VIEW WALLY WELLS ON YOUTUBE: “Infrastructure assets only exist to provide a service to the public. Once you have decided to offer the service – define its quality and manage community expectations for the level-of-service,” stated Wally Wells when he explained ‘sustainable service delivery’ at the Worth Every Penny Workshop on conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)
Note to Reader:
Held in September 2010, the Nanaimo Region Water Pricing Workshop was described as the first of its kind in Canada. Part of the rollout to stimulate a national dialogue on sustainable water management, the workshop program was a unique blend of research and practice. Also known as the Worth Every Penny Workshop, the program connected the dots between three initiatives:
- Action for Water, implemented by the Regional District of Nanaimo following approval in a referendum in November 2008.
- Worth Every Penny: A Primer on Conservation-Oriented Water Pricing,released in May 2010.
- Beyond the Guidebook 2010: Implementing a New Culture for Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in British Columbia, released in June 2010.
The workshop faculty included Glen Brown of the Ministry of Community Development, with a presentation on asset management for sustainable service delivery. At the last minute, his presentation was delivered by Wally Wells, Executive Director of Asset Management BC, because Glen took ill the night before the workshop.
Connecting the Dots with an Asset Management Approach
“The presentation by Glen Brown (in absentia) and Wally Wells connected the dots between financial accountability. infrastructure sustainability and service delivery. Wally elaborated on a set of five principles that provide a mind-map for asset management. The desired outcome for this part of the program was that workshop participants would understand why an over-arching goal is to deliver a cost-effective service AND sustain the water resource,” summarized John Finnie.
Beware of Service Creep!
“We have had a lot of discussion in integrated asset management around level-of-service. There are some five ways to define level-of-service in the local government setting. One in particular is a policy issue for elected Councils – that is, what level-of-service is a Council prepared to have constituents pay for,” stated Wally Wells.
“Beware of service creep. My experience is that where politicians don’t understand level-of-service, and constituents complain to them about what the level-of-service should be, the next thing you know politicians are pushing staff for an increase in the level-of-service. It is very difficult to decrease service once a level is established.”
To Learn More:
For details of the actual program, click on Draft Agenda for Nanaimo Water Pricing Workshop
Download Financial Accountability, Infrastructure Sustainability, Service Delivery: Connecting the Dots with an Asset Management Approach (3MB PDF), the set of PowerPoint slides that guided the presentation by Mike Donnelly.
Watch the video on YouTube of Wally Wells delivering Glen Brown’s presentation. Follow along with the PowerPoint slides.