Our strategic plan for the environment shows how we will put the environment first, reduce our carbon emissions and preserve our planet.

On this page:

  1. Our plan for the environment
  2. Natural heritage and recreation
  3. Water resources
  4. Air quality
  5. Land resource and growth management
  6. Energy management
  7. Consumption and waste management
  8. Education and public awareness

Our plan for the environment

Since 1992, our Strategic Plan for the Environment has guided our environmental initiatives. Our plan supports:

  • natural heritage and recreation
  • water resources
  • air quality
  • land resource and growth management
  • energy management
  • consumption and waste management
  • education and public awareness

Natural heritage and recreation

We work to develop and maintain an ecologically diverse open space network that incorporates typical naturally occurring landscapes, significant natural features and the urban forest, all of which embody our valued natural heritage.

With our city's Official Plan in place, which identifies all of the known provincially, regionally and locally significant components that comprise our natural heritage system, as well as our Parks Strategic Plan and Multi-use Pathway and Trails Master Plan, we're in a much better position to optimize the potential for our natural heritage system and recreational areas.

Natural heritage and recreation projects

  • tree management and tree conservation bylaw
  • naturalization and reforestation
  • urban forestry and street-tree program
  • Huron Natural Area
  • Audubon International certification for golf courses
  • Kitchener Natural Areas Program
  • Walter Bean Grand River Trail

Water resources

We protect our water supply by working with the Region of Waterloo and the Grand River Conservation Authority to replenish and protect our water and wetlands.

We’ve also been working on our multi-year Water Infrastructure Program to ensure our storm, sewer and drinking water systems receive the maintenance they need to consistently handle the needs of a growing city

We’ve already helped preserve our water resources through the:

Water projects

  • construction and restoration of Schneider Creek through Filsinger Park,
  • environmental assessments and designs for the enhancement or restoration of Idlewood and Balzer creeks
  • construction and stream restoration at Kolb Creek
  • restoration of Melitzer Creek
  • home and business visits and community workshops offered through the RAIN stormwater education program
  • stormwater management: Audits, credits and utility
  • Ontario's Showcasing Water Innovation Program for Beyond the Landfill: Finding Better Uses For Stormwater Pond Sediments
  • water quality monitoring
  • stream restoration
  • source-water protection strategy / policies
  • Lake Erie source-water protection
  • Ontario Clean Water Act
  • Region of Waterloo water resources protection and water conservation
  • pesticide ban
  • RAIN Program3

Air quality

Over the past decade, we have successfully implemented approximately 50 new initiatives to improve our local air quality - actions recommended to us through the Citizens' Report on Air Quality in Kitchener.

We've also achieved significant milestones of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program for both corporate and community greenhouse gas reduction - huge steps on our path to reducing our carbon footprint.

Our progress on air-quality improvement is monitored through the Strategic Plan for the Environment annual report card.

Air quality projects

  • ISO 14001 Certification for Kitchener fleet operations
  • Corporate Climate Action Plan
  • Citizen's Report on Air Quality
  • pedestrian charter
  • REEP Green Solutions
  • active and safe routes to school
  • anti-idling signage at city facilities and schools

Land resource and growth management

Our growth management strategy and growth management plan continue to help us coordinate and track development across our city.

Most new development is now planned and built in areas well served by existing or planned transit.

Over the past few years, many new mixed-use developments have been built within walking distance of public transit - including the ION network, our region's new light-rail transit system - and other amenities.

Our downtown/urban growth centre is also evolving, as we continue to exceed provincial targets for attracting new residents and businesses to our core.

Land resource and growth management projects

We will be shifting part of our focus to ensuring environmental and energy conservation is more prevalent in all new development. We continue to work with the development community to find more infill, intensification and redevelopment opportunities in our city's established areas. Other related initiatives

  • 'Planning Around Rapid Transit Stations' (PARTS)
  • natural heritage system
  • Rosenberg secondary plan
  • walkable communities
  • Kitchener's EDGE Program
  • downtown incentives
  • mixed-use corridor guidelines and zoning
  • urban design manual and neighbourhood design initiative

Energy management

We work towards continual reductions in per-capita energy consumption and promote a sustainable and the increased use of renewable energy sources and new technologies.

Energy management projects

To reach our community greenhouse-gas reduction target of six (6) per cent below 2010 levels by 2020, we continue to move on actions from the Climate Action Plan for Waterloo Region: Living Smarter in 2020 report.

The first major Progress Report on this Plan was released in early 2017, revealing that our community has achieved a 5.2% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2015. Over the past few years, our community has made progress on the following initiatives for reducing energy and emissions:

  • community bike share systems
  • electric vehicles and charging network
  • corporate sector reduction commitments
  • zero-impact sustainability incubator
  • water efficiency target
  • conservation and demand management initiatives
  • solar roof at Kitchener Operations Facility
  • Partners for Climate Protection
  • energy management
  • Community Climate Action Plan
  • community Energy Investment Strategy
  • community access bikeshare
  • LEED Gold Standard for city facilities over 5,332 square feet
  • solar-city pilot for faith institutions
  • home energy improvement program
  • fleet idling protocol
  • Kitchener Utilities
  • KW Hydro Energy Conservation Programs and Incentives
  • bike parking

Consumption and waste management

We are working to reduce resource consumption and pollution at our facilities and properties with renewable resources, monitoring programs, efficient operating practices and state-of-the-art waste management.

Consumption and waste management projects

  • standardizing rural and city waste programs
  • modifying depot drop-offs
  • investigating thermal technology and garbage energy recovery
  • waste reduction at public events
  • municipal leaf composting

We also support the Region of Waterloo’s green bin and other recycling programs.

Education and public awareness

To promote an environmentally healthy lifestyle through the development of strategies to

increase environmental literacy; the implementation of effective monitoring programs; and the

introduction of cooperative public outreach initiatives.

Education and public awareness projects

  • our strategic plan
  • A Plan for a Healthy Kitchener
  • Compass Kitchener citizens' report card
  • community environmental improvement grant
  • TravelWise
  • stewardship guidelines for homeowners
  • Huron Natural Area events
  • Waterloo Wellington Children's Groundwater Festival
  • Green City committee
  • Earth Hour
  • Earth Day community clean-ups