City grant to help homeowners reduce runoff
The City of Ottawa will launch a pilot program this spring to help homeowners capture more stormwater on their own properties, diverting runoff from city sewers and helping keep gardens green.
Homeowners in neighbourhoods inside the Greenbelt, as well as some parts of Orléans, will be able to apply for a free professional consultations that will give them ideas for retrofits.
Financial incentives of up to $5,000 will also be available to help some homeowners cover the cost of installing permeable driveways, rain gardens or “soakaway pits” where water can be absorbed, as well as redirecting downspouts.
The grants will be available to those in the Westboro and Pinecrest Creek areas, as well as homes near waterways in the east end including Green’s and Bilberry creeks, the focus of studies in 2011 and 2019.
Those studies looked at the poor water quality in creeks, erosion, flooding and beach closures that occurred downstream from older neighbourhoods that weren’t built with stormwater ponds, now commonplace in newer subdivisions.
“Encouraging homeowners to manage runoff on their properties offers the most cost-effective opportunity for stormwater management,” Julia Robinson told the city’s standing committee on environmental protection, water and waste management on Tuesday.
City staff acknowledged it can be hard to motivate residents to retrofit their properties for environmental reasons without incentives, so they analyzed 75 similar projects in North America for ideas.
Ottawa’s stormwater pilot project is to last two years, during which time city staff expect their total budget of $750,000 to finance 125 projects. They plan to report back in the fall of 2023 with ideas on how to keep the program going long-term.