Stormwater Climate Action Fund

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On Thursday, October 14, the City of Barrie held the second public information meeting to discuss the potential development of a stormwater climate action fund. Watch the recording of the meeting, download the presentation.

Climate change will increase rainfall intensities that can lead to costly flooding, increased erosion and negative impacts on natural waterbodies. The City is building community resilience to the risks of climate change and the Stormwater Climate Action Fund is part of those efforts.

Ontario Regulation 588/17: Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure requires Asset Management Plans that include information about:

  • the levels of service that municipalities propose to provide
  • the activities required to meet those levels of service
  • a strategy to fund activities

The Stormwater Climate Action Fund would serve as a dedicated fund for stormwater assets and associated stormwater management within Barrie.

Stormwater Management & Assets

Stormwater management involves controlling the quantity and quality of runoff that results from rainfall or melted snow that runs off our roofs, driveways and roads rather than soaking into the ground. The City's stormwater management system includes manholes, catch basins, storm sewers, stormwater management ponds, creeks and more—all requiring a funding source to maintain and upgrade (as required).

The City's Stormwater Asset Management Plan outlines measures to support a fully functioning storm sewer system to protect private property, public safety, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Funding Required to Bridge the Gap

Historically, the City has been underspending on stormwater and, even with projected increases, the City is not keeping up with identified needs. The Stormwater Climate Action Fund aims to bridge the gap.

Recommended Funding Model

A Stormwater Funding Study was completed in 2019. The study estimated funding needs, recommended a funding model, and proposed an implementation strategy. A stormwater rate based on impervious area was recommended.

An impervious area is a hard surface such as concrete, asphalt or rooftops that do not absorb water. Water runs off the impervious surface, collects pollutants, and flows into our local creeks and Lake Simcoe. In undeveloped areas, stormwater soaks into the ground and slowly flows into aquifers and waterways. In developed areas, impervious surfaces prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground.

Currently Barrie’s stormwater program is funded through municipal taxes. The current proposal is to move stormwater funding from the taxes to a new funding model—which is something many municipalities have done. This new model will be based on average impervious area for a given residential property type (i.e. detached homes vs. condominiums) and measured impervious areas for non-residential properties (e.g. commercial, institutional and industrial).

Seeking Feedback

Between 2021 and 2023 the City will be seeking feedback by:

  • Actively soliciting feedback from staff, Council and the community on the recommended funding option;
  • Confirming the desired stormwater funding model details; and
  • Supporting the implementation of a new desired funding model (if approved).

Get Involved!

  • Questions, comments or concerns about this study? Please share them with the Project Team in the form below or in the Q&A section.

  • Virtual Public Information Meetings were held on June 3, 2021 and on October 14, 2021. Watch the recordings in the Videos section on the right hand side of this page.

  • Stormwater Fund Advisory Group meetings will be held as part of this project, during which the Project Team and key stakeholders will discuss opportunities, concerns, needs, issues and risks related to the project. Key stakeholders have been identified and contacted directly in order to participate.

On Thursday, October 14, the City of Barrie held the second public information meeting to discuss the potential development of a stormwater climate action fund. Watch the recording of the meeting, download the presentation.

Climate change will increase rainfall intensities that can lead to costly flooding, increased erosion and negative impacts on natural waterbodies. The City is building community resilience to the risks of climate change and the Stormwater Climate Action Fund is part of those efforts.

Ontario Regulation 588/17: Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure requires Asset Management Plans that include information about:

  • the levels of service that municipalities propose to provide
  • the activities required to meet those levels of service
  • a strategy to fund activities

The Stormwater Climate Action Fund would serve as a dedicated fund for stormwater assets and associated stormwater management within Barrie.

Stormwater Management & Assets

Stormwater management involves controlling the quantity and quality of runoff that results from rainfall or melted snow that runs off our roofs, driveways and roads rather than soaking into the ground. The City's stormwater management system includes manholes, catch basins, storm sewers, stormwater management ponds, creeks and more—all requiring a funding source to maintain and upgrade (as required).

The City's Stormwater Asset Management Plan outlines measures to support a fully functioning storm sewer system to protect private property, public safety, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Funding Required to Bridge the Gap

Historically, the City has been underspending on stormwater and, even with projected increases, the City is not keeping up with identified needs. The Stormwater Climate Action Fund aims to bridge the gap.

