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Context by Wally Wells

FLASHBACK TO 2016: “Asset Management BC and the Partnership for Water Sustainability are collaborating to connect the dots between asset management and water sustainability. Everyone should know that the time to shape future life-cycle costs is at the community planning front-end. Our message is explicit: get it right at the front-end; avoid a liability,” stated Wally Wells (in an article published in Asset Management BC Newsletter, June 2016)


“Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A Framework for BC is the lynch-pin for a water-resilient future. The BC Framework makes the link between local government services, the infrastructure that supports the delivery of those services, and watershed health. Today, it is no accident that asset management and water sustainability are both top priorities for local governments. All those involved in land development have a role to play in achieving Sustainable Service Delivery. The players include land use and infrastructure professionals. Sustainable Service Delivery is the singular aim. Asset Management is the means to achieve the aim,” stated Wally Wells.

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For those who wonder about the ‘story behind the story’ of British Columbia’s Sustainable Service Delivery journey, Asset Management BC Executive Director Wally Wells has identified five Defining Milestones over the past two decades that have re-shaped how local government does business (Summer 2021 issue of Asset Management BC Newsletter)


“The approach BC local governments follow for their asset management process is enshrined in the document Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. The important and telling part of the title is that Asset Management is a process to provide a sound basis for decisions relating to the function of service delivery. Assets exist and are created, upgraded, replaced, maintained, and operated to provide a service. There is no other reason for their existence than provision of the intended service,” stated Wally Wells.

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APPLICATION OF BC’S FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY: “There are many considerations in a local government’s budget every year. The questions asked should revolve around service and risk. Are you asking the right questions?” – Wally Wells, Executive Director, Asset Management BC


“Asset Management BC has a program initiative underway to operationalize asset management. We have selected a cohort of seven local governments and First Nations communities in different regions. These are demonstration applications and cover a range of situations along the Asset Management Continuum. The understanding gained from this process will inform evolution and application of the BC Framework. We have asked each participating government to identify a barrier to sustainable service delivery. We are working our way through a process with each one to overcome that specific barrier,” stated Wally Wells.

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ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our unique training program will help local governments take it to the next level,” stated Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC, when he announced a FREE training program for local governments and First Nations (September 2020)


While BC’s local governments have made great strides in managing their assets for sustainable service delivery, there’s still a lot to be done. Moving beyond inventories and condition assessments takes time, resources, and planning. “We’ve heard from local governments and First Nations at our conferences and workshops there are still a number of barriers to fully implementing asset management as a way of doing business,” said AM BC Executive Director Wally Wells. “That’s why we’ve developed this program to provide a few different ways to help people advance their asset management practices.”

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ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY: “The question often comes up, when is asset management over or complete? As long as you own assets, never! The process is not static, but the inputs are constantly changing as assets are added, deleted, replaced, or upgraded,” wrote Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC, in the Summer 2020 Newsletter


“The primary cause of the ‘infrastructure gap’ is that we operate on today’s budgets without much attention to the ageing assets and future requirements for replacement or renewal. Or at least that is the way we operated up until now. The asset management process provides the tools to address this gap and hopefully prevent the gap from growing by planning, methodically, for the short and long term. The BC Framework is deliberately titled, “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework”. The operative word is ‘sustainable’ — both economically and physically,” stated Wally Wells.

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ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “In 2019, we updated the ‘Framework’ and added new supporting content in the form of four Primers that will support local governments in moving toward service, asset and financial sustainability,” stated Wally Wells, Executive Director, Asset Management BC


“Asset Management is an integrated process, bringing together skills, expertise, and activities of People; with Information about a community’s physical Assets; and Finances; so that informed decisions can be made, supporting Sustainable Service Delivery. Communities build and maintain infrastructure to provide services. Failure to care for our infrastructure, manage our natural resources and protect the benefits provided by nature risks degrading, or even losing, the services communities enjoy, and that future generations may rely on,” stated Wally Wells.

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GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “Primer on Integrating Natural Assets into Asset Management” builds on foundations established by two initiatives – EAP, Ecological Accounting Process; and MNAI, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (released by Asset Management BC, September 2019)


“Asset management is a process for sustainable service delivery. The BC Framework is designed as a wheel as there is a beginning but no end to the process. The role of natural assets in our communities is not well understood. As the Primer shows, significant work has been done on the integration of natural assets into the overall asset management program,” states Wally Wells. The Primer builds on the foundations established by EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, and the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative.

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BREAKING DOWN SILOS: “If asset management for sustainable service delivery is so simple and logical, why are we not getting it?” asks Wally Wells, Executive Director, Asset Management BC (July 2019)


“Different generations have different perspectives because of the way they grew up which formed beliefs and thinking patterns. This message really brings to light that different audiences will resonate with different messages in different ways,” wrote Wally Wells for an article co-authored with Kim Stephens and Cory Stivell. “Good messaging is what provides an opportunity to change a perspective which in turn aspires action. So maybe the question is: Are you considering your different audiences and ‘generational ways of thinking in your messaging process and content?’ If not, why not?”

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Asset Management BC Creates Formal Partnership to Help Drive Integrated Asset Management


“The partnership brings together core groups, all with a strong commitment individually and collectively to asset management,” stated Wally Wells. “Over several years, the knowledge base of asset management increased and was shared primarily through Asset Management BC (AM BC), including the development of tools and offering training programs. As asset management became a requirement in funding programs, AM BC became the focus for information including the core BC document ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. “

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“Asset management is a continuous process, not a discrete task,” says Wally Wells, Asset Management BC


“The asset management process is a continuum; and nature is an integral part of a community’s infrastructure system. The process starts with the engineered assets that local governments provide. Communities will progress along the continuum incrementally as their understanding grows. By also accounting for and integrating the services that nature provides, over time they can achieve the goal of Sustainable Service Delivery for watershed systems,” states Wally Wells.

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