COURTENAY’S ASSET MANAGEMENT BYLAW DECISION: “It was critical to carefully draft the content so it would rest upon a solid legal foundation, stay within Council’s authority, and be consistent with existing legislation and our own bylaws and policies,” stated David Love, the City’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives
“Once committed to ‘uprating’ our Policy to a Bylaw, the first step was to identify the distinction between the two. By doing this we verified a policy is a general statement of objectives to guide decisions on a particular matter. A policy may be readily altered by Resolution or at Council’s discretion, or even disregarded in decision-making with little or no legal or political consequence. If Courtenay was to become one of the few local governments to adopt an AM Bylaw in Canada, and possibly the first in BC, some staff work had to be done,” explained David Love.
FLASHBACK TO 2015: Union of BC Municipalities and the BC provincial government jointly released “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework” to set a new direction for achieving financial sustainability
“A province-wide, made in BC, asset management strategy that goes beyond the requirements of the Gas Tax Asset Management Framework, is beneficial for all local governments, as well as other organizations. The BC Framework released in December 2014 provides a high level overview of what is needed to develop, implement and maintain strong asset management practices for local governments,” stated Liam Edwards, Executive Director (Infrastructure and Finance, Local Government Division) Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY: “As an industry, we have done a very poor job of educating our community on stormwater infrastructure issues, especially on the connection between cost of service and level of service,” wrote Hal Clarkson, Certified Asset Management professional
“Across the country, our aging and crumbling stormwater infrastructure is causing localized flooding, water quality issues, road closures, delays in emergency response and loss of commerce. To make matters worse, our community officials and citizens often do not understand how a drainage system works or the effort required to keep it functioning at an acceptable level of service. My colleague, Brian Bates, refers to stormwater as the ‘forgotten infrastructure’, and he is right,”stated Hal Clarkson.
GLOBAL CRISIS REPRESENTS AN OPPORTUNITY: “The 2020 coronavirus pandemic may lead to a deeper understanding of the ties that bind us all on a global scale and could help us get to grips with the largest public health threat of the century, the climate crisis,” wrote Arthur Wyns, Climate Change & Health Advisor to World Health Organization
“The global health crisis we find ourselves in has forced us to dramatically change our behaviour in order to protect ourselves and those around us, to a degree most of us have never experienced before. This temporary shift of gears could lead to a long-term shift in old behaviours and assumptions, which could lead to a public drive for collective action and effective risk management. Even though climate change presents a slower, more long-term health threat, an equally dramatic and sustained shift in behaviour will be needed to prevent irreversible damage,” stated Arthur Wyns.
A PROPERLY FUNCTIONING ‘NATURAL COMMONS’ SUPPORTS A PACKAGE OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Ecological Accounting Process, EAP, is a pragmatic ‘made in British Columbia’ approach to financial valuation of the ecological services supplied by a stream
“The EAP program has three stages: Test / Refine / Mainstream. During 2017 and 2018, two Stage 1 demonstration applications tested the concept, and demonstrated EAP relevance to local government. In 2019, two Stage 2 demonstration applications resulted in working definitions and consistent application of the EAP methodology. In 2020 and 2021, six Stage 3 demonstration applications will mainstream use of EAP. The grand total of ten demonstration applications will encompass a range of land use situations in five regional districts,” stated Kim Stephens.
PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “When the dust of COVID-19 settles, we should look back at this moment as proof that our societies are not enslaved to fate, and find strength in the demonstrated ability of modern societies to react to global emergencies,” say Eric Galbraith and Ross Otto of McGill University
“Why do we sometimes rely on slow, deliberative, and effortful choices, while at other times we rely on fast, habitual, and reflexive choice? On one hand, making the best possible decision is effortful and time-consuming, but on the other hand, the benefits resulting from deliberative behavior may be small relative to its cost,” wrote Ross Otto. “My research investigates why we sometimes rely on slow and effortful choices, while at other times we rely on fast and reflexive choice.”
ARTICLE: “An outcome of EAP evolution is the identification of an eco-terminology framework that is appropriate and relevant to municipal asset management,” stated Tim Pringle, the pragmatic visionary leading EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process initiative underway in British Columbia (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2020)
“Asset management professionals need to be aware of bias that may be implicit in traditional terminology for evaluation of ecosystem approaches. Bias comes into play in one or more of the following three ways. First, whether one breaks the ecological system into its parts, or looks at the system as a whole. Secondly, whether the analytical focus is solely on financial values, or also takes into account social values. Finally, whether the guiding philosophy for valuation primarily is influenced by academia and scientific arguments, or by how the community uses the natural commons (stream corridor),” stated Tim Pringle.
FORESTS 101: The green infrastructure sustaining life on earth – “People can work together to sustainably and effectively shape natural resource use, as long as ground rules and parameters are clear, and those who work on the land are involved,” stated Robert Nasi, Director General, Center for International Forest Research
“There are five areas where investment can be made to rejuvenate the functions of degraded ecosystems. These will help protect, expand and value forests and their biodiversity, transform agriculture into perennial systems, and build sustainable value chains, with the combined support of governments and the private sector to make the transition to sustainable economies,” said Robert Nasi. “Major policy decisions will continue to be undertaken with a presumption that individuals cannot organize themselves and always need to be organized by external authorities.”
DESIGN WITH NATURE: Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Smart Forest City plan for Cancun, Mexico, takes the concept of a green city to entirely new levels
“Indeed the effort of the smart Forest City of Cancun could make our world a better place, reducing significantly the negative impacts on the environment, possibly being a pioneer for a new kind of human settlement, a man made city for nature and biodiversity,” said Stefano Boeri. “”Thanks to the new public parks and private gardens, thanks to the green roofs and to the green facades, the areas actually occupied will be given back by nature through a perfect balance between the amount of green areas and building footprint.”
“Green infrastructure focuses on cost-effective, living, upstream solutions. And there is no-where farther up stream than the roof! Green infrastructure is so powerful because it harnesses the simple solutions of nature to provide primary and secondary benefits,” states Charlie Miller, one of the key people behind friction-detention technology. “By virtue of their huge surface area and their large lateral extent, green roofs change the hydrologic response of the roof surfaces that they cover.”