London, ON, August 25, 2011. The Honourable Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, AMO immediate Past President Peter Hume, and Pat Vanini, AMO Executive Director, presented a P.J. Marshall Plaque Award to the City of Kitchener.
The award was for its innovative program that transferred storm water management funding from property taxes to a user-fee program based on the amount of impervious area on a property.  The award was presented August 24 – the last day of the 2011 AMO Conference in London.  A Plaque Award recognizes projects that exemplify all of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria: innovation, tangible benefits, improved efficiency, innovative financing and transferability.

“Our city’s residents identify environmental issues as one of the most significant problems we face, said Berry Vrbanovic, City of Kitchener Ward 2 Councillor.   “With the storm water management project, the City of Kitchener is taking another step toward becoming one of the most sustainable communities in Canada.”

Storm water runoff flows across land and is routed into drainage systems and ultimately natural areas such as creeks, lakes and wetlands.  Developed areas with houses, roads, businesses and parking lots limit the amount of storm water that be absorbed into the ground. 

Areas that are more impervious create more runoff and pollutant loading from the property and consequently pose a greater burden on the City’s storm water management system.  In 2010, Kitchener adopted a utility structure using an impervious area calculation to set the rate structure.  This structure provides full, sustainable and dedicated funding for its critical storm water management. 

Rates are assessed to each parcel of land based on usage of the drainage system.  As a result, some property owners are adopting best practices such as introducing pollutant trappers called vegetated swales to reduce the amount of impervious area. The City is now exploring a way to provide rate credits for property owners who want to provide onside controls that reduce the runoff from their property.

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process organized by AMO.    Awards acknowledge municipalities who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in public-private partnerships.  Submissions by Ontario municipalities are judged by a panel on their creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public.  This year, two plaque awards and two certificates of merit were awarded.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system. 

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