Stormwater Utility FAQ

Why did we move to the Stormwater Utility?

  • The stormwater utility is a more transparent, fair and equitable way to fund the stormwater system, as the fee relates to the impact a property has on the system.
  • This system allows us to offer incentives to encourage and reward properties that manage rainwater more sustainably.
  • Property owners can influence how much they pay by
    • reducing impervious area in new builds/major renovations
    • and/or managing stormwater on site
    • All properties that use stormwater services are now contributing, the same as the water and sewer utilities.
    • Under the old system only those paying property tax contributed, while some large properties with large impact on the system did not
    • Stormwater Utilities are:
      • Identified as a best practice by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities,
      • Commonly used for many years in US cities, and
      • Increasingly adopted across Canada over the past several years.

When is the fee billed?                  

The stormwater bill is a separate utility bill that is sent annually in the fall.

How did you assess my property? Can you double-check my characteristics?

The fee is based on the following property characteristics:

  • Hard/Impervious Surfaces: Your roof area has the largest impact on what you pay. Building plans, aerial photography and GIS technology helped determine this area. This also includes driveways and other hard surfaces. (Please note, properties that are not connected to the stormwater system do not pay the Impervious Surfaces portion of the fee)
  • Street Cleaning:  Keeping our streets clean goes a long way to keeping our stormwater clean. The length of street frontage on your property has been calculated using a Geographic Information System, and a rate per metre applied based on the level of service provided by street classification. Street classifications include local, collector, arterial and downtown.
  •  Property Type:  Your property type has been identified as:
    •  low density residential (1-4 units),
    • multi-family residential (5 or more units),
    • civic/institutional, or
    • commercial/industrial .
  •  Codes of Practice Program:   If your property is regulated under the Stormwater Codes of Practice you will be charged a fee for this program that works to keep pollutants out of our stormwater system. If more than one Code applies, the fee will be charged only once. Characteristics that trigger the Codes of Practice Program:
    • 10 or more parking spaces
    • automotive business
    • construction or development
    • recycling operation
    • storage yard
    • recreation facility

     

Why was a separate bill sent instead of being included with property tax or other utility bills?

Stormwater utility bills are only sent to those in control of a property – the owner, or strata representative. Other utility bills are sent to the resident of a property whether or not they are owners.

How has the City consulted with property owners?

  • During development of the utility, the City has engaged with property owners in multiple ways, including two focus groups, 10 stakeholder meetings, three open houses and an online survey. 
  • A “stormwater utility assessment notice” was sent to property owners and strata boards in 2015, outlining the approximate 2016 stormwater fee for budgeting purposes. 
  • All feedback received between 2013 - fall 2015 was reviewed and taken into account during development of the utility, and continues to be collected for potential future improvements. 

Details on how the City has responded to the feedback can be found on our website: www.victoria.ca/stormwater under Stormwater Engagement.