2022 posts

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)

“Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework” redefines the context for deciding how infrastructure is planned, financed, implemented, and maintained in British Columbia. It raises questions about how communities would service urbanizing and redeveloping areas in future. 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.

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SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY FOR WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The BC Framework points the way to a holistic and integrated approach to asset management. Nature, and the ecosystem services that it provides, are a fundamental and integral part of a community’s infrastructure system,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability

“The BC Framework focuses on desired outcomes rather than prescribing specific methodologies, thereby allowing local governments to develop and implement an approach that can be measured and incremental, tailored to the individual needs and capacities of individual local governments. The focus on outcomes is consistent with the ‘enabling philosophy’ that defines the approach to regulation in BC. The Province recognizes that communities are in the best position to meet their own unique needs and local conditions,” stated Kim Stephens.

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SUSTAINABLE FUNDING PLAN FOR INFRASTRUCTURE REPLACEMENT: “We are proud of what Oak Bay has been able to do in the past few years, but we have a challenging journey ahead of us. We like to celebrate successes but also be realistic about the work ahead of us that remains to be done,” stated Dan Horan, Director of Engineering & Public Works, District of Oak Bay in an article published in the Asset Management BC Newsletter (February 2022)

“It was game-changing when the provincial government said that local governments will need asset management plans in place to apply for grants. Oak Bay Council and staff saw the writing on the wall. They could already see evidence of the level-of-service challenge around older infrastructure. So, they took the first steps to ensure Oak Bay would qualify for infrastructure grant programs. Those steps, combined with savvy Councillors and senior staff knowing what Oak Bay needed to do, influenced Council’s strategic priorities process as well as updating of the Official Community Plan,” stated Dan Horan.

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A NETWORK ALLOWS PEOPLE TO MOVE OUT OF WORKPLACE SILOS: “People who have ‘done it’ will help you properly define the problem and provide you with experience-based guidance on how to deal with the issue,” stated Joe McGowan, retired Director of Public Works, and network builder in the local government setting

“Our workforce is dealing with two massive changes. One is Generational Amnesia and the second is that good people who desire to effect change are often working in silos that limit their contact with colleagues who can help define a problem and provide guidance on how to solve the problem. Generational amnesia is a phrase used to describe a situation in which organizations lose their memory of how to do things. The world is rapidly losing expertise through retirement which denies new employees the benefit of their predecessor’s knowledge and experience,” stated Joe McGowan.

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PROFILE IN COURAGE: “There is a special type of courage that Council needs to have to say, ‘give us the naked truth’. There is not a lot of political up-side to shining a light on infrastructure challenges. Oak Bay Council did that, no holds barred,” stated Christopher Paine, Director of Financial Services, when he explained the vision of Council in setting the direction for Oak Bay’s Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan

“Two things about Oak Bay are quite unique. First, I know of no other situation where an engineering department and a finance department are so much in lockstep on a unified vision for asset management. That was really spurred by Council’s culture. That is the second thing. They knew there was an issue with an aging infrastructure because the visible signs were there. They trusted staff and they started investing heavily in infrastructure funding. Anybody who is going to hear or read about the Oak Bay story, the thing that they really must understand is the role of Council,” stated Christopher Paine.

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