To help achieve a sustainable environment, the City of Thunder Bay has developed a Stormwater Management Plan.

The plan focuses on the stormwater system, and how changes in the environment, land use, and climate affect it. The plan will spread over 20 years. It will look for opportunities to assess and improve current infrastructure.

Stormwater 101

What is stormwater

Rain and melted snow flow over land into storm drains, streams, rivers, and lakes.

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.

Why is stormwater an issue

Stormwater that does not soak into the ground flows into rivers, ponds and lakes. The runoff can contain chemicals, sediment, and trash.

It is important to monitor stormwater runoff. First, to track how much and how often which can result in flooding. Second, to track the amount of contaminants the water carries.

The plan will help lower the danger of runoff, protect our roads and structures, while a fully function storm sewer system.

Stormwater financing study

A public information forum was held to give residents an opportunity to learn about the study and funding options under consideration and give their feedback.

  • Stormwater Financing Study Public Information Centre Poster for the Jan. 23, 2018 Public Information Session 
  • Thunder Bay Stormwater Management Financing Study Storyboards from the Jan. 23, 2018 Public Information Session 
  • Thunder Bay Stormwater Management Financing Study Presentation the Jan. 23, 2018 Public Information Session 
  • Thunder Bay Stormwater Management Financing Study to City Council 


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Stormwater financing options

There are several options to provide funding for a stormwater management program. These options include:

  • Status quo
  • Increased property tax rates
  • Changes to the current Sewage & Drainage property tax levy
  • A new stormwater management property tax levy
  • Changes 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.

Stormwater Management Plan

The stormwater management plan will span over 20-years. It will protect the quality and health of water resources in Thunder Bay.

The guidance of Emmons & Olivier Resources, INC., as well as input from community groups and residents helped create the plan.

The City of Thunder Bay strategic plan (2011-2014) supported the development of the plan.

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

Community involvement

Good planning and better decisions involves input from many perspectives, including the residents of our community. We encourage residents to help shape the plans for stormwater management financing which will help meet the needs of the current and future stormwater demand.

What homeowners can you do right now

  • Plant a rain garden
  • Install a rain barrel or two
  • Dispose of hazardous waste at the City's Household Hazardous Waste Depot-link to internal site
  • Do not wash automotive fluids into the storm sewer
  • Pick up after your pets
  • Clean up litter
  • Avoid the use of chemical fertilizers

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