Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sustainable Service Delivery Links Land Use Planning, Watershed Health AND "Infrastructure Liability”

The initial capital cost of infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost; the other 80% largely represents a future unfunded liability. This is a driver for local governments in the Comox Valley to change the way they plan, finance, implement and over time replace infrastructure. 

"We need to stop thinking about the Infrastructure Deficit as a funding problem. We need to see it as a Design Challenge,” writes Dr. Penny Burns, an internationally recognized economist who earlier this year participated in a program hosted by Asset Management BC. Penny Burns is acknowledged as the first person to write about Asset Management (in 1984).

“We need to stop thinking about infrastructure as a cost - and start thinking about how to ensure it is adding value. We need to stop thinking of ASSET Replacement and start thinking what FUNCTION OR SERVICE is really needed."

To learn more about what Penny Burns has to say, click on The Infrastructure Deficit (Liability) – Time for a Change? to read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website.

SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY: In British Columbia, the term Sustainable Service Delivery describes a new way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. The link between asset management and the protection of a community's natural resources is emerging as an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery.

Local governments can develop a truly integrated Asset Management Strategy that views the watershed and the strategy through an environmental lens. This outcome can be achieved through a front-end effort that connects with the community and gets the watershed vision right. To learn about how the four local governments in the Comox Valley are developing A Regional Response to 'Infrastructure Liability', click here.

News Release #2011-20
April 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Time to Shape Future Life-Cycle Costs is at the Infrastructure Planning 'Front-End'!

The Life Cycle Costing Tool for Community Infrastructure Planning was created by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation to allow a user to estimate the major costs of community development, and to compare alternative development scenarios.

“A good measure of the applicability of the Tool to a given project is whether or not alternatives can be conceived that would result in significantly different densities or infrastructure requirements, or make use of different green infrastructure alternatives,” writes Dr. Penny Burns in the February 2011 issue of her Strategic Asset Management newsletter. Based in Australia, Dr. Burns is an internationally recognized economist; and is acknowledged as the first person to write about asset management (in 1984).

“How many asset managers get involved in evaluating the life cycle costs of new planned developments? If we don’t get involved at this upfront stage, we have no opportunity to shape future life cycle costs.”

"Perhaps if new developments were only accepted when they could demonstrate that their life cycle costs would be covered by life cycle revenues or if the local community voted to subsidise the new development through increased rates, there would then be more encouragement to design sustainable developments?"

To learn more, click on Life Cycle Costing Tool for Community Infrastructure Planning to read an article posted on the Water Bucket website.

Comox Valley Regional Response to Infrastructure Liability: The initial capital cost of infrastructure is about 20% of the life-cycle cost; the other 80% largely represents a future unfunded liability. This is a driver for a change in the way local governments plan, finance, implement and over time replace infrastructure. Through the 2011 Learning Lunch Seminar Series, the four local governments in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island are collaborating to "get it right at the beginning". This can be achieved through a well-planned front-end that results in Sustainable Service Delivery

News Release #2011-19
April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shifting from Gray to Green in the Pacific Northwest: Primer on Stormwater Pollution released by Sightline Institute

Stormwater does not match the traditional image of pollution. There are no factory smokestacks belching waste. Yet polluted stormwater packs a punch. Runoff from streets and highways is the number one source for petroleum and other toxic chemicals that wash into the Pacific Northwest's rivers, lakes, and bays.

“There is an urgency to act. The Washington Department of Ecology is working on rules that will require more use of low-impact development, and final regulations should be completed by summer 2012,” writes Lisa Stiffler in Curbing Polluted Stormwater and Creating Communities. Released by the Sightline Institute in March 2011, the report is a new version of a popular Washington State primer on stormwater pollution.

"The report looks at the challenges communities face, as well as smart, efficient solutions used to clean up waterways. The report includes examples of strategies in use by local communities in BC, Oregon, and Washington to shift from gray to green."

Cities throughout the Pacific Northwest are taking on the stormwater pollution problem by creating natural drainage systems--part of a movement called "low-impact development," or LID, in the United States; and Green Infrastructure in British Columbia. By replicating nature's way of managing rainfall, cleaning up stormwater is both less expensive and more efficient than conventional sewer systems.

News Release #2011-18
April 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“ISMP Course Correction” will help Metro Vancouver municipalities fulfil regulatory commitments for rainwater management

In May 2010, the Metro Vancouver region adopted a comprehensive and holistic strategy for managing liquid discharges and rainwater resources. By 2014, for example, “municipalities will develop and implement integrated stormwater management plans (ISMPs) at the watershed scale that integrate with land use to manage rainwater runoff”.

"Local governments bear the entire financial burden to stabilize and restore watercourses impacted by increased rainwater runoff volume after land is developed or redeveloped to a higher density. The resulting unfunded ‘infrastructure liability’ is a driver for the ISMP Course Correction," states Kim Stephens, Executive Director for the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. He also chaired the Metro Vancouver Reference Panel

"At the 2011 Water Balance Model Partners Forum hosted by Metro Vancouver, we announced that we will be proceeeding with a professional development program that will help municipalities in Metro Vancouver and beyond implement the ISMP Course Correction. The experience and wisdom of local government champions who have developed precedent-setting watershed plans will provide the curriculum backbone for a 2-day course."

"The course on the ISMP Course Correction will guide participants through a 4-stage process for developing a balanced and holistic Rainwater Management Plan that is truly integrated. Participants will learn how they can draw on in-house resources, adapt the City of Surrey’s ISMP framework, apply the Bowker Creek approach (in the Capital Region) to watershed team-building, and embed the vision for a Watershed Landscape Restoration Strategy in land use planning processes."

"The need for a 'course correction' was identified by the Metro Vancouver Liquid Waste Management Reference Panel in our Final Report to the Metro Vancouver Board, released in July 2009. We were to the point with our recommendation: Re-focus Integrated RAINwater/Stormwater Management Plans on watershed targets and outcomes so that there are clear linkages with the land use planning and development approval process," concludes Kim Stephens.

To learn more, click on ISMP Course Correction” will help Metro Vancouver municipalities fulfil regulatory commitments and “achieve more with less” to read the complete story posted on the Water Bucket website; or click here to download a PDF version of the story.

News Release #2011-17
April 12, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits

Quantifying the economic value of green infrastructure's benefits is the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective rainwater management approach, according to a new report by the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers.

"When you do the math, the benefits of green infrastructure really add up," said Betsy Otto, Vice President for Conservation and Strategic Partnerships at American Rivers. "This guide will help communities decide where, when, and to what extent green infrastructure practices should be incorporated into their planning, development and redevelopment activities."

Green Infrastructure as a Centrepiece of the Urban World
In addition, click on Urban Leaders Showcase Green Infrastructure, Sustainability Connection at Philadelphia Conference --- In December 2010, green infrastructure leaders from around the United States gathered to discuss how agencies can dovetail each other's efforts within a city to maximize benefits for the public. "We needed this conference to share innovations and learn from each other's experience," said Howard Neukrug, Chair of the Urban Water Sustainability Council and Deputy of Sustainability for the Philadelphia Water Department.

Also click on A Guide to Green Choices: Ideas & Practical Advice for Land Use Decisions in Britsh Columbia Communities --- In 2008, the Province of British Columbia released the Guide to provide practical advice and ideas in making land use decisions. This Guide is expected to work in tandem with many other programs and projects already underway, including Living Water Smart and the BC Climate Action Plan.

News Release #2011-16
April 5, 2011