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Stormwater Management Plan

Stormwater Management Financing Plan Logo

What is the purpose of this study?

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship and community sustainability, the City of Thunder Bay has developed a Stormwater Management Plan, which will guide the City’s stormwater management actions for the next 20-years.

One of the goals highlighted in the plan is to identify alternative ways to provide a dedicated, consistent, and fair funding system for the current and future needs of the stormwater management system. This Study will help achieve the goals of the Stormwater Management Plan.

Public Information Centre took place on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the Italian Cultural Centre and gave residents an opportunity to learn about the study and funding options under consideration and give their feedback.

Stormwater Financing Study Public Information Centre Poster  Adobe PDF, 1 page, 2.9 MB

Couldn't attend the Public Information Session? You still have a chance to learn more about the study and have your say:

Pippy Warburton, P. Eng.

Aaron Ward, P.Eng., Project Manager
City of Thunder Bay

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is surface water that comes from rain and melted snow that flows over land and into storm drains or streams, rivers and lakes.

Nature continuously recycles the water supply through the hydrologic cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, groundwater recharge and runoff.

In natural landscapes, stormwater is soaked up like a sponge, which then nourishes plants and slowly replenishes streams, lakes, wetlands, and aquifers.

In more urban areas, impervious, or hard, surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and rooftops, prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs quickly into storm drains and sewer systems, and then to our lakes and rivers.

These hard surface areas create more stormwater runoff, which carries more pollutants, such as oil, grit, and garbage into our lakes and rivers.

What financing options is the City currently exploring?

The City of Thunder Bay is investigating several options to provide funding for its stormwater management program. These options may include:

  • Status quo
  • Increased property tax rates
  • Modifications to the current Sewage & Drainage property tax levy
  • A new Stormwater Management property tax levy
  • Modifications to the current Development Charges program (partial program funding for new development and infill/re-development only)
  • A new Development Impact Fee program (partial program funding for new development and infill/redevelopment only)
  • A new Stormwater Management User Fee program

One option the City is exploring that is becoming more common in Ontario, and throughout North America, is financing stormwater management through a user fee. A stormwater user fee, also referred to as a utility, would charge homeowners and landowners based on the amount of stormwater their property contributes.

How can I stay involved?

The City of Thunder Bay will allow residents to have their say and provide feedback. The City understands that good planning involves the community, and that better decisions are made when many perspectives are considered. The City will encourage residents to help shape the plans for stormwater management financing which will help meet the needs of the community and current and future stormwater demand. 

Who is AECOM?

AECOM is built to deliver a better world. As a fully integrated firm, we connect knowledge and experience across our global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. AECOM is the premier, fully integrated professional and technical services firm positioned to plan, design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world for public- and private-sector clients.


Stormwater Management Plan logo

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship and community sustainability, the City of Thunder Bay has created a Stormwater Management Plan. This 20-year action plan has been developed with the help of the multidisciplinary consulting team at Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR), and will protect water quality and the health of the water resources that shape and define Thunder Bay. The City has sought input from community groups, stakeholders and residents throughout the study.

For additional information or questions, contact:

Aaron Ward, P. Eng.
Project Engineer
Infrastructure & Operations Department
Address: Victoriaville Civic Centre
111 Syndicate Ave S
Thunder Bay ON P7E 6S4
Tel: (807) 625-2444



Stormwater Mgmt. Plan - Vol I: The Plan   Adobe PDF, 226 pages, 5.2 MB
Stormwater Mgmt Plan - Vol. II: Appendices   Adobe PDF, 133 pages, 6.0 MB
Stormwater Mgmt Plan - Vol. lll: Watershed Maps -
May 2016 Presentation to City Council   Adobe PDF, 20 pages, 4.2 MB


EOR logoEOR Inc. assisted with the development of our Stormwater Management Plan.

History of the Plan

The City committed to the development of a Stormwater Management Plan in 2008 in the City of Thunder Bay EarthWise Community Action Plan. This commitment was reinforced in the City of Thunder Bay 2011-2014 Strategic Plan (City of Thunder Bay, 2011). Work was begun on the Stormwater Management Plan in June, 2014.

Thunder Bay City Council approved the Stormwater Management Plan in principle on June 13, 2016.

Why is Stormwater an Issue?

Stormwater Drains to the LakeStormwater is the result of rain events and melting snow. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which flows into rivers, ponds and lakes – taking with it pollutants like chemicals, sediment and trash. Managing the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff is important for two reasons: one related to the volume and timing of runoff which can result in flooding, and the other related to contaminants the water carries – pollution.  

The 20-year Stormwater Management Plan will address the function of the City’s stormwater system in relation to ecological challenges, land use patterns, and climate change. Existing infrastructure will be assessed, retrofit opportunities identified, and strategies developed for future design and implementation.  


Stormwater 101

Life of a Raindrop

Nature continuously recycles our water supply through a dynamic process that has existed for millions of years. The water cycle has these basic components: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, groundwater recharge, and runoff.

Duck in waterYou can easily observe the effects of runoff into our local rivers and streams during a storm. Water that washes off construction sites, parking lots, roads and roofs carries trash, cigarette butts, chemicals and other pollutants directly into our waterways, and from there to Lake Superior. Our Stormwater Management Plan will help minimize this damaging runoff, while protecting our infrastructure and maintaining the optimal performance of our storm sewer system.


What Homeowners Can Do Right Now

  • Rain GardenPlant a rain garden
  • Install a rain barrel or two
  • Dispose of hazardous waste at the City’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot
  • Do not wash automotive fluids into the storm sewer
  • Pick up after your pets
  • Clean up litter
  • Avoid the use of chemical fertilizers