City's Commissioner of Community Services), a payment of money, in lieu of the conveyance of some or all of the land for park purposes referred to in Section 3, may be required equal to the value of the lands otherwise required to be conveyed;

(2) Without restricting any right of the City, cash-in-lieu of land for park purposes may be generally considered:

  1. where there is no land that is either usable or functional on the site for parkland or recreational purposes, as determined by the City;
  2. where the required land dedication fails to provide an area of suitable shape, size or location for public parkland, as determined by the City;
  3. where the required dedication of land would render the remainder of the site unusable or impractical for development or redevelopment, as determined by the City;
  4. where the City has identified land in a preferred location that is to be acquired by the City; or
  5. where the area being developed or redeveloped is already well served by existing park and recreational facilities, as determined by the City.

6.0 Previous parkland dedication or cash-in-lieu payment

(1) In determining the amount of land required to be conveyed or the cash-in-lieu equivalent pursuant to Sections 3 and 5, the amount shall be reduced by any previous parkland conveyance or cash-in-lieu payment made to the City in accordance with the following:

  1. for residential development or redevelopment, including the residential component of mixed use developments, the amount owning shall be reduced by a percentage equal to the number of units that existed on the site at the time of previous parkland conveyance or cash-in-lieu payment divided by the number of units in the new development or redevelopment;
  2. for institutional, commercial and industrial development or redevelopment, including components of mixed use developments, the amount owing shall be reduced by a percentage equal to the gross floor area that existed on the site at the time of previously parkland conveyance or cash-in-lieu payment divided by the gross floor area of the new development or redevelopment;

(2) Where there is a claim of previous conveyance or payment, it is the applicant's/owners responsibility to provide suitable evidence of such previous conveyance or payment, to the satisfaction of the City.


7.0 Valuation

(1) Where the payment of cash in-lieu of parkland conveyance is required, the opinion of value for the lands to be developed or redeveloped shall be obtained as follows:

  1. the owner will retain an independent accredited real-estate appraiser qualified to provide an opinion of value, at the expense of the owner, and to the standards and specifications of the City;
  2. the independent accredited real-estate appraiser shall determine the opinion of value in accordance with Section 7.2 and Schedule 'A' to this bylaw;

(2) The value of the land shall be determined:

  1. as of the day before the granting of draft approval for development by way of plan of subdivision or condominium; or,
  2. the day before the granting of provisional consent for a consent application; or,
  3. for all developments or redevelopments other than those listed in Section 7.2.1. or 7.2.2., as of the day before the issuance of a building permit for the development or redevelopment. Where more than one building permit is required for the development or redevelopment, the value shall be determined as of the day before the day the first permit is issued;

(3) Notwithstanding Section 7.1 and 7.2 above, the City may, at its sole discretion, accept the purchase price of the subject lands as a determinant of the land value provided the purchase occurred within the last 12 months (365 days) prior to the date the application was deemed complete by the City, the subject lands
are/were appropriately zoned for the proposed development or redevelopment when purchased, and the applicant can demonstrate to the City that the purchase was an arms-length, bona fide sale.


8.0 Timing

(1) For all developments or redevelopments other than as listed in Section 8.2, title for the land to be conveyed or the payment of cash-in-lieu thereof for the development or redevelopment shall be received by the City prior to the issuance of any building permit for the proposed development or redevelopment;

(2) Title for the land to be conveyed or the payment of cash-in-lieu thereof shall be received by the City in accordance with the conditions of approval of a plan of subdivision or condominium pursuant to Section 51 of the Planning Act or the conditions of provisional consent pursuant to section 53 of the Planning Act.


