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Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework

YOUTUBE VIDEO: “A simple challenge to a municipal councillor or regional board member is: Why would you take on another unfunded liability called drainage – which is what you have been doing for a lifetime!,” stated Kim Stephens, keynote speaker at the Nanaimo Water Stewardship Symposium (April 2018)


“An educational goal is that those who are involved in municipal land use and drainage would understand the vision for ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’. It is an educational goal. Part of that is the paradigm-shift to recognize watersheds as infrastructure assets,” stated Kim Stephens. “The significance there is that people in local government get it, in terms of whether you use the word deficit or liability, that we don’t have the money to refinance or replace our existing core infrastructure such as water, sewer or roads.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): “The BC Framework refocuses business processes on how physical and natural assets are used to deliver services, and support outcomes that reduce life-cycle costs and address risks,” wrote Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“A game-changer flowing from Living Water Smart is ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. Led by Asset Management BC, the BC Framework sets a strategic direction for local government service delivery,” stated Kim Stephens. “Hydrology is the engine that powers ecological services. Thus, integration of the Partnership’s work within the BC Framework should accelerate implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach at the heart of the ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management’ program.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): “BC municipalities and regional districts, their respective CAOs and staff would benefit from guidance to a common communications approach to enhance asset management practices,” wrote David Allen, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Courtenay


“Ironically, while AM BC has championed the need for sustainable service delivery, it has increasingly recognized the need to address its own sustainability in maintaining an independent and neutral position in supporting other local governments,” stated David Allen. “This is possibly why there has not yet been a collation of policy practices offered in support of CAOs and council/board elected officials where, from a public administrator’s perspective, something of that nature would be very useful.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Winter 2018): “Operationalizing Asset Management: It’s about People, Too” – David Love, City of Courtenay


“In the spring of 2016 ‘Operationalizing Asset Management’ was ready. We then developed a comprehensive change management plan consisting of workshops, presentations and dialogue amongst all the affected persons,” stated David Love. “The whole thing was led by the CAO, and supported by Council’s Asset Management Policy that had set guidelines for implementing an organization-wide Asset Management processes. This was completed in the fall and the changes were then implemented en masse.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2018): Spall but Mighty: A Closer Look at the Service Sustainability Assessment Tool in Action – Interview with Doug Allin, CAO, Township of Spallumcheen


“It can be daunting, particularly in small communities with limited staff. That’s why you need to start small. Just jump in and get going. Pick one aspect to focus on and start with a plan. One of the first things I do in any community is start with the education – from the inside out. We can’t embrace Asset Management if our decision-makers don’t know what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it will benefit our community,” stated Doug Allin. “It all starts with a conversation, and asking: Is that what we want for our community?”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Winter 2018): Rossland’s Asset Management Planning Takes Centre Stage at Asset Management BC Conference


“In the recent past, our approach to infrastructure renewal was closer to a policy of Disaster Response than a systematic strategy to upgrade our essential services based on a comprehensive plan,” stated Mayor Kathy Moore. “But as part of its overall strategic plan, the current council has been undergoing a process to address asset management. That process has included an organizational assessment that allowed the city to “develop a clear understanding of where the organization needs to build Asset Management Capacity over the next two to seven years.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT BC NEWSLETTER (Summer 2017): “Climate risks are another layer of risk to consider in the management of assets,” stated Dr. Guy Felicio


“Lack of data and certainty has not stopped municipalities from providing services, managing their assets, and making effective and efficient use of their scarce resources. Extreme weather and future climate uncertainty is another variable to consider; but where to start? There are no reasons not to consider climate uncertainty in asset management. Ultimately, the focus is on the service and the community, and ensuring critical assets maintain functionality during the extreme event, and recover quickly any functionality lost!”

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LOOK THROUGH THE WORTH LENS: “At the end of the day, community and citizen decisions about how much to invest in restoration of watershed function boil down to this aspect of human nature: ‘what is it worth to me?’,” stated Tim Pringle when he described the philosophy guiding the Ecological Accounting Process


“By providing a value for the land underlying the stream and riparian zone, stakeholders have a much more realistic idea of the worth of ecological services,” stated Tim Pringle. “This form of financial information can then be used by local government to develop strategies guided by ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’.” A key message, he said, is to draw a distinction between maintenance and management. “Maintenance prevents degradation, whereas management is about enhancement,” he said.

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DESIGN WITH NATURE: “Developing a more thorough understanding of the community’s natural assets aligns with the city’s overall asset management efforts,” stated Courtenay CAO David Allen


“We’re very pleased to have been selected for a natural asset pilot project here in Courtenay, and it puts us on the leading edge nationally for this approach,” noted David Allen. “We’ve already seen the effects of several floods in low-lying areas in recent years, and it makes sense to maximize the potential of our natural environment to reduce the potential impact of these events on residents and businesses.”

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Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: “Alignment with the BC Framework would enable and support the transition of drainage practice from ‘voodoo hydrology’ to a water balance approach,” says Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability


“Among land and drainage practitioners, how water gets to a stream and how long it takes is not well understood. Unintended consequences of this failure to ‘get it right’ include degraded urban streams, more flooding, more stream erosion, less streamflow when needed most, and an unfunded infrastructure liability,” states Kim Stephens. “In 2006, American engineer and textbook author Andy Reese coined the term voodoo hydrology to both describe drainage practice and draw attention to the need for changing the way drainage engineers practice their trade.”

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