ARTICLE: Sustainable Service Delivery in a Changing Climate – “EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of natural assets,” states Tim Pringle (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2019)

Note to Reader:

The September 2019 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article written by Kim Stephens, M.Eng., P.Eng, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. The article focus is on how elders are leading by example to bridge a demographic gap until Generations X, Y and Z take the inter-generational baton.

The context for the article is the current ‘climate emergency’. The article describes three examples of ‘elders in action’. All have relevance to asset management. They underscore why knowledge, experience and wisdom built-up over time are invaluable in first understanding what needs to be done, and then, how to get it done. When time is of the essence to change our practices, society no longer has the luxury of taking decades to re-invent the wheel.

Tim Pringle is one of the ‘elders in action’  featured in the article. His breakthroughs in pioneering the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP), an initiative to reconnect hydrology and ecology in local creeksheds, represent the culmination of a 30-year journey. EAP provides local government staff and collaborators with a methodology and metrics not have previously been available. Tim Pringle was the inaugural winner of the B.C. Land Champion Award in 2010.

The article connects four dots: the Doomsday Clock – the threat; Adapt to a Changing Climate – the challenge; Improve Where We Live – the vision; and, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework – an expectation.

The parallel concepts of the NATURAL COMMONS and the CONSTRUCTED COMMONS enable residents, elected persons, and practitioners to consider ecological services and use of land as equally important.

Sustainable Service Delivery in a Changing Climate:
A Moment of Reckoning!

“Local governments are implementers. This means they can be change leaders. They can integrate climate adaptation into the activities and actions of engineered and natural asset management – or flipping it around, integrate asset management into the activities and actions of climate adaptation. Local government partnerships with the stewardship sector have the potential to be transformational to ‘improve where we live’. With the foregoing in mind, three examples of ‘elders in action’ are described (in the article),” writes Kim Stephens.

Methodology for Valuation of Nature’s Assets

EAP constitutes a “package of innovation” in terms of its philosophy, strategy and deliverables. The focus is on the local government context where practitioners are concerned about practical realities of managing use and conservation of land and ecological services.

Tim Pringle developed the parallel concepts of the “natural commons” (stream corridors and other natural systems) and the “constructed commons” (roads, utilities, schools) as a way for residents, elected persons, and practitioners to understand that ecological services deserve equal consideration when developing municipal asset management strategies.

The natural commons and constructed commons are core local government services essential to social, economic and environmental well-being. This is a foundational principle for a fully integrated approach to asset management that truly aspires to achieve “sustainable service delivery”.

“Traditionally land development is implemented under criteria set out in local government bylaws and other legislation. So-called proven practices of development follow a usual sequence: the community plan, zoning, institutional uses, parks and public spaces, and infrastructure including roads and drainage.  This traditional approach does not appreciate hydrology and the streams it supports as systems. EAP addresses this specific deficiency,” explains Tim Pringle.

“EAP provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of natural assets. A valuation of the land underlying the stream system is based on parcel information supplied by BC Assessment Authority. The EAP methodology can be employed by any local government to determine worth and value of local streams and their ecological services.

“An EAP success story is the Town of Comox. The Town modified its land planning decision process for a Draft Neighbourhood Concept Plan when staff recognized that ecological services are not just an add-on. They are, in fact, core municipal services.”

To Learn More:

Download Sustainable Service Delivery in a Changing Climate – A Moment of Reckoning! to read the article by Kim Stephens.

Read RECONNECTING HYDROLOGY AND ECOLOGY: “The Partnership for Water Sustainability in B.C. has identified the Town of Comox as a ‘beacon of hope’ because of the precedents it has established when implementing the twin pillars of the whole-system, water balance approach to land development,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, when he met with Town Council (September 2019)