Story Behind the Story

STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “We validated the usefulness of EAP through application of a consistent set of research questions and objectives to seven subsequent case studies,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair

“Master drainage planning, integrated stormwater planning, and other processes at best pay lip-service to the role of the streamside protection zone within a stream system context, the condition of native vegetation and woodlands cover, and the need for restoration. Now, the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) provides the reason to ask the question, why aren’t these factors considered and given equal weight to engineering considerations? With EAP as a foundation piece, local governments have a rationale and a metric to do business differently via multiple planning pathways,” stated Tim Pringle.

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STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “The asset management planning and the community planning frameworks resemble each other; planning is planning is planning. Collaboration can strategically and proactively ensure the ongoing essential reliable levels of services,” stated Christine Callihoo, community climate resilience and adaptation planner

“Community resilience is defined as the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations while continuing to deliver critical community services. The goal of enabling and supporting community resiliency also brings to the fore the role of land use and community planning; the very profession that develops the policy and plans that either enable or impede the resiliency we seek,” stated Christine Calihoo.

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STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “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,” stated Christopher Paine, Director of Financial Services, District of Oak Bay

The big picture context for EAP is whether a local government has a strategy for its constructed assets. Success over the long-term depends on local government political commitment to the guiding principles of sustainable service delivery. Bridging the infrastructure funding gap for constructed and natural assets requires an intergenerational commitment. “Lack of a long-term financial plan to support asset management really forces an incremental erosion of the service level. That is why forward looking long-term financial statements are so important to inform Council decisions,” stated Christopher Paine.

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STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “By accounting for and integrating the services that nature provides, communities can achieve the goal of Sustainable Service Delivery for watershed systems,” stated Liam Edwards, former Executive Director, BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs (quotable quote, 2015)

Three landmark initiatives came to fruition in 2014. One of these is ‘Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework’. It makes the link between local government services, the infrastructure that supports the delivery of those services, and watershed health. The BC Framework provides context for EAP. “The BC Framework points the way to integration of natural systems and climate change thinking into asset management. Resilient cities will be the ones that can absorb water and manage the water cycle as a closed loop,” stated Liam Edwards

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STORY BEHIND THE STORY OF EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: “Nature appears more fragmented because we have to slice it into categories and dice those categories into bits before we can value bits of those bits. The sum of these parts is far short of the whole and does not capture the interconnectedness and holism of nature,” stated John Henneberry (1952-2021) Professor of Property Development Studies, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

John Henneberry’s pioneering work serves as validation of how EAP looks at streams and water assets as a system. His eclecticism produced real insights into the operation of land and property markets, enabling all involved to see things more clearly and differently. His interests lay at the interface between planning and property. “An industry has developed that values different aspects of nature in different ways. Our view of nature is biased to those aspects of it that can be measured and particularly to those that can be valued,” stated John Henneberry.

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