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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.

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.

Asset Management BC Newsletter (Summer 2015): “Local infrastructure is the foundation for communities,” states Gord Hume, author and former municipal Councillor

"Leading asset managers in Canada, will have a greater role to play as cities design and re-build their infrastructure. From public transit to social housing, from how we use our streets and sidewalks, it is not just a numbers game on a spreadsheet. This is why it is urgent for them to understand the importance and the changing role of urban design, and the public realm, and how people use it," stated Gord Hume.

Green Streets in Los Angeles: A New Source of Water Supply

In 2015, the City of Los Angeles approved guidelines for street stormwater management and is working on an ordinance to require new green infrastructure for all public streets. Green streets will be critical to satisfy a Los Angeles mandate to cut its use of imported water by half by 2024, said Public Works Commissioner Heather Repenning. Every time it rains, she said, 40 percent of the water now heads out to sea — after picking up street pollutants in its path.

Report Urges Use of Green Infrastructure to ‘Climate Proof’ Cities

"Man-made infrastructure used to be the default for most discussions about protecting at-risk communities. Now, science is showing us that natural defenses like dunes, wetlands, mussel beds, forests and oyster reefs can help to keep us safe from future disasters by absorbing floodwaters, reducing wave energy and helping defend against storm surges, with the added benefits of increasing wildlife habitat, absorbing carbon pollution that is the cause of climate change, and making our city more aesthetically pleasing and livable," stated Bill Ulfelder.