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Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework

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 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)


“After becoming CAO of Courtenay, BC in 2013, we began exploring how to implement an AM 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. 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: The 4C’s,” wrote David Allen.

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ASSET MANAGEMENT, SERVICE DELIVERY, AND THE COVID-19 VIRUS: “The job of your Mayor and Council is to provide stewardship and governance over the organization that runs your community and provides you with safe, sustainable, secure services in a predictable, cost-effective manner NO MATTER WHAT SITUATION, CHALLENGE, OR GLOBAL CRISIS ARISES,” wrote Christina Benty, former Mayor of the Town of Golden (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2020)


“You trust that you will get clean, clear, safe water seven days a week, that every time you flush your toilet it has a place to go, that your garbage and recycling are picked up in a consistent manner, and that the arena roof is not going to collapse. Your local government team has to deliver on that trust. That’s their job and their only job. Do not urge your Mayor or Council to waste their limited resources writing yet another letter or passing a benign resolution on content outside of their control,” wrote Christina Benty.

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NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: “The Ecological Accounting Process and Municipal Natural Assets Initiative are program outcomes flowing from the tireless determination of two pioneers, EAP Chair Tim Pringle and MNAI Chair Emanuel Machado, to transform how local governments in British Columbia view ecological systems and the services they provide in supporting sustainable service delivery,” wrote Kim Stephens (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2020)


“Two programs – MNAI, the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative; and EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process – are facilitating the move from awareness to action that accounts for ecological systems and services. What do you know about the EAP and MNAI missions? Do you wonder whether they are the same, or different? In the second installment of ‘Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series’, EAP Chair Tim Pringle and MNAI Chair Emanuel Machado elaborate on how natural assets provide core local government services,” stated Kim Stephens.

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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: “We are still at the front end of our asset management journey, but we have been able to adapt to this unexpected change in operating conditions brought on by the global health pandemic,” stated Austin Tokarek, Asset Coordinator with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2020)


“Prior to this change, the CVRD, as an organization, recognized the value of a Strategic Asset Management Plan that defines levels of service, includes a risk management framework for managing climate change impacts, identifies infrastructure condition and priorities for renewal projects, and that attempts to identify future demand scenarios and break down the functional silos established by each department. This strategy enables an understanding of the systems within our community, interactions between staff, infrastructure requirements, defined service levels, and the costs to deliver those services,” stated Austin Tokarek.

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INFRASTRUCTURE ASSET MANAGEMENT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Glen Brown has provided leadership at a provincial scale to transform the phrase ‘sustainable service delivery’ into an actionable vision for local government,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability


The 20/80 Rule refers to the initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure being about 20% of the ultimate total cost, with the other 80% being an unfunded liability. This is a driver for doing business differently. “Tackling the unfunded infrastructure liability involves a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. This holistic approach is described as Sustainable Service Delivery. The link between infrastructure asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Glen Brown.

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GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “The core document for asset management for BC local governments is ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’,” stated Glen Brown, Chair, Asset Management BC


“The framework provides the basis for the entire asset management process for local governments to follow. Funding agencies, as part of funding applications, request communities to identify where they are within the asset management process using the framework. While there is much attention on the Asset Management plan, there is much more to the process than just the plan. The implementation strategy and long-term financial plan are more important documents than the asset management plan itself,” stated Glen Brown.

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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)


“The Primer on Integrating Natural Assets with Asset Management builds on the foundations established by two BC-based programs: EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process; and the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative. EAP and MNAI represent two points along a ‘green infrastructure continuum’. They are recent evolutions in an ongoing process in BC which dates back three decades. EAP and MNAI share the philosophy that communities can do a much better job of understanding, using and protecting the ecological services available to them in the local landscape,” stated Kim Stephens.

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