Moving Towards Sustainable Service Delivery in British Columbia: “Build awareness first, then implement,” emphasized Glen Brown at inter-regional collaboration session
View Watersheds Through a “Sustainable Service Delivery” Lens
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia is facilitating an inter-regional collaborative comprising five geographic regions, namely: Capital, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Comox Valley and Metro Vancouver. In January 2014, the Province hosted a “Springboard Session” in Victoria to kick-off a series of five collaboration sessions under the umbrella of the Inter-Regional Education Initiative. The program focus is on the Watershed Health issue.
At the start of the Springboard Session, a provincial government context was provided by Glen Brown, the Executive Director of the Province’s Local Government Infrastructure and Finance Division and the Deputy Inspector of Municipalities. He explained what his Ministry means when it urges local governments to view watersheds through a Sustainable Service Delivery lens.
To Learn More
To download a copy of the Agenda Package, click on Towards a Watershed Health Legacy in the Georgia Basin. This explanatory document elaborates on the Watershed Health Goal and the scope of inter-regional collaboration.
Move from Awareness to Implementation
“Our Ministry’s goal, and one of our mandates, is to support local government in moving forward with innovation, new ideas and better governance that will lead to evolving standards of practice. One of those outcomes should be protection of watersheds and restoration of watershed health,” stated Glen Brown.
“Our perspective looks at these desired outcomes in terms of what are the opportunities, and how will those in local government align their efforts…so that everyone can get beyond simply discussing and understanding what is ‘the right thing to do’…and just get on with implementation.”
“Implementation is where the rubber hits the road, and that is where the challenges are found. From my perspective, it has always been about trying to achieve alignment of provincial goals and objectives, local government goals and objectives, citizens and NGOs – basically all the partners who are involved in watershed health. Basically it means connecting the dots. In essence, that is the conversation that we will be having in this forum.”
Provincial Support for Inter-Regional Collaboration
“I have been involved with the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s ‘convening for action’ initiative since 2006. The Ministry has seen value in it. We have supported it. We have participated in it. We have funded it,” continued Glen Brown.
“An aspect of my involvement in the initiative is looking at the financial aspect as a potential driver to help support implementation. And through that process we came up with the idea of Sustainable Service Delivery.”
“This builds on the principles of Asset Management which are probably a little too narrow at this time. When people think of Asset Management, they think of pipes and how to maintain them. Sustainable Service Delivery puts the lens of the environment over this so that we actually acknowledge environmental protection. That is a better definition of asset management, and that is what I refer to as Sustainable Service Delivery.”
Provincial Requirement for Asset Management
“We cannot move forward with Asset Management without consideration of the environment, and therefore the watershed. So this is one of the big drivers that we have in our Ministry,” emphasized Glen Brown.
“It is actually going to be a component, and a requirement, under the next Gas Tax Grant Program. Asset Management will be a requirement, and we certainly would like Asset Management to be thought of with the lens of environment and ecology.”
“So, this will be a major driver because with decision-makers because it is the dollars that allow decisions to be made. And when you connect the dots, you wind up with a greener community, water protection, water conservation, adapting to a changing climate. All these aspects can be part of the Sustainable Service Delivery piece.”
“In essence, this is one of the reasons that we are so keen on this Inter-Regional Education Initiative. It is about connecting the dots. It is about aligning interests, roles, responsibilities and efforts. Yes, the focus can be on watershed protection. But it cannot be on its own. It has to be connected to the other pieces. And that is where we will find traction in moving Sustainable Service Delivery forward.”
Build Awareness First, Then Implement
“One cannot underestimate the value of having a diverse group come together and the opportunity it provides to collaborate, network, share ideas. In short, it is the whole education and building awareness piece.”
“On the matter of building awareness, I am reminded of the wisdom that was shared by a sage Vancouver Island mayor. He said never move forward with the solution before you build awareness of the issue. Otherwise the solution becomes the issue. That is what we are trying to move past with the Inter-Regional Education Initiative. Build awareness. Learn from each other. Look for opportunities to move forward,” concluded Glen Brown.
At the 2011 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series, the spotlight was on the unfunded ‘infrastructure liability’ confronting all local governments. This is a driver for a change in the way local governments plan, finance, implement and over time replace infrastructure.
Links to YouTube Video Clips:
At Seminar #1, Glen Brown provided the provincial big picture. He then explained the significance of the unfunded infrastructure liability and defined Sustainable Service Delivery. Finally, he elaborated on the need for local governments to be nimble, collaborative and integrated. To view Glen Brown and learn more, click on these links to video clips posted on YouTube:
- Asset Management defined in terms of ‘Sustainable Service Delivery’ (1:16 minutes)
- Sustainable Service Delivery Principle #1 – It’s All About Service(2:10 minutes)
- Sustainable Service Delivery Principle #2 – Define its Quality(1:26 minutes)
- Sustainable Service Delivery Principle #3 – Operation & Maintenance Requirements (2:01 minutes)
- So, What is Sustainable Service Delivery? (2:35 minutes)
To download a copy of his PowerPoint presentation, click on Sustainable Service Delivery: An Integrated Approach Links Land Use Planning, Watershed Health and Infrastructure Liability (1.3MB)