A Regional Response to 'Infrastructure Liability': Comox Valley Regional Team releases agenda for Seminar #1 in 2011 Learning Lunch Series



The expression ‘regional team approach’ is resonating in British Columbia. Insertion of the word team in ‘regional approach’ has had a profound impact on how practitioners in a local government setting view their world. Team implies there is a personal commitment.

The team approach enables local governments to ‘do more with less’. This is accomplished through sharing of experiences, collaboration, alignment, and pooling of resources to get the job done. The Comox Valley is demonstrating what can be achieved through a ‘regional team approach’ that strives for consistency at local government front counters.

Team-building is a cumulative process. In 2011, the Comox Valley Regional Team is reaching out to the local development community.  

The article below is the second in a weekly series that will be released throughout the March – June period. To download a PDF version, click on Comox Valley Local Governments Showcase A Regional Response to Infrastructure Liability: Seminar #1 Agenda – Collaboration on Comox Valley Regional Initiatives

The first in the series released the 2011 program at a glance. The purpose of these articles is to foreshadow the information-transfer that will take place at the 2011 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series. To access the homepage for these articles, click here.


Program Overview for 2011 Series

The initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost. The other 80% is an unfunded liability; and is a driver for local governments in the Comox Valley to focus on what happens after developers hand-off municipal infrastructure.

Kevin lorette - cvrd (120p)“Water is a key component for all the regional strategies. At the core is growth – we are bringing these strategies together to manage growth. When we move into the action phase, it will not be one organization doing it. This involves everybody. If we all work together, we will be that much more effective.” observes Kevin Lorette, General Manager of the Property Services Branch in the Comox Valley Regional District.


Resolve the Unfunded ‘Infrastructure Liability’

By proceeding with the third in a series of Learning Lunch Seminar programs, local governments in the Comox Valley are ‘convening for action’ around a water-centric theme that has three dimensions:

  • Water is the finite resource; however, management of development is the control.
  • Water OUT = Water IN is the mind-map for an holistic approach 
  • Water sustainability will be achieved through implementation of green infrastructure practices

At the conclusion of the 2011 Series, the four local governments will prepare a Joint Report that: summarizes the 3-year seminar program; describes how the regional team approach has developed leadership capacity; and proposes a policy framework for resolving the unfunded ‘infrastructure liability’.


To Learn More:

The target audience for the 2011 Series is land use and infrastructure professionals in the local government and land development sectors. To download a comprehensive package that provides background information and elaborates on the scope of the 2011 Series, click here.


Seminar #1 – Collaboration Theme

“Session #1 will build on the Developers Dialogue, held in December 2010. The spotlight willShelley ashfield (120p) - town of comox be on the existing unfunded ‘infrastructure liability’, and why all those involved in land development have a role to play in achieving Sustainable Service Delivery,” states Shelley Ashfield, an engineer with the Town of Comox. “A desired outcome is that participants will understand why there is a link between infrastructure asset management and protection of a community’s natural assets.”


Town-Hall Sharing and Learning

“The success of the 2010 Developers Dialogue has influenced how the CAVI-Comox Valley Regional Team has approached the design of the 2011 Series,” reports Kim Stephens, Executive Director for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia and member of the CAVI Leadership Team. He is the facilitator for the 2011 Series.

“Although we have consistently stresssed the importance of the town-hall sharing and sharing segments, this year we are placing even more emphasis on the conversational format.”

“The town-hall format was excellent for ‘stirring the pot’ as it allowed for a variety of ideas, questions and comments to flow easily and freely. The non-formal setting made everyone comfortable in sharing comments, whether positive or negative.  In my experience I often find myself in meetings that only stifle free speech among peers…this was not the case,” reports Kip Keylock, a Director of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Two Parts to the Day

“There are two parts to Seminar #1. Both parts are about expectations. In the morning, the focus is on establishing expectations – this is what we want our valley to look like. In the afternoon, the spotlight shifts to delivering on expectations – this is how we can and will get there through a regional team approach,” continues Kim Stephens.

“In each part, short presentations will provide context so that the discussion in the town-hall segments is informed. In the morning, the objective is to develop a common understanding about the insights gained from the Developers Dialogue; and how those insights are shaping a regional approach to Sustainable Service Delivery.”

“This common understanding will set the scene for the afternoon session. Then, the regional team will introduce the first iteration of a Comox Valley Development Application Checklist to further stimulate dialogue with the development community,” concludes Kim Stephens.

To see how the day is structured, click on 2011 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series – Seminar #1 Agenda. In the weeks to come, the Comox Valley Regional Team will be releasing articles that elaborate on each item in the agenda.


To Learn More:

Click on Comox Valley Developers Dialogue provides bridge to 2011 Learning Lunch Series — If local governments and the development community do things right at the front-end, the end result will be a lot better, and everyone will wind up saving time and money. (Derek Richmond)

Click on Comox Valley Local Governments Showcase a Regional Response to Tackling the ‘Infrastructure Liability’ — A  convergence of interests has created an opportunity for the four local governments to set their sights on the common good, and align efforts at a watershed scale. (Glenn Westendorp)

Click on Sustainable Service Delivery: Comox Valley Local Governments Release Program Details for 2011 Learning Lunch Series — Water sustainability is more likely to be achieved when land use planning and climate change adaptation are integrated with infrastructure asset management (Judith Walker).

Click on Integrated Rainwater Management: Move to a Levels-of-Service Approach to Sustainable Drainage Infrastructure — Establish the level that is sustainable and then determine how to achieve that level. (Wally Wells)

To download a PDF of the image below, click on the 2011 program at a glance.