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.
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.
NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND SERVICES: “The Town of Gibsons has pioneered an approach to natural asset management which aligns with the mission of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. This synergy reinforces our respective efforts to change how local governments view and value ecological assets,” Kim Stephens told Mayor and Council when he presented the Town with a Champion Supporter award (September 2020)
“This award is really recognition of our staff, in particular our CAO, and the work that he and others have done in this very important area,” stated Mayor Bill Beamish. “The current Council was elected in 2018 and we are continually being educated in terms of natural assets and natural assets management. It is a true feather in the cap of the Town of Gibsons that we are getting recognition outside the community. At some point, I hope that (the Town’s accomplishments) will be recognized as strongly within the community. There is still work to be done in that area.”
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “The purpose of EAP is to enable local governments to establish values for the ecological services of streams and the land occupied by the stream,” states Tim Pringle, Chair, Ecological Accounting Process (September 2020)
“Natural assets support the delivery of core local government services, while doing so much more. EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is a multi-year program in British Columbia that is facilitating the move from awareness to action that accounts for ecological systems and services. What do you wonder about the EAP? In response to queries from the curious, the Partnership for Water Sustainability has prepared a 2-page downloadable resource that paints a picture of the EAP methodology in general terms. It is written to inform a high-level and introductory conversation,” stated Tim Pringle.
A GUIDE TO GREEN CHOICES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “We are providing local government with the information to make better decisions,” stated Dr. Laura Tate, then representing the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development, when she explained the matrix of Green Communities initiatives at the inaugural 2008 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series
In 2008, the Ministry of Community Development developed A Guide to Green Choices to help local governments continue the extensive work they were already doing in fostering green communities. “We have a series of initiatives within the Ministry that are integrated with other broader provincial initiatives. These are seeking to help us build green communities in our province. We all benefit from having attractive, liveable communities…with a healthy natural environment,” stated Dr. Laura Tate.
FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS FOR ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION OF THE NATURAL COMMONS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: “The starting point for application of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is recognition that local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of ecological assets within riparian corridors,” wrote Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, in the report on the application of EAP to Shelly Creek on the east coast of Vancouver Island (February 2020)
“Until now, what local governments have lacked are a pragmatic methodology for financial valuation, and meaningful metrics that go to the heart of sustainable service delivery. EAP provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of ecological assets,” stated Tim Pringle. Six foundational and cascading concepts underpin the EAP methodology and provide a mind-map. The M&M acronym is a starting point for encouraging practitioners to think holistically about the relationship between hydrology and ecology.
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.
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.
A KEY TAKEAWAY FROM APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS TO SHELLY CREEK VALUATION: “Over decades of disturbance, ‘riparian ecosystems’ have become reduced to ‘riparian zones’ as shown on the maps of today,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, in commenting on how ecological systems and services are compromised by land development
“An alternative term, riparian network, could also be used to describe a system composed of a physical stream channel and adjacent riparian (vegetated) corridor. This system provides a critical ecological function in linking terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in a watershed or creekshed. A common history of land uses on the east coast of Vancouver Island and other regions in BC has been the fragmentation of the riparian network in both rural and urbanizing landscapes. Over decades of disturbance, a landscape’s ecological links/services decline as it’s economic (land use) linkages increase,” stated Peter Law.
DEMONSTRATION APPLICATION OF ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS: Kilmer Creek in the District of North Vancouver, completed in June 2020
“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets. Application of the EAP methodology can help to inform an investment strategy for protection and/or restoration of ecological-hydrological function,” stated Tim Pringle.