ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Ask a citizen in a public place if they expect their local government to fully maintain its assets to the end of their useful life and then replace them. They will look at you, like duh, of course! The public expects this level of service. Our professions should require it,” wrote Kim Fowler (Fall 2022 issue of Asset Management BC Newsletter)

Note to Reader:

The Fall 2022 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article by Kim Fowler, Manager of Long Range Planning, Sustainability and Energy with the Regional District of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. She provides her perspective, as a planner, on asset management. Her focus is on integration of asset management and financial planning to achieve better outcomes in the local government space. In 2008, she was asked by the president of the Planning Institute of BC to sit on a new committee being formed called Asset Management BC (AMBC).  

Asset Management – Integration for Resilience

“How does any local government prepare and adopt a financial plan without an asset management plan? Really!!” stated Kim Fowler.

“Without one, you are staggering around in the dark stubbing your toe on insufficient maintenance funds, barking your shin on the replacement cost, and banging your head into climate change. And you’ve lost the opportunity to extend life cycles and have valuable discussions with Boards, councils and the community about levels of service.”

“Ask a citizen in a public place if they expect their local government to fully maintain its assets to the end of their useful life and then replace them. They will look at you, like duh, of course! The public expects this level of service. Our professions should require it.”

A Call to Action

“While we could wait until the provincial government has to play its paternal role by changing the legislative requirements on annual financial plans to report on replacement costs and funding gaps but is that necessary? Should professional associations require the integration of asset management planning into financial planning with new sets of mandatory standards of practice? It appears so with no more time to procrastinate.”

“Local governments manage 60% of the physical assets in Canada on 8 cents of the tax dollar. These assets, like roads, civic buildings, and potable water, storm & sanitary sewer systems (dare we say, bike lanes?!) comprise the economic backbone of our communities – they are essential – and so should their management.”

“While all local governments do asset management and financial planning, the integration needs to enable discussions with our community about level of service, required maintenance and the cost of replacement. As professionals, we owe our communities those discussions. The resilience of our communities increasingly relies on the integration and the discussions will break the poor practices through awareness,” concluded Kim Fowler.

TO LEARN MORE:

To read the complete article, download the Fall 2022 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter.