Toronto wants to manage storms and floods with a rainfall tax

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This story is basically Appeared on Canada's National Observer and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Toronto's plan to charge homeowners and businesses for paved surfaces on their properties is generating public backlash, negative international media attention, and even derisive comments. donald trump jr,

The outrage reached such heights last week that the city canceled a public hearing on the tax, which is intended to help recoup the millions of dollars spent managing stormwater and basement flooding.

It was dubbed a “rain tax” by critics, including the son of a former US president. on xA SkyNews host also condemned the plan and discouraged people from visiting Canada's largest city, saying: “You thought it couldn't get any worse… Don't go to Toronto because they'll blow you away if it rains.” But will impose tax.

The amount of hard surface area will determine the controversial stormwater fee on property that does not absorb water, such as roofs, driveways, parking lots, or concrete landscaping.

“When we have big rains, basements flood, streets flood, sewage overflows and spill into lakes or our rivers,” Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said in a statement. ” post online video on x, ‚ÄúStorm water slides off paved surfaces instead of soaking into the ground. It affects our water infrastructure, harms your home and the environment.

The new fee will adjust water bills to reduce water consumption rates and add a stormwater fee based on property size and hard surface area.

Online Public meetings were to be held after public consultations. However, less than a week later, online consultations were halted and public meetings cancelled. The city claims the delay is needed so staff can find a way to connect the new fee with the city's broader climate-resilience strategy.

Chow said she would prefer that the city give residents financial incentives to plant gardens in their backyards or install permeable pavement to help with rain drainage.

Chow said, “I don't think it's appropriate to have a stormwater policy that asks homeowners to pay to drain businesses with large parking lots.” Many businesses with large paved areas, such as parking lots, do not pay water bills and therefore do not contribute to stormwater management.

“That's why I'm asking Toronto Water to come back to city council with a plan that supports more green infrastructure, prevents flooding and keeps your water bill low,” Chow said.

In last year's city budget, $4.3 billion was allocated for stormwater management in a 10-year plan (2023 to 2032), including a $2.11 billion basement flood protection program. Last year alone, the city invested $225.3 million in the basement program.

Other nearby cities, such as Mississauga, Vaughan and Markham, have long faced stormwater fees.

In an email response, the city of Vaughan said its stormwater charge supports a number of programs and initiatives across the city to help protect the environment, property and water quality. Vaughan's 2024 stormwater rate is $64.20 annually for a detached single residential unit, up from last year's rate of $58.63, the city said.