Toronto City Council will be considering a stormwater charge in the spring of 2017. If approved by Toronto City Council, the stormwater charge would come into effect in 2019.
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rain and melted snow.
Why is stormwater an issue?
When not absorbed into the ground, it runs off properties onto streets, down storm drains and through a complex network of pipes that carry it into local waterways or, in some cases, wastewater treatment facilities. Generally, the more hard surfaces a property has the more stormwater it adds to the stormwater system.
What is the challenge?
An increase in extreme storms, combined with more hard surfaces in the city is resulting in more water making its way into the stormwater system. Too much water can overwhelm the system leading to flooded basements and poor water quality in local waterways, including Lake Ontario.
What is a stormwater charge?
It is a charge:
- based on impact to the stormwater system
- dedicated to paying for stormwater management
The proposed model for the charge divides properties into four categories:
- 1. Residential
- 2. Apartment & Condo Buildings
- 3. Industrial, Commercial & Institutional
- 4. Large Properties
- Has various tiers, based on property size, within each category (Exception: Large Properties will be examined individually)
- Calculates the average amount of hard surface for each tier
How will a stormwater charge affect water bills?
Currently stormwater management is being paid for from the water rate, which means the amount homeowners pay for stormwater management is based on how much water they use.
The proposal is to remove the portion homeowners currently pay for stormwater management (currently embedded in the water rate), and show it as a separate charge on the water bill. The water rate would decrease by approximately 20% and the stormwater charge would be added. The amount paid for stormwater would be based on property size and the average amount of hard space on properties of a similar size. Some bills would go up and some bills would go down.
Toronto’s water rate is already one of the lower rates in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
For more information please visit the City’s website here.