9.0 Exemptions

(1) No conveyance of land or payment of cash-in-lieu of such conveyance is required in the case of development or redevelopment of:

  1. a building that was accidentally damaged or demolished by fire or other natural causes and where:
    1. the building is repaired or replaced and re-occupied before the expiry of two years; and
    2. the building continues to be used for the same purpose after it is repaired, replaced or rebuilt.
  2. land that is owned by and/or used for the purposes of provincial universities or colleges governed by the Education Act; R.S.O. 1990, c. E.2, as amended from time to time or any successor thereof; or,
  3. other uses as determined by Council upon the request of the applicant.

10.0 Temporary reduction and temporary exemption

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this bylaw, the following shall apply:

  1. notwithstanding anything to the contrary, residential development and or residential redevelopment in the Uptown having a density exceeding 100 residential units per hectare based on the net land area shall convey parkland at an alternative rate of 0.10 hectares per 300 units.
  2. notwithstanding Subsection 10.1.1. of this bylaw, the parkland conveyance for residential development and or residential redevelopment in the Uptown having a density exceeding 100 residential units per hectare based on the net land area shall not exceed:
    1. where the parkland requirement is satisfied through the conveyance of land, fifteen per cent (15%) of the net land area;
    2. where the parkland requirement is satisfied through cash-in-lieu of land, fifteen per cent (15%) of the value of the net land area;
    3. where the parkland requirement is satisfied through a combination of the conveyance of land and cash-in-lieu, cash-in-lieu shall not exceed the value of the reduced land area;
    4. for Subsections 10.1.2.2. and 10.1.2.3. of this bylaw, land values shall be determined by an independent accredited real-estate appraiser retained by and at the expense of the land owner, in accordance with Section 7 of this bylaw.
  3. notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in the Uptown, the following shall be exempt from the parkland requirements of this bylaw:
    1. office buildings;
    2. office and ground floor commercial uses of a mixed building.
  4. notwithstanding anything to the contrary, city-wide, industrial development and industrial redevelopment shall be exempt from the parkland requirements of this bylaw.

(2) The temporary reduction and temporary exemption as set out in Section 10 of this bylaw shall end and cease at 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2024.


11.0 Transition

(1) The provisions of this bylaw shall take effect and will apply in regard to applications (consent, condominium, subdivision, site plan, and building permit applications) which:

  1. have not been deemed complete by the City, Chief Building Official or Regional Municipality of Waterloo prior to the effective date of this bylaw, in the case of consent, condominium, subdivision or building permit applications;
  2. have not been given final approval by the Director of Planning for the City of Waterloo prior to the effective date of this bylaw, in the case of site plan applications; or
  3. are submitted after the effective date of this bylaw

12.0 Administration

The administration of this bylaw and the determination of the application of this bylaw shall be made by the City's Director of Planning or their designate.


13.0 Bylaw repeals

(1) By-law No. 2011-024, as amended by By-law No. 2011-098, is hereby repealed.

(2) By-law Nos. 2015-044 and 2020-051 are hereby repealed.


14.0 Effective date

This bylaw shall come into force and effect on September 26, 2022.


Schedule 'A'

Opinion of value assumptions
The professional opinion of value for the lands shall be determined:

(1) in regard to the net land area;

(2) in regard to the value of the land only. The land to be valued should be treated as vacant and with no on-site improvements or buildings and without the inclusions of any development charges or credits which may otherwise be applicable.

(3) assuming there are no rights of way, easements, encroachments, encumbrances, restrictions, leases or covenants that would in any way affect the valuation, unless expressly demonstrated by the applicant/owner, to the satisfaction of the City of Waterloo.

(4) assuming rights of way, easements or encroachments affecting the lands are legally enforceable.

(5) assuming the soil conditions at the subject site have the necessary bearing capacity to support typical improvements, unless expressly demonstrated by the applicant/owner, to the satisfaction of the City of Waterloo.

(6) assuming the lands are free and clear of any environmental condition, past, present or future that might affect the market value, unless expressly demonstrated by the applicant/owner, to the satisfaction of the City of Waterloo.


Schedule 'B'

Uptown Waterloo urban growth centre a map of Uptown Waterloo outling areas around the uptown that mark this centre