Stormwater Charge Frequently Asked Questions
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the rain and melted snow that flows from your property, onto the streets and into the storm drains. Along the way, the stormwater picks up debris, chemicals and other pollutants from rooftops and paved surfaces that enter the storm drains and watercourses.
What is the Stormwater Charge?
The stormwater charge is a user fee that will be used to help fund Newmarket's Stormwater Management program. The stormwater charge came into effect in 2017. Prior to 2017, stormwater management was funded through property taxes and the water bill. In December 2020, the stormwater charge will be billed in four instalments as a line item on your Newmarket Hydro Bill.
What is Stormwater Management?
The Town provides stormwater management services to protect the community and environment from stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is water that flows off properties mostly due to rain and snow events. Hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, and parking lots increase the amount of runoff from each property. Stormwater management controls water flow quantity in order to help prevent flooding and water flow quality in order to protect the environment.
Why did the Town introduce a Stormwater Charge?
Newmarket is a growing community and there is more stormwater than ever before due to climate change. A stormwater charge will help fund Newmarket's stormwater management services and help address our three major challenges:
- Severe weather events that used to happen every forty years now happens every six. As a consequence, damage from storm events has recently become the biggest cause for insurance claims in Canada. This rate will help us adapt and protect homes and businesses in Newmarket from severe weather events.
- As water runs off properties, it can carry contaminants with it. Runoff from urban and rural areas have upset Lake Simcoe's ecosystem. The Town is developing a comprehensive stormwater management master plan, as per the regulatory requirements outlined in the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, to restore waterways and breeding grounds.
- The Town has 53 ponds, 55 kilometres of waterways and 225 kilometres of sewers that are maintained and replaced as they age. This user rate will provide a funding source that is reliable, predictable, and fair to ensure the service can continue to be effectively run in the future.
Where does the stormwater currently go?
Stormwater from rain and snow melt naturally soaks into the ground in a process called infiltration. With Newmarket being an urbanized community with houses, roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces, these factors prevent water from infiltrating into the ground. The disruption to the water cycle means that stormwater runs off to other areas, such as ponds and watercourses, which can lead to flooding, and other environmentally damaging effects.
What is the difference between the stormwater charge and the water and wastewater charge?
The stormwater charge is a new user fee that will be used to fund Newmarket's Stormwater Management program. The water and wastewater charge is part of the Newmarket portion of your hydro bill. The water and wastewater charge is used to fund the maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure and separate from the storm drain infrastructure. Learn more about water and wastewater in Newmarket.
Is there a credit program for residents?
There are currently no credits towards the stormwater charge for residential properties. However, the Town is offering a subsidized backyard tree-planting program for residents as a thank you for being environmentally conscious. To extend our appreciation, the Town is partnering with a community organization, (LEAF) Local Enhancement and Appreciation and the Regional Municipality of York to offer highly subsidized backyard tree plantings to Newmarket residents. Any Newmarket resident who would like a backyard tree can contact LEAF directly. The Town will cover an additional $100 towards the purchase prices of one tree per property through this already subsidized
Backyard Tree Planting Program.
Can I appeal my stormwater charge?
If you feel there are inaccuracies during the process of calculating your stormwater charge due to the property size noted by your property assessment, please call MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporate) at Toll Free 1-866-296-MPAC (6722) to have the property size recalculated. Otherwise, please note that only properties that are exempt from user fees under legislation are eligible to appeal their stormwater charge. For more information, call the Town of Newmarket at 905-895-5193.