Recommended Funding Model

A Stormwater Funding Study was completed in 2019. The study estimated funding needs, recommended a funding model, and proposed an implementation strategy. A stormwater rate based on impervious area was recommended.

An impervious area is a hard surface such as concrete, asphalt or rooftops that do not absorb water. Water runs off the impervious surface, collects pollutants, and flows into our local creeks and Lake Simcoe. In undeveloped areas, stormwater soaks into the ground and slowly flows into aquifers and waterways. In developed areas, impervious surfaces prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground.

Currently Barrie’s stormwater program is funded through municipal taxes. The current proposal is to move stormwater funding from the taxes to a new funding model—which is something many municipalities have done. This new model will be based on average impervious area for a given residential property type (i.e. detached homes vs. condominiums) and measured impervious areas for non-residential properties (e.g. commercial, institutional and industrial).

Seeking Feedback

Between 2021 and 2023 the City will be seeking feedback by:

  • Actively soliciting feedback from staff, Council and the community on the recommended funding option;
  • Confirming the desired stormwater funding model details; and
  • Supporting the implementation of a new desired funding model (if approved).

Get Involved!

  • Questions, comments or concerns about this study? Please share them with the Project Team in the form below or in the Q&A section.

  • Virtual Public Information Meetings were held on June 3, 2021 and on October 14, 2021. Watch the recordings in the Videos section on the right hand side of this page.

  • Stormwater Fund Advisory Group meetings will be held as part of this project, during which the Project Team and key stakeholders will discuss opportunities, concerns, needs, issues and risks related to the project. Key stakeholders have been identified and contacted directly in order to participate.

Questions or comments about this study?

Your input is an important part of this process. Staff will be bringing the results of this study forward to Council in early 2022. Please take a few minutes to leave your questions and comments and a member of the Stormwater Climate Action Fund will respond within 2-3 business days (Monday to Friday).

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    I agree with the proposed plan and the idea for a credit or rebate. This will hopefully engage the residents and property owners within the City of Barrie to their part to reduce their affect on the stormwater systems as well as their affects on climate change and start reduce their GHG emissions (transportation, home services, etc.) Keep up the good work Barrie staff!

    scottkfoster86 asked 2 months ago

    Thank you! We appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback.

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    Why are condos not going to be assessed on their actual permeability? Our property (Yonge Station) would be as big as many commercial or industrial properties. Also, we have a large green area, including a lot of trees. Simply applying a residential rate to 196 condos does not appear reasonable to me.

    Al Casey asked 5 months ago

    All land uses (residential and nonresidential) within the City of Barrie are assessed on their impervious area. Residential land uses are sampled and compared to the impervious area average of the Detached Residential Unit (formally single family home). Non-residential land uses are actual measurements of impervious area compared to the Detached Residential Unit (236.0 sq meters). Here are some details about the measurements:

    • 17 residential condo sites throughout the City were sampled for impervious area

    • Total impervious area sampled was 90,301.1 sq. meters.

    • Total dwelling units sampled was 756 dwelling units.

    • Average impervious area per dwelling unit was 119.4 sq. meters.

    • Compared to the average value of Detached Residential Unit the result was a billing unit value of .5 Detached Residential Unit per dwelling unit

    Each of the 196 dwelling units within Yonge Station would be assigned .5 billing units.

    All residential condos within the City would be assigned .5 billing units per dwelling unit.

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    I see plans to tax homeowners based on a simple formula of lot size and hard surface. Laidlaw street has 2 out of 3 homes with increased parking spaces, some for 3 cars and many have cut the curbs to do so. Any taxation based on original paving allowance will be extreemly unfair to those who have maintained the original hard surface. Taxation has to be based on what currently exists and any code violations have to be enforced. Take a drive to see what I mean. Thanks.

    scaledesign asked 3 months ago

    This will not be a tax, it will be a user fee.  A statistically relevant number of properties for each residential class have been individually measured based on aerial photography.  The results from this exercise were used to develop average impervious areas for each residential class that will be used to develop the fee for each.   

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    Why is there not more emphasis on reducing water runoff rather than funding. Personally I find the tax level in Barrie high and will not support any more increases.

    asked 6 months ago

    For more information regarding the City’s recommendations for residents and programs for Water Conservation, please see our webpage here: https://www.barrie.ca/Living/Environment/Conservation/Pages/WaterConservation.aspx

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    I noted in 2008 Barrie had the highest rainfall in the past 22 years at 1146mm. In has been dropping with 441mm in 2020 and 367 mm in 2019. With climate change you should be seeing more arid regions as you go north and the ground warms producing greater evaporation. What makes you think just shoring up our present infrastructure would not suffice. You are looking at a 300% increase and the info I reading from weather service Canada doesn't appear to support the need. Regards.

    Bob asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback.  

    The City does have staff that follow the latest trends and science and use that information to make recommendations about how to adapt to climate change. More information about climate change and the impacts to the City are available here: Climate Change Adaptation (barrie.ca) 

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    I object to this. Basically you want to charge me for the rain that falls from the sky??? I have 4 rain barrels, and my downspouts connect to them, and the overflow runs into my yard and gardens. If I remove my asphalt driveway and go back to gravel that saves me $$ ? Nuts to this! Will my taxes go down? Not bloody likely, and the truly exorbitant fees we in Barrie pay for water and sewage will go up again? I'm going to dig a well...

    Mark Z. asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. As part of this study we are considering a stormwater credit and rebate program that provide rebates or reduced annual stormwater fees for measures such as rain barrels or rain gardens.

    Currently people pay for stormwater infrastructure through taxes which are calculated based on the assessed value of the property, not on the amount of stormwater runoff from the property. This study is proposing to change the way stormwater is paid for by charging properties based on the amount of impervious (paved area) they have, which is inherently more equitable. This change would actually result in some properties paying less for stormwater than they do today.

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    Is this to say that homeowners will be charged for impermeable surfaces of their property, such as roofs and paved driveways? Leslie Millson Taylor

    Bell.net asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. 

    Currently people pay for stormwater infrastructure through taxes which are calculated based on the assessed value of the property, not on the amount of stormwater runoff from the property. This study is proposing to change the way stormwater is paid for by charging properties based on the amount of impervious (paved area) they have, which is inherently more equitable. This change would actually result in some properties paying less for stormwater than they do today. 

    It would be too time consuming to measure the impervious area of every residential property in Barrie.   Therefore we have measured a statistically significant sample of various residential property types (single residential units (small, medium and large), townhouses, apartments etc.)  and will use the average impervious areas of each of these to derive the corresponding fee.  One thing we are asking for feedback on is how many residential types we should include; for example condos and apartments may be lumped together).   More groupings is more equitable, however would cost more to administer.  Some municipalities have chosen to have 3 tiers of residential properties while others have chosen a flat fee for all residential properties.   

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    Since 10 years, most house property value increased at least 300 000$ (if not more), on top of that, we were served important rate increment. I would be happy to know where this money went since the city seems to only REDUCE services. If the city of Barrie introduce a new tax, they should start to fulfill their duties with the property taxes and MOW THE LAWN is parks and stop reducing services to population.

    jp_dastous asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. Currently people pay for stormwater infrastructure through taxes which are calculated based on the assessed value of the property, not on the amount of stormwater runoff from the property. This study is proposing to change the way stormwater is paid for by charging properties based on the amount of impervious (paved area) they have, which is inherently more equitable. This change would actually result in some properties paying less for stormwater than they do today. 


    We hope you will join us at the upcoming Public Information Meeting on June 3rd from 7 to 9pm. You can register here. 

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    This is more of feedback vs a question but i think more Barrie citizens would appreciate how stormwater management prevents floods and reduce polluting our lakes and rivers. Perhaps a multipart series in partnership with Barrie Advance or other local publications. Needs to be written in lay terms that makes the content easy to understand. Thanks and looking forward to the meeting on June 3.

    Susanna asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback. We will try to do a better job of highlighting how this proposal will help incentivize better stormwater management practices which in turn will be beneficial for the natural environment i.e. our stormwater outlets.

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    Are our stormponds filled with sediment at a rate faster than municipalities that salt their roads vs Barrie who is using more sand? I like that Barrie uses sand in their winter road clearance but wondering if this is contributing to excessive and or premature acceleration of sediment in our stormponds.

    Susanna asked 6 months ago

    Yes, using sand does result in higher sedimentation rates, however as you are aware it is a better option for the environment than using just salt.

Page last updated: 03 November 2021, 16:19