City of Victoria Proceeds with Stormwater Utility
In order to provide the dedicated, sustainable funding that is required for the stormwater system, the City is looking at implementing a new stormwater utility. For property owners, this will mean that starting in 2014, stormwater costs will be taken off of their property taxes in the spring and will appear on a new Stormwater Utility bill in the fall.
The Stormwater Utility will follow a user-pay model, so properties that send more water to the stormwater system will pay more and properties with more permeable areas, that send less water to the system, will pay less. Stormwater Utility charges will be calculated based on the amount of hard or “non- permeable” surface area, such as roofs, driveways, parking lots and other paved surfaces, that water can’t flow through.
“The 20th-century response to rainwater was to put pipes underground. The 21st-century response is to put gardens [to absorb the water] above ground. So I welcome the 21st century,” said City of Victoria Councillor Lisa Helps in a recent newspaper interview. In 2014, Lisa Helps was elected Mayor.
Rainwater Management – A Primer
“A few weeks ago, City staff updated Council on the roll out of the proposed Stormwater Utility,” wrote Lisa Helps in a recent blog post. “This powerpoint presentation contains a great deal of detail, including a list of solutions that property owners can implement to get a rebate on their bill.”
“…the Stormwater Utility is something that makes the City of Victoria a leader in Canada. It’s innovative because it encourages people, at the level of their own properties, to take responsibility and leadership for creating solutions….that are good for the planet and good for the City’s stormwater system.”
“In the twentieth century we put lots of pipes in the ground to deal with the City’s stormwater runoff. In the 21st century we are implementing smaller-scale solutions. In the long-term, this will produce a savings for the City and taxpayers.”
“If property owners, from single-family dwellers to large developers embrace the rainwater management techniques outlined in this powerpoint presentation, in the long-run we will have more above-ground infrastructure which is less expensive to build and maintain, mimics what the earth already does, and can also be really beautiful,” concluded Lisa Helps.
To Learn More:
To read the complete post by Councillor Lisa Helps, click on City of Victoria Stormwater Utility – A Primer