Archive:

2020

FLASHBACK TO 2010: What was the genesis of the phrase ‘sustainable service delivery’ a decade ago? What was the process for mainstreaming the approach in British Columbia? How did it become an ‘actionable vision’ for local governments? As an outcome of the Worth Every Penny Workshop, Glen Brown synthesized three ideas into a single easy to remember phrase that became a game-changer!


The 20/80 Rule refers to the initial capital cost of municipal infrastructure being about 20% of the ultimate total cost, with the other 80% being an unfunded liability. “Tackling the unfunded infrastructure liability involves a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. This holistic approach is described as Sustainable Service Delivery. The link between infrastructure asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Glen Brown.

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VIEW JOHN FINNIE ON YOUTUBE: “Maintaining a balance between ‘Water Out’ and ‘Water In’ is essential because both sides of the equation are variable and the safety margin is decreasing with population growth and water consumption,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, when he opened the Worth Every Penny Workshop which dealt with conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)


“Conservation-oriented water pricing is more than just charging more for water to conserve water. It is a balance between charging enough for water so that it imparts a conservation ethic. It is about balancing user rate revenues with taxation revenues in order to ensure that water systems can be adequately maintained. It is also about having a pricing strategy that provides affordable water for basic household use. That said, water pricing is likely one of the most effective water conservation tools that we have when combined with metering,” stated John Finnie.

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VIEW OLIVER BRANDES & KIRK STINCHCOMBE ON YOUTUBE: “Water pricing is a hot issue in communities across the country. Yet it remains an almost totally untapped option for helping ensure our water service infrastructure — the pipes, pumps and reservoirs — is well maintained and up to date,” stated Kirk Stinchcombe during the Worth Every Penny Workshop which dealt with conservation-oriented water pricing (September 2010)


“If the price signal is correct, and therefore correct, the majority of people and organizations will change they way they value water and change their behaviour – when using water and when buying water-using technologies – because they recognize that efficiency and conservation will save them money, ” stated Kirk Stinchcombe. “When you are thinking about all the considerations that go into water pricing, keep in mind that setting the rate is the key factor. Does the price accurately inform consumers about the costs of their water use and provide a signal that is sufficient to affect their decision making?”

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VIEW MIKE DONNELLY ON YOUTUBE: “The RDN’s Action for Action illustrates the connection between conservation, providing for future growth and the ecological impacts of water consumption,” stated Mike Donnelly at the Worth Every Penny Workshop when he made the connection between water utility pricing and watershed protection (September 2010)


“We have established a provincial precedent by creating a drinking water and watershed protection service area with taxation authority in an electoral area. The Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program is being implemented over time to help improve our approach to land use. Program implementation includes water pricing. It is one tool. For this reason, we describe pricing as a ‘dropdown’ within the overall water management strategy. We put considerable effort into designing a ‘user pays’ rate structure that is fair and equitable,” stated Mike Donnelly.

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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)


“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. Beware of service creep. My experience is that where politicians don’t understand level-of-service, and constituents complain about the level-of-service, the next thing you know politicians are pushing for an increase in level-of-service. It is very difficult to decrease service once a level is established,” stated Wally Wells.

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FLASHBACK TO 2010: Water Sustainability -“Everything we have heard today fits in like a glove with what we are going to do with this next effort at the Vancouver Island Summit,” stated Eric Bonham in his closing remarks at the Nanaimo Region Water Pricing Workshop held in the City of Parksville, the venue for roll-out of the Worth Every Penny Primer on Conversation-Oriented Water Pricing, and the launch of a national dialogue


“It was Gandhi who said you must be the change that you wish to see in the world. That is the part that we must all play. We all bring our little bit of talent to the table, to look at Vancouver Island as a test case to show the world how we can collaborate and pull things together. Looking ahead to the Vancouver Island Summit, it is about inspiring action and leadership for water sustainability on the island. As we have heard time and time again, if we do not get the water part right, we are in trouble,” stated Eric Bonham.

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FINANCIAL VALUATION OF SHELLY CREEK ECOLOGICAL SERVICES IN THE CITY OF PARKSVILLE AND REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO: “We can now see how our ongoing investments, as stream stewards, not only can improve the worth of a creekshed’s biophysical functions, but also improve riparian land values as well,” stated Peter Law, President, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES)


“The members of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society have devoted over 10 years of time and energy towards restoring the health of Shelly Creek for salmon and trout. Our volunteers have contributed over $90,000 to the ‘maintenance’ of the creek and its’ fish populations. That is like spending $10,000 per year to support monitoring of water quality, flow gauges, riparian planting, downstream smolt trapping and of course, community engagement! We do it for free, because we can see this creek needs help,” stated Peter Law.

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COURTENAY’S ASSET MANAGEMENT BYLAW DECISION: “Once the City committed to ‘uprating’ our Policy to a Bylaw, it was critical to carefully draft the content so it would rest upon a solid legal foundation,” stated David Love, the City’s Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives


“We realized that our AM Policy was inadequate because it described practices and processes aligned with Operations rather than an exercise of Council’s statutory authority. 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. Therefore, it was critical to carefully draft the content so it would stay within Council’s authority, and be consistent with existing legislation and our own bylaws and policies,” explained David Love.

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COVID 19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE: Originally scheduled for April, the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium was initially postponed to October when British Columbians were asked by the Provincial Health Officer to go into self-isolation and comply with physical distancing requirements when in group settings


“The directive from British Columbia’s Chief Medical Health Officer is to cancel events where more than 50 people would be attending. The anticipated registration for Comox Valley 2020 (CV20202) was trending to about 200. In light of that directive, the CV2020) has been postponed until October. We are pleased to announce that the organizing team has secured venue dates at the Filberg Centre,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship Series, on March 16, 2020.

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WATER, PLACE & RECONCILIATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Our vision is to transform an eco-liability into an eco-asset in the heart of the K’ómoks Estuary,” states Caila Holbrook, Project Watershed’s Manager of Fundraising, Outreach and Mapping (Announcement #7 in March 2020 for the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium – which was postponed and then reimagined due to COVID 19 pandemic)


“Pre-1950 aerial photographs confirm that Kus-kus-sum was indeed a forested streamside area in the K’ómoks Estuary with side-channels connecting it to the adjacent Hollyhock Marsh,” stated Caila Holbrook. ”The restoration process will include removing built infrastructure from the site, removing fill, re-grading the topography of the area, planting native species and removing the steel wall. Nature will come back; it is already trying to – as trees and salt marsh plants are poking through the 1 foot deep rebar-reinforced concrete.”

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