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Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: Supporting the Vision for Integration of Natural Systems Thinking into “The BC Framework”


"Coined in 2010, the term Sustainable Service Delivery was introduced by the Province to integrate financial accountability, infrastructure sustainability and service delivery. While the BC Framework was only launched in early 2015, it has garnered both national and international attention. Other provinces, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, are integrating the BC Framework into their respective work," wrote Glen Brown.

FLASHBACK TO 2009: Looking Back, the Future is Now – Yesterday’s Policies and Expectations for Green Communities have been Evolving into Today’s Standards and Practices


Provincial programs provide direction as to where the Province wants to go with Living Water Smart and the Green Communities Initiative. “At the end of the day, planners and engineers and other disciplines must come together to determine the issues and solutions. No statute will help them do that. Living Water Smart is about motivating and inspiring everyone to embrace shared responsibility," stated Lynn Kriwoken.

“The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is the keeper of the GIP legacy,” observes Paul Ham, a Past-Chair of the Green Infrastructure Partnership


“I see my years of chairing the Green Infrastructure Partnership as helping to get the ball rolling and ideas disseminated, on green infrastructure, all of which has subsequently been taken up by others to a much greater degree of implementation and success. Our efforts a decade ago moved the state of-the-art of green infrastructure to a more mainstream level," said Paul Ham.

Asset Management BC Newsletter (July 2014): The Renewed Federal Gas Tax Agreement, Part One

On May 22, 2014, it was announced that the Administrative Agreement on the Federal Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia (the GTA) had been signed between Canada, British Columbia and UBCM. "Leading into our negotiations with Canada and BC, we reached out to the membership to gather feedback on the first nine years of the program. What we heard is that there was a desire to see the program streamlined, and more room provided for local decision making," said UBCM President Rhona Martin.

Green Urbanism & Rainwater Management: Cleveland Botanical Garden spearheads “Vacant to Vibrant” pilot program for rain gardens in three US states

The effects of the work are spreading throughout Gary, Indiana’s neighborhoods. “They’re sprucing up their own properties,” Brenda Scott-Henry said. “One guy said he’s going to put up a white picket fence, have a barbecue and invite his family over to look at the site. We have neighbors taking care of three, four, five lawns on a block just to keep it looking good.”

“Asset management is a continuous process, not a discrete task,” says Wally Wells, Asset Management BC

“The asset management process is a continuum; and nature is an integral part of a community’s infrastructure system. The process starts with the engineered assets that local governments provide. Communities will progress along the continuum incrementally as their understanding grows. By also accounting for and integrating the services that nature provides, over time they can achieve the goal of Sustainable Service Delivery for watershed systems," states Wally Wells.

New Paradigm: Watershed Systems as Infrastructure Assets

A watershed is an integrated system, is infrastructure, and must be viewed as an asset that provides municipal services. “Where a local government regulates land use, a watershed is an integral part of the drainage infrastructure assets of the local government. More specifically, the three pathways (surface, shallow lateral flow, groundwater) by which rainfall reaches streams are infrastructure assets. They provide ‘water balance services’," stated Kim Stephens.

Sustainable Service Delivery in BC: How do communities address the gap between expectations and resources?

"We must remember that we have inherited our prosperity and the responsibilities that go with it. Blaming past councils for deferring infrastructure investment is an exercise in futility. Now is the time for the leadership to assume the political risks, accept responsibility, and move forward," wrote Christina Benty (former Mayor of Golden, BC) in the Fall 2015 Asset Management BC Newsletter.

Asset Management BC Newsletter (Fall 2015): “If used properly as an adjective, the phrase ‘Sustainable Service Delivery’ makes sense,” says David Allen, City of Courtenay CAO

"Provision of Sustainable Service Delivery is the 'New Paradigm'. It is our singular aim. Sound Asset Management practices prevent in-service failure of assets which consequently cause service delivery interruptions. Therefore, Asset Management is the means to achieve the aim. Shifting to this 'New Paradigm' gives us an opportunity to align the existing nature of our services with the needs of future users," wrote David Allen.

Incorporating Natural Capital in Infrastructure Management: Gibson’s Eco-Asset Strategy

“Natural capital assets, such as green space, aquifers, foreshore area and creeks, can be as effective as engineered (or grey) infrastructure in water management. When considering the civil function that many of our natural assets perform, in many instances at a fraction of the cost of engineered assets, it makes good sense to recognize and manage them in a manner that reflects their true worth," concluded Dave Newman.

Leading Change in British Columbia: “Bring nature into the DNA of decision-making to build resilient communities,” says Emanuel Machado, Town of Gibsons CAO

"Canadian municipalities must innovate to address at least three major, interconnected issues now and over the coming years. The Town of Gibsons, just north of Vancouver, is pioneering a strategy that could contribute to the efforts of municipalities in BC and elsewhere to address these issues. The Gibsons 'eco-asset strategy' is proving to be an effective financial and municipal management approach," stated Emanuel Machado.