Stormwater Fee Feasibility Study

A study to explore funding options for replacing and repairing aging stormwater infrastructure and making improvements to help adapt to the impacts of climate change.

About the study

The Town of Oakville is completing a Stormwater Fee Feasibility Study to explore options for a more fair, and equitable way to pay for our stormwater management system and services. This would ensure we have a sustainable funding source to support our infrastructure needs into the future. 

Share your thoughts by participating in upcoming public engagement opportunities.

Watch the video below to learn more about stormwater and the Stormwater Fee Feasibility Study.

We face some challenges

Stormwater management challenges the town is facing include:

  • Aging infrastructure that is nearing its end of life and is in need of replacement.
  • Pipes, shoreline, harbour walls, ponds, and other infrastructure requiring renewal. 
  • Impacts of climate change, including more extreme rainstorms and temperature changes. Extreme weather events will put a strain on the town’s stormwater system and increase the risk for flooding and property damage.  

The town’s Rainwater Management Plan estimates it will cost upwards of $640 million to care for and improve the town’s stormwater system over the next 30 years – averaging $21.3 million per year. The town currently collects an average of $8.9 million each year for stormwater management from property taxes. We need to plan now to ensure sufficient funds are in place to continue to invest in our stormwater infrastructure.

Exploring better funding options

Currently, property owners pay for the town’s stormwater management system and services through property taxes. The amount of money a property owner pays is based on the value of their property, not on how much stormwater their property creates and sends to the town’s stormwater system. This leaves some residents paying more than their fair share and some large property owners paying less than they should.

  • The town needs additional funding to support our stormwater management system and services into the future, and we need a fair and equitable way pay for it. 
  • We should reward property owners who take action to manage stormwater quantity and quality on-site.
  • Many municipalities across Canada are moving towards more equitable and sustainable funding models. 
  • A new funding method will ensure we adhere to Ontario Regulation 588/17: Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure

The study is reviewing the current tax system and different options for a separate, dedicated stormwater fee.

  • Keeping the current tax system: All fees related to stormwater management will be included in property taxes with no consideration for a property’s impact on the town’s stormwater system. 
  • A stormwater fee: Property owners are charged based on how much stormwater runoff their property creates. Properties that create more runoff and have a bigger impact on the stormwater system, are charged more. A stormwater fee can take different forms. 

Funding options will be evaluated according to the study’s guiding principles, prioritizing fairness, climate resiliency, and financial sustainability. The guiding principles also emphasize that the method should be easily justifiable and simple to understand and administer. 

Public feedback will help the town weigh the various factors and select the recommended funding option.

Like other municipalities that have implemented stormwater fees, an incentive program will be considered. A stormwater incentive program could include credits to help lower a stormwater fee for property owners who implement on-site measures. Stormwater management measures, such as rain gardens or cisterns, reduce the amount and/or improve the quality of stormwater runoff from their property. 

An incentive program would help property owners reduce stormwater fees. It would also encourage on-site stormwater management that better supports the natural water balance and protects the natural environment.

Public engagement opportunities

We value your input! Participate in the public engagement opportunities and have your voice heard throughout the study.

Public engagement for the Stormwater Fee Feasibility Study will launch in the fall of 2024, with a final recommendation expected to go to Council in the spring of 2025.

Timeline

Establishing the need for the study
  • Council workshop was held on June 11, 2024.
  • The education campaign to share the rationale for the Stormwater Fee Feasibility Study begins in summer 2024.
Funding options and analysis
  • Council workshop to discuss funding options.
  • Town-wide public engagement, including a public meeting, stakeholder meetings and online survey to gather input and feedback on the different funding options and impacts, and incentive program options. 
Preferred funding option and implementation plan
  • Council meeting in December to present the preferred funding option based on the analysis and public feedback. 
  • Public engagement opportunity to present the preferred funding option and gather input and feedback on the draft implementation plan. 
Final recommendations
  • Council meeting to present and seek approval on the final recommendations including the funding method and implementation plan.