(Barrie, ON) – Last night, City Council approved the Stormwater Climate Action Fund to help improve the City's resiliency against climate change impacts, mitigate flooding, protect Lake Simcoe and ground water sources. Starting in 2023, the costs of Barrie's stormwater program will shift from property taxes to a more equitable user fee.
The City owns stormwater infrastructure assets valued at over $1 billion dollars. This infrastructure includes manholes, catch basins, storm sewers, stormwater management ponds, creeks and more. When it rains or when snow melts from your roof or driveway, the water that does not soak into the ground makes its way through the City's stormwater management system. The infrastructure helps to reduce environmental damage, protect public safety and private property—and Barrie's stormwater system is expected to grow by 50% over the next 20-30 years.
Climate change will increase rainfall intensities that can lead to costly flooding, increased erosion and negative impacts on natural waterbodies. More water through our stormwater system means more maintenance and upgrades, which is why this new funding model is necessary.
Currently Barrie's stormwater program is funded through municipal taxes. 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). An impervious area is a hard surface such as concrete, asphalt or rooftops that do not absorb water.
The City launched a public consultation on the Stormwater Climate Action Fund in May 2021. To learn more, visit the Stormwater Climate Action Fund page on barrie.ca.
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