Victoria city hall, with J.A. MacDonald, three winds to the sheet.
“The information that came back from the consultation — from residents and staff taking a look at it — was don’t rush into this. Give us an opportunity to change; give us an opportunity so we can get it right,” said Mayor Dean Fortin. “So it’s about taking a year before we roll it out. And you know what, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.”
The city had hoped to have the first stormwater utility bills in the mail this September, but after extensive consultation, city staff don’t believe there is enough time for property owners to make the investments they need to take advantage of rainwater credits, says a report going to council this week.
Currently, the cost of the stormwater system is funded through property taxes. With the proposed utility model, Victoria would transfer those costs to a new utility and offer credits off the annual bill to property owners who manage rainwater on their property.
Essentially, the more homeowners can do to slow the rate of runoff from their property into city storm drains — through the use of features such as rain gardens, cisterns, infiltration chambers, permeable paving and green roofs — the better for the storm system and for their wallet.
Staff say they also need time to review and integrate stakeholder feedback into the program.
The city engaged in an extensive consultation program between Nov. 5 and Jan 10 that included use of social media, media events, mail outs, paid advertising, three open houses and 10 stakeholder meetings.
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