Your input on stormwater funding models can ensure any funding changes meet the needs of the community today and into the future. Thank you to everyone who got involved. This round of engagement is now closed.

Right now, people and businesses pay for stormwater services through property taxes. This initiative will not result in a new tax, just a change in how it's paid. Instead of using property value, the changes would consider how much impervious surface might generate stormwater runoff.

Why is stormwater management important?

Stormwater and stormwater management affects everyone in Kelowna. Stormwater is the water from rain, melting snow and ice that washes off driveways, parking lots, roads, yards, rooftops and other hard surfaces. The stormwater system discharges into nearby creeks, wetlands, or directly into Okanagan Lake without going through a treatment plant. If not managed properly, stormwater can cause water quality issues that impact our drinking water, ponding, flooding and erosion. This can lead to damaging property, roads, sidewalks, and the environment (including fish habitat). Our City’s unique weather patterns mean we can experience both floods and droughts in a short time frame, adding another layer of complexity to stormwater management.

what is stormwater

Why is stormwater management funded?

The City of Kelowna’s stormwater management system needs a funding source so it can be maintained, renewed (when it deteriorates) and upgraded (to address climate change).

The City has over $350 million of engineered stormwater assets including vacuum trucks for cleaning and flushing, underground pipes that carry stormwater to surface waterbodies, catch basins, stormwater ponds, and more. To ensure these systems operate as intended the City relies on staff and contractors to clean, inspect, repair, and operate these systems. These systems require a stable funding source.

stormwater infrastructure

Why are we taking a new approach to stormwater funding?

Property owners currently contribute to stormwater funding based on the assessed value of their property but there is room for improvement to create a more fair and equitable funding model.

This means properties that don’t contribute a lot to stormwater issues have sometimes paid the same (or in some cases, more) than properties who contribute significantly to stormwater issues. We believe we can do better.

The goals of the new funding strategy are to:

Goals of the new funding strategy

How will the new rate be determined?

Property owners would be charged based on the amount of hard (or impervious) surface on their property. Impervious surfaces cause rain and melted snow to runoff quickly into the City’s natural and engineered stormwater system, carrying pollutants with it. Commercial and larger residential properties like strata complexes tend to result in larger areas of imperviousness and contribute more to stormwater entering the water supply.

examples of impervious surfaces

What are impervious surfaces and how are they measured?

These surfaces can be easily measured using aerial photography and typically include roofs, driveways, walkways, parking areas and more. See the highlighted areas in the graphic above.

What happens if this new model is approved?

This would be a shift from using general tax revenue to fund stormwater management services to a separate stormwater user fee based on impervious area. The amount you pay will no longer be dependent on your property’s assessed value but will better reflect your property’s impact on the City’s stormwater system.

What are the new funding models under consideration?

People and businesses currently pay for stormwater services through property taxes. This initiative will not result in a new tax, just a change in how it's paid. Instead of using property value, the changes would consider how much impervious surface might generate stormwater runoff.

Two scenarios are under consideration, with the biggest difference being how user rates for lower density residential properties (six units or less) are determined. The two scenarios are:

  • A. EQUIVALENT - All residential properties with six units or less will pay the same rate per dwelling unit, regardless of the unit type. This means that a single-family home would be considered in the same way as a townhome.

  • B. PROPORTIONAL - Residential properties with six or less units would be separated into two groups: single family OR 2-6 units. This means residential types with more units (e.g., townhome) would be considered differently than single-family homes.
In both models, higher-density residential (>6 units), industrial, commercial, institutional lots are evaluated based on actual imperviousness.

While property owners have always contributed to funding our stormwater management system, this proposed change to a fairer and more equitable fee may mean how much you contribute could also change. Details for the proposed fee are still under consideration by Council. If approved, the amount residential and non-residential properties would pay will vary by property type and the area of hard surface.

How to get involved

A variety of ways you can have your say in the future of stormwater funding included attending an in-person or virtual Open House to meet with the Stormwater project team, and completing a survey.

Have a question about the project in the meantime? Leave it below for staff under the "Ask" tab.





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