Order to declare that the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) does not apply to the establishment of a new University of Waterloo campus in the City of Stratford, Ontario.

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 153/04
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Environmental Assessment Act
Summary of Decision:
A decision was made to grant a Declaration Order under the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) to give the University of Waterloo the authority to proceed with the establishment of a new digital media research and education campus in the City of Stratford, Ontario.

The Declaration Order was approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on November 17, 2010 on recommendation from the Minister of the Environment.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
July 29, 2010
Summary of Proposal:

The university, with the support of the city intends to establish a new campus for digital media research and education in Stratford, Ontario. The university plans to commence classes at the new campus by September 2012, and must therefore begin construction by October 2010 to meet this schedule.

There is currently no space on the existing university campus in Waterloo to accommodate the digital media academic program. The city was identified by the university as an ideal location for its new campus based on the city’s strong cultural and artistic focus. The new campus would also form an integral component of the city’s economic diversification efforts. The annual economic benefit from the operation of the campus through construction, employment, ancillary services, student spending and other associated benefits has been estimated by the city to be in the millions of dollars.


The proposed campus would consist of a 40,000 square foot, three storey academic building constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System silver standards, with landscaped green space and approximately 45 parking spaces. The university expects an enrolment of 100 students in 2012, growing to 375 students within ten years.

Site Selection

The university considered four sites within the city for the proposed campus and concluded that a location in the downtown area would provide students and faculty with access to amenities and the cultural and artistic centre of the city, which would not be accessible at the other potential sites. The site at 105 St. Patrick Street was determined to be the preferred location. This location includes adequate lands for the current proposed campus, plus additional adjacent lands that can be used for future campus development.

The site is currently owned by the city and used as a municipal parking lot. It does not contain any vegetation, water bodies or other natural features. The land would be transferred to the university for the development of the campus.

The site is currently considered a brownfield property known as the Cooper Site, which was the location of past heavy industrial uses. There has been no significant industrial or commercial activity within the site since the Cooper-Bessemer Corporation ceased operations in 1986.

Soil Remediation

A Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment is currently underway on the lands slated for the proposed new campus. Initial testing has indicated that various metals (including antimony, arsenic, copper, lead, selenium, and mercury) are present in the fill. As part of the agreement between the city and the university, the land would be remediated by the city to residential standards and a Record of Site Condition would be filed prior to transferring the land to the university.

Under Ontario Regulation 153/04, a university campus would typically only require site remediation to a level adequate for industrial, commercial or community use, however the university is requiring that the city ensure that the site meets the more stringent residential standards. In addition, the construction of the proposed campus is a key element in the city’s plans to revitalize the Cooper Site and redevelop the large brownfield site in the city’s downtown core.
Contact Address:
Alex Blasko
Project Officer
Ministry of the Environment
Operations Division
Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
2 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 12A
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1L5
Phone: (416) 314-7232
Fax: (416) 314-7774
Royal Assent Date:
November 17, 2010