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New stormwater management fees to protect Lake Simcoe, address climate change and be fair
Three years ago on November 25, council asked the city staff to start looking at creation of a Stormwater Climate Action Fund. It was to replace the existing stormwater management fee structure based on the property tax model. Under the current model, residential units pay 75 per cent of the fees while occupying only 54 per cent impervious area, which does not let water soak in the ground.
Stormwater management in Barrie is very essential given the proximity to Lake Simcoe. Stormwater is mostly rainwater or melted snow that does not get soaked into the ground mainly due to hard surfaces such as parking lots, roads or driveways. If not managed property, the stormwater can carry pollutants to the lake, cause flooding or impact waterways that need stormwater.
Barrie has a billion dollar stormwater infrastructure which is aging and needs an upgrade. The new stormwater management fees will also help the city identify non-residential units responsible for the problem and offer help to establish on-location stormwater management solutions.
Currently 16 municipalities in Ontario have a stormwater user fee in some form. London, Ontario has the highest monthly residential fees for a single-family home of $17.13 per month. While Orilla changes only $3 per month. Barrie residents will pay $10.75 per month. The new model will result in lower fees for types of businesses except vehicle leadership and parking lots.
The city is also launching a new credit program that will allow non-residential properties to reduce the fees by up to 50 percent by having on-site stormwater management measures.
The city will start mailing out stormwater brochures to all property owners by the end of the year. Early next year, the council is scheduled to approve the rates for the next budget before the billing begins in April.
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