In 1973 Waterloo Region had about 268,000 people. Today we have 535,000. Our population has about doubled in forty years. In about another twenty years we are predicted to be at about 735,000. That’s good news. Good news for out local economy, housing market and lifestyle; if you’re like me and you like the vibrancy and opportunities of living in a city.
It was reported last week from information obtained from the 2011 census that Kitchener Waterloo are on track to reach our intensification targets. We are doing well at slowing the pace of urban sprawl and intensifying land use. Currently, about 55% of all new residential development occurs within existing neighbourhoods.
The province’s Places to Grow Act has set a clear target for both Kitchener and Waterloo — 200 people or jobs per hectare in their downtowns by 2031. At that level, urban planners say, light rail transit and rapid transit can be supported.
Kitchener Waterloo are doing a good job at refurbishing old manufacturing plants, turning them into housing and with connecting the new neighbourhoods to regional public transit.
The City of Kitchener was the Town of Berlin from 1854 until 1912 and the City of Berlin from 1912 until 1916. Waterloo was incorporated as a village in 1857 and became the Town of Waterloo in 1876 and the City of Waterloo in 1948. Cambridge became a city in 1973, when the City of Galt, Towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the hamlet of Blair were amalgamated.
Waterloo Region which includes Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, and the townships of Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot, and North Dumfries is the tenth largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Canada and the fourth largest CMA in Ontario.
As we continue to grow, we have the advantage of learning from the mistakes some of Canada’s biggest cities made. It’s hard to imagine what it was like to live here in the 1970’s. But it’s becoming clear to see what it’ll be like in the 2030’s.