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Glen Brown

    ASSET MANAGEMENT IN THE COWICHAN VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT: “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


    The Strategic Asset Management Plan includes activities that will further enhance the resiliency of the CVRD’s infrastructure and the efficiency of service delivery. One of these priorities is the defining of key business processes and workflows, and the implementation of an AM software system. The benefits of clearly defined processes and workflows becomes abundantly clear when staff are not able to interact face-to-face on a daily basis,” stated Austin Tokarek.

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    CONVENING FOR ACTION ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: 2010 was a ‘watershed year’ for the Water Sustainability Action Plan, with outreach taking place at events in three regional districts to provide peer-based learning for Living Water Smart, Building Greener Communities, and Adapting to a Changing Climate in British Columbia


    “The Partnership’s outreach spotlight in 2010 was on the rollout of the second in the Beyond the Guidebook series of guidance documents for rainwater management and restoration of hydrologic function in urban watersheds. ‘Beyond the Guidebook 2010’ describes how a ‘convening for action’ culture has taken root in BC. Bringing together local government practitioners in neutral forums has enabled implementers to collaborate as regional teams. How to do it examples help decision-makers visualize what ‘design with nature’ policy goals look like on the ground,” stated Kim Stephens.

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    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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