Airport Zoning Regulations (AZR)

Stage 1 of the 20 Year Airport Master Plan identified the need to update of the current Airport Zoning Regulations. This regulation restricts the height of development surrounding the airport, in order to ensure the safety of aircraft and protect the future configuration of the airfield.

Use the "Property Locator" to find out what the estimated allowable development height is on your property. You can select a property, search by address or street. Please note: All information provided is approximate only. If greater accuracy is required, please contact the Region of Waterloo International Airport Master Plan Implementation Team.

AZR Property Locator 

Preliminary information on this project was provided in the first Public Consultation Centre (PCC), held on June 20, 2019. Please download the information package from PCC No. 1 for details.

Submit Airport Zoning Regulations Feedback   

Project Information

What are AZRs?

AZRs ensure that development near an airport is compatible with the safe operation of aircraft. These regulations:

  • Limit the height of objects (i.e. buildings, trees etc.);
  • Encourage land uses that do not attract birds; and,
  • Encourage land uses that do not interfere with communication or navigational aids used by aircraft.

View drawing of proposed Region of Waterloo International Airport AZR.

 Is the airport currently protected by AZRs?

Yes – the current AZRs have been in effect since March 19, 2009.

View drawing of the current Region of Waterloo International Airport AZR. 

View current Region of Waterloo International Airport AZR on Transport Canada's website. 

Why is the Region updating the AZR? 

The current AZR protects the airport now, but it does not address the future airport configuration as identified in the 2017 Master Plan. Updating the AZR will protect for:

  • New runway extensions;
  • Future instrument approach procedures (airspace protection); and,
  • Long-term plan for a third runway.

The AZR update is a responsible way to protect the airport and meet the needs of future generations.

 Who updates AZRs?
Transport Canada (TC) has the authority to make or update Airport Zoning Regulations. Section 5.4 of the Aeronautics Act outlines the AZR legislation. The Region has made a formal request to TC to update the AZRs. TC will start and control the update process.
 AZR Considerations

The proposed AZR considers:

  • Extending Runway 14-32 length from 1,250 metres to 2,134 metres;
  • Extending Runway 08-26 length from 2,134 metres to 3,048 metres;
  • Extending Runway 14-32 approach surface lengths from 5,000 metres to 15,000 metres;
  • Reducing Runway 08-26 and 14-32 approach slopes from 2.0% to 1.6%;
  • Third runway length of 3,048 metres; and,
  • Outer surface extension along approach surfaces.
Why protect for a third runway? 

The proposed AZR protects for a potential future third runway as recommended in the 2017 Airport Master Plan. The third runway is planned to be located 1,525 metres (5,003 feet) east and parallel to Runway 14-32. It would allow for more capacity and increased safety at the airport, by reducing the mixed operation of commercial and general aviation traffic.

Note that including a third runway in the proposed AZRs only protects the airspace. This does not constitute approval to build a new runway. The proposed AZRs allow a third runway to remain a viable option in the long-term future. Construction approval would require extensive public consultation and environmental studies through a separate process.

What are the impacts to future development?

There are some existing objects that would violate the proposed AZR now. The Region will identify and assess these objects as part of the AZR process. In some cases the Region may consider grandfathering an object into the regulations. For this to happen, the object must not impact aircraft safety or the instrument approaches. If the object will have an impact, the Region will work with the landowner to remove it.

What are the impacts to future developments?

The AZR will impact future development in the Region. These impacts are not expected to be widespread, but concentrated closer to the airport. Consultation with local planners and individual landowners on these potential impacts has begun. This consultation will continue throughout the AZR process.

What is a bird hazard zone?

Birds can create a significant hazard to aircraft and aviation safety. The current AZR includes a bird hazard zone across the outer surface, which is about 4 kilometres around the airport. This ensures that land uses close to the airport do not attract birds. The area of the proposed bird hazard zone will also remain within the outer surface in the new AZR.

What is the process to update the AZRs?
Transport Canada (TC) dictates the process to update AZRs. Below is a summary of the process and current status:
  • Region notifies TC of intent to update AZRs – Complete;
  • Region submits proposed AZR plan to TC – In progress;
  • TC reviews and provides preliminary feedback on the proposed AZRs;
  • Public consultation to inform public about proposed AZR plan;
  • Region reviews and compiles feedback from public consultation; and,
  • Revised AZR submitted to TC, incorporating public feedback.
  • Deposit of AZR in local Land Title office.

The Region plans to complete the AZR process by early 2020. It may take up to three years before the proposed AZR are enacted. This includes drafting the regulation, translations, consultations, legal drafting and other internal processes.