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asset management for sustainable service delivery

    EXPERIMENT IN COLLABORATION: Comox Valley was an early adopter when the region embraced the vision for Sustainable Service Delivery for infrastructure asset management


    “Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery is much more than just about the physical infrastructure. It is more than just about setting some money aside for infrastructure replacement. It must be a comprehensive and integrated approach that links the past, present and future.,” stated Geoff Garbutt, City of Manager, City of Courtenay. The Comox Valley was the first region to embrace the vision for Sustainable Service Delivery as a regional goal. This was in 2011, four years before the BC Framework was jointly released by UBCM and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

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    CONVENING FOR ACTION IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “Trust is the currency of collaborative work, which the climate and every other societal crisis requires,” stated Nancy Gothard, Manager of Community and Sustainability Planning with the City of Courtenay


    “There is a book called the speed of trust. The message really resonates with me. The reality now is we cannot keep up with the pace of work and there is a lot of tension in community planning work. Trusting the person on the other side of the call makes a world of difference to being in a productive frame of mind, to not be afraid to test new ideas, and feel comfortable enough to offer constructive criticism. We need this creativity and the safe spaces to explore it as we grapple with levels of complexity our brains have trouble processing,” stated Nancy Gothard.

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    Local governments invest in youth at Vancouver Island University as part of 3-year transition strategy to embed EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process


    “There are lots of partnerships that exist for selfish reasons. But the EAP Partnership is selfless; and from all angles. It is a leap of faith for member local governments. Partnership for Water Sustainability commitment to passing the baton is unwavering. Vancouver Island University is all-in because EAP is an idea that can change the game. And students are excited to contribute to the change. In a phrase, the framework for the EAP Partnership is foundational. It is also outcome-oriented,” stated Graham Sakaki.

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    ROAD MAP FOR STREAM SYSTEM INTEGRITY: The enduring legacy of Richard Horner and Chris May is that they applied systems thinking, investigated whole systems in place, identified four limiting factors, and definitively established their order-of-priority


    In the 1990s, Puget Sound research correlated land use changes with impacts on stream system condition. “Timing is everything. You learn that as you go through life. It was good timing because everyone was crying out, what is wrong and what can we do. In the 1990s, we were able to come up with some pretty good data and our conclusions are standing the test of time. Looking back, everything came together at the same time. Rich Horner and my work pointed out the problems. And the early green infrastructure work pointed to potential solutions,” stated Chis May.

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    Communities need annual budgets to tackle the Riparian Deficit along streams


    The requirement that local governments have an Asset Management Plan addresses the disconnect between land use oversight and direct responsibility for maintenance and management of stream corridor condition. “The oversight question is one that we are addressing with EAP. Local governments have real data to quantify the financial value of streams as physical assets. This metric allows them to put streams into the basket of local government asset management responsibilities,” stated Tim Pringle.

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    A NEW SEASON: Local government policy impacts ripple through time


    “My over-arching message to those elected in October 2022 is succinct: Get the water part right in a changing climate, and you will be amazed how other parts of the community resiliency puzzle then fall into place. A supporting message is this: Our land ethic has consequences for water. This means elected representatives need to understand why development practices disconnect the water balance pathways that power stream-ecology. They also need to understand why a water-first approach to green infrastructure can reconnect the two,” stated Kim Stephens.

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    YEAR IN REVIEW: Effective and affordable solutions for resilient community design


    “As each new generation inherits the world, vital knowledge is forgotten. Generational amnesia has profound effects on the way that we see the world. The challenge is to overcome generational amnesia so that communities learn from past experience, apply this knowledge, and achieve better policy and financial outcomes,” stated Kim Stephens. “The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection. People learn from stories. For this reason, our editorial emphasis is on sharing the ‘stories behind the stories’ of those who lead by example.”

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    GEORGIA BASIN INTER-REGIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE, A UNIQUE MECHANISM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION: “Growing a network based on shared aspirations, and delivering results across organizational boundaries differs in every way from building an organization in any conventional sense.” – Derek Richmond, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


    “We knew that intuitively but it helps when a ‘neutral’ party says that. For me, the biggest takeaway from our conversation concerns the ‘what, how and who’ as the current leadership of the Partnership looks ahead to pass the baton.. Using the Ambassadors Program as the example of WHAT; – this was the breakthrough to articulate our need for succession planning and sustainability of the network. The WHO now becomes obvious as the ambassadors themselves. The HOW is now clear too, by looking back at what we were successful with in the past,” stated Derek Richmond.

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    WATER SUSTAINABILITY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED: “We design and build our communities based on our relationship to water. Our neighbourhoods arise from this relationship,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Watershed Moments Symposia Series


    “Beginning in Nanaimo in 2018, the idea for what has now become the Watershed Moments Symposia Series, started as a modest idea to highlight the successes and challenges of water stewardship in the Nanaimo area. Our discussions led to an expanded common vocabulary. Sustainable Service Delivery, Eco-Assets and Eco-Asset Management, the Ecological Accounting Process, Riparian Deficit, and watershed stewardship are some of the words in our new common tongue. The rabid environmentalist, the cold-hearted accountant and the aloof engineer could come together and focus on a common goal – Water Balance,” stated Paul Chapman.

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    AFFORDABLE AND SUSTAINABLE RE-INVESTMENT IN MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE IS ESSENTIAL: “Too often, thinking stops after the capital investment is made. Yet everyone needs to be thinking in terms of life-cycle costs,” stated Glen Brown, Chair of Asset Management BC


    “The core document for asset management for BC local governments is Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework. The title is deliberate and important because the ‘function’ and responsibility of Municipal Councils and Regional Boards is Sustainable Service Delivery. The process to support decision making is Asset Management. While much attention and discussion focus on the Asset Management plan or plans, there is much more to the process than just the plan,” stated Glen Brown.

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