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​Stormwater Climate Action Fund

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. 

New funding model will address infrastructure renewal and protect Lake Simcoe

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 launched a public consultation​ on the Stormwater Climate Action Fund in May 2021.​ There were two public information meetings​​​​, two public surveys and ​​an advisory group. ​​​​

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 will serve as a dedicated fund for stormwater assets and associated stormwater management within Barrie.

Stormwater Management & Assets

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. ​

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 will bridge the gap.

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.

Residential properties will be charged based on average impervious area for a given property type (i.e. detached homes vs. condominiums) and charge non-residential properties (e.g. commercial, institutional and industrial) based on actual imperviousness measured from aerial photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is stormwater important?

Managing stormwater allows us to control flooding and reduce pollution. In undeveloped areas, rainfall and melted snow soak into the ground and into natural creeks. In developed areas, rainfall and melted snow travel more quickly over roof tops, driveways and roads while collecting pollutants like dirt, oil, fertilizer, grass-clippings, pet waste, litter etc., and carrying them to our local creeks and Lake Simcoe.

Learn more about stormwater and its importance

What stormwater issues are there in Barrie?

There are many different pressures on the City’s stormwater system including development (increased imperviousness), deteriorating and insufficient infrastructure and climate change.

The City has already experienced incidences of flooding resulting in damage to private and municipal property and erosion along creeks which threaten private and municipal properties.

Without proper financing for preventative maintenance and asset renewal, there is potential for an increase in disruptive failures and costly repairs.

How is the City currently financing stormwater and how much funding is needed?

The City’s stormwater program is currently supported by the general tax levy (property tax). Recent studies have shown a stormwater funding gap of $11.7 million per year. Addressing this funding gap through the City’s current stormwater funding model would put an additional strain on property taxes.

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