NEWS FROM ASSET MANAGEMENT BC: Wally Wells hands the baton to David Allen to continue the “sustainable service delivery” mission and build on the foundation that is in place for encouraging fully integrated asset management in British Columbia (July 2022)

Note to Reader:

Released in December 2014 by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs through Asset Management BC, Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework marked the dawn of a new era for local government. The emphasis on service is a game-changer for local government infrastructure asset management.

Glen Brown coined the term Sustainable Service Delivery in 2010 when he was an Executive Director with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. At that time, and thanks to the early work of the then newly formed Asset Management BC, chaired by Glen Brown, local governments were just starting to wrap their minds around the ‘20/80 Rule’ and the implications of the 80% as an unfunded liability.

The Partnership for Water Sustainability and Asset Management BC share common interests and are jointly operationalizing lynchpin action items identified in Living Water Smart in British Columbia. Their shared commitment to Living Water Smart actions provides the foundation for collaboration goals that are defined in a Memorandum of Understanding.

Continue reading to learn about the transition from Wally Wells to David Allen as the AMBC Executive Director.

British Columbia’s “Framework for Asset Management” envisions fully integrated and sustainable service delivery

The BC Framework establishes expectations; it does not prescribe solutions. It is a game-changer because it redefines the context for deciding how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented, and maintained. It raises questions about how communities would service urbanizing and redeveloping areas in future.

Most importantly, the BC Framework emphasizes the paramount nature of the services that constructed infrastructure assets provide. The BC Framework also shines the spotlight on what the life-cycle costs are over time to maintain, renew or replace the assets.

The BC Framework points the way to a holistic and integrated approach to asset management.  Nature, and the ecosystem services that it provides, are viewed as a fundamental and integral part of a community’s infrastructure system. This is not to suggest that all ecosystem services provide a municipal function.

The ultimate vision for fully integrated Sustainable Service Delivery is that communities would protect, preserve, restore, and manage “natural assets” in the same way that they manage their engineered assets.

Asset Management BC transitions to a new Executive Director

“Asset Management BC (AMBC) has a new Executive Director as of July 1st, 2022. Since the establishment of Asset Management BC 11 years ago, our first Executive Director, Wally Wells P. Eng., a great ambassador and champion of Asset Management in BC and beyond, is handing the reins over to another well-known figure in Asset Management, David Allen,” announced Glen Brown, Chair. Glen is the General Manager of Victoria Operation, Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM)

“David is the retired Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Courtenay with significant municipal experience including prior positions at  4 other BC local governments and, for the  past 8 years, as  co-chair of the AMBC Community of Practice. David is the author of the 4 C’s, a regular contributor to the AMBC newsletter and is a passionate advocate of Asset Management.”

A new role for Wally Wells

“Wally will continue to provide assistance and guidance within our asset management community by continuing involvement with AMBC as an Asset Management  Master, Mentor and Coach,” added Brian Bedford, Co-Chair. Brian is an Executive Director with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

“Asset Management BC is your Community of Practice in BC linked with other Communities of practice across Canada.  The mandate for AMBC is to share knowledge and information through training, an annual conference, periodic workshops, social media, our newsletter, mentoring and networking and our partnership with many like organizations in BC.”

Time Passes and Change is Inevitable

“It’s been 11 years since Asset Management BC (AMBC) was formed, initially as the ‘Working Group for Asset Management’. Our routes go back to the initial workshops held at BCIT in Vancouver and the recognition of both the interest and the need for a focused group specifically for asset management. With the strong encouragement, direction, and support of Glen Brown, initially with the Province of BC, now UBCM, we took the initial steps and Asset Management BC was born,” recalls Wally Wells.

“I have had the pleasure of being Executive Director since day one. Those early years generated many challenges in bringing different disciplines together, including Associations, to achieve the need for recognition of asset management as an integrated process not driven by any one discipline. At that time, there was a major ‘learning curve’ of exactly what the process of asset management is and why expedite treasured municipal resources to do it? We have come a very long way.”

“One thing in life that is constant is change. The time for transition at AMBC has come. I am now 11 years older and must look to the best interests of our organization and the ongoing maturing of asset management as an accepted business process within our local governments and First Nation communities; I must look to our continued successes and growth as opposed to my personal wishes.”

“However, as I continue with my passion for asset management, I am retaining a role for selected tasks, coaching, and mentoring and will always be available to you to help you through your asset management journey. This is reflected in my new title as ‘Asset Management Master, Mentor and Coach.”

Quotable Quote

“An issue we have in communicating our message often seems to relate to the use and interpretation or misinterpretation of words or phrases. Too often we use technical terms within our own skill sets, not appreciating that others may not know what we are really saying. Asset Management, itself, is an intimidating term. The process of asset management or ‘managing assets’, is not new. The process, as defined today, just leads to better decisions across the entire organization for priority setting with limited budgets,” stated Wally Wells.

To Learn More:

To read the complete story published by Waterbucket eNews on April 26th 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British  Columbia: Asset management is an awkward term and confuses everyone.

The 4Cs for Sustainable Service Delivery: Collaboration, Capacity, Culture & Council

“After becoming CAO of Courtenay, BC in 2013, we began exploring how to implement an Asset Management Program at the City. Collaborating with external agencies opened our minds to thinking of AM practices in far broader terms, so that they might be applied in any community, regardless of size,” states David Allen. He is a Past-Chair (2012-2020) of the Asset Management BC Community-of-Practice.

“We didn’t realize it, at the time, but it led to us eventually conclude that operationalizing AM would involve four separate, interconnected initiatives that would be the pathway for our journey toward Sustainable Service Delivery: They coalesced into what we locally refer to as The 4C’s – Collaboration, Capacity, Culture, and Council.”

“It is all about building trust between Council and staff, keeping in mind what can realistically be accomplished by an organization, and being clear about the limitations of the current state-of-practice and knowledge and our ability to explain what the numbers mean in that context.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete article, click on ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If Courtenay’s experience along this path is any indication, the 4C’s – Collaboration, Capacity, Culture, and Council – can provide local governments with the foundation to achieve Sustainable Service Delivery,” wrote David Allen, City of Courtenay CAO (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2020)