- The system does not meet current design standards, is aging and will not meet future needs due to climate change.
- The City of Greater Sudbury is fortunate to have many creeks and lakes, but these natural waterbodies can be negatively impacted by the volume and quality of stormwater runoff.
- Due to the area’s climate, significant amounts of sand must be applied in winter to keep roadways safe. This sand can have detrimental impacts on the natural waterbodies. The City must continue and increase its efforts to remove sand from the stormwater runoff before it reaches the natural environment.
- Greater Sudbury is spread out over a large area which requires an extensive infrastructure system funded by a relatively small population.
- Currently, the City’s stormwater management budget is $14.7 million; to achieve a fully funded stormwater management system, the City would need to reach a budget of about $20 million.
- The City is currently only investing enough money to replace its stormwater infrastructure on a 200-year renewal cycle but most stormwater assets only last 35-100 years.
What is stormwater?
Stormwater refers to rainwater, melted snow or water that runs off our roofs, driveways and roads rather than soaking into the ground. It either flows into creeks and lakes or is channeled into storm sewers.
Why do we manage stormwater?
If not managed properly stormwater can cause pooling, flooding and erosion, thereby damaging private property, important community assets like roads and sidewalks, and the natural environment.
As stormwater flows over surfaces like parking lots and roads, it picks up debris and pollutants – like oil, road sand and salt – and carries them directly to our lakes and creeks, impacting their water quality.
What are the stormwater issues facing Greater Sudbury?
How is the City currently funding the stormwater system? Who is paying for this?
The City funds the stormwater system through property taxes. Homeowners and landowners across Greater Sudbury are all contributing to stormwater based on their assessed value and not based on how much stormwater their property produces.
Why do we need to change our current method of funding the storm water system?
What is the Stormwater Funding Review Study and why is it important?
This study adheres to Ontario Regulation 588/17: Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure, which requires municipalities to have sustainable funding mechanisms for key assets in place by 2024.
What is the preferred funding option the City is currently investigating?
The current preferred funding option is a Stormwater Rate that is based on the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) concept. The ERU model is where all residential units pay the same rate (included on monthly utility bill) based on the average impervious area of all residential properties in Greater Sudbury. Non-residential properties pay based on their measured imperviousness.
What are the benefits of an ERU model?
A stormwater rate is a more fair, transparent and sustainable funding model than the current system (e.g., property taxes). An ERU based stormwater rate is relatively simple, thereby reducing the cost of implementation.
How would residential stormwater rates be determined when using the ERU model?
The City has determined the average amount of hard surfaces on residential properties in all of Greater Sudbury. This number would be used to calculate the monthly stormwater fee for each home or residential unit. This becomes the “base billing unit” or “equivalent residential unit”. Owners of multi-residential properties would be billed based on the number of units in the building.
How would industrial, commercial and institutional stormwater fees be determined when using the ERU model?
Industrial, commercial and institutional stormwater fees would be based on the size of the hard surfaces on their property and how it compares with the base billing unit. For instance, if a commercial property has twice the impervious area of an average single residential property, then its monthly fee would be twice the single residential fee.
What changes will I see if this model is implemented? How much will it cost me?
If this option is implemented stormwater funding will be removed from property taxes and placed on the utility bill. The cost will depend on the type of property. Most residential properties will see a reduction in what they contribute to stormwater funding.
Since the proposed new user fee is based on impervious area rather than assessed value, some non-residential property owners with large impervious areas will contribute more towards stormwater management under the new system.
Is Greater Sudbury the only municipality that has a stormwater charge?
Over ten Ontario municipalities have implemented a stormwater charge. Many other municipalities, such as the City of Barrie are actively considering the implementation of a stormwater charge.
Will there be a rebate and/or credit program available to residents or businesses to reduce stormwater management fees?
The City of Greater Sudbury will explore a program that offers rebates (i.e., one time funding to support the implementation of a measure) and/or credits (i.e., on-going reduction in a property’s stormwater charge) with input from residents and key stakeholders from within the City.
Some municipalities in Ontario have implemented credits available to businesses that take action to control, clean or reduce stormwater that is discharged from their property. Examples of a residential rebate program might include installing rain barrels or a rain garden.
I don’t live in the City, why should I pay for stormwater management when my property doesn’t drain into the City’s stormwater management system?
The ditches in rural areas of Greater Sudbury are also part of the stormwater management system and require periodic cleaning and maintenance to keep them working efficiently; the costs for this maintenance are part of the stormwater program.