Awards for Excellence in Asset Management

The Community Excellence Awards recognize and celebrate UBCM members that exhibit excellence in meeting the purposes of local government and demonstrate successful pathways for others to follow. This week we highlight the “Asset Management” category and profile the City of Coquitlam (Winner) and the City of Grand Forks (Honourable Mention).

The Excellence in Asset Management category acknowledges UBCM members that develop comprehensive systems of asset management policies and practices that meet and/or exceed accepted established best practices, such as the International Infrastructure Management Manual, ISO 55000 or Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework.

The City of Coquitlam integrated various policies and programs into an overarching framework. Coquitlam’s project allows for more integrated and informed investment in the City’s infrastructure and capital assets, which are vital to the health, safety and quality of life of its residents.

By centralizing leadership of all asset types under one department (Finance & Technology), the framework ensures a consistent and holistic approach to asset management that limits duplication and administrative burden while providing decision makers with a balanced picture of asset funding needs.

The framework is informed by continually improving asset information systems and optimization software, and their inventory and valuation system is Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) 3150 Tangible Assets Accounting Regulation compliant. This allows for enhanced and informed decision-making capability around timing and cost of asset replacement.  

Boasting a 95% taxpayer satisfaction rate and 86% value-for-taxes rating when it comes to service delivery (both above provincial and regional averages), the success of Coquitlam’s asset management program is demonstrated by the City’s track record of sound financial stewardship and taxpayer confidence.

Through internal collaboration and partnership, as well as enshrined asset management practices in the City’s financial policies, Coquitlam has developed a comprehensive process capable of limiting yearly budgetary fluctuations and ensuring quality service delivery for years to come.

The City of Grand Forks received an Honourable Mention for its use of the Service Sustainability Assessment Tool (SSAT). The SSAT is an innovative tool built in Excel to help local governments identify services that may become unsustainable, develop plans to improve service sustainability, and effectively communicate these findings to decision makers and the public.

It assesses service sustainability in eight core service areas: wastewater, water, drainage and flood protection, transportation, fire protection, parks and recreation, solid waste, and civic facilities.

While tools exist for assessing the overall sustainability of a community, these often leave gaps related to service sustainability in particular that can be costly and time consuming to fill. The SSAT takes an average of 15 minutes per service assessment – saving time and resources that can be dedicated to other community needs.

The project’s most significant achievement is making an exceedingly complex topic both accessible and communicable. In producing a final report that is comprehensible and engaging, the SSAT promotes open dialogue between local governments and community stakeholders.

The SSAT was tested and refined in partnership with the City of Rossland, Village of Salmo, and Districts of Clearwater, Squamish, and Central Saanich. It is designed to reflect common local government services while allowing for substantial personalization to fit the interests of diverse communities.

The SSAT, City of Grand Forks and developing partner Urban Systems Ltd. also received the Award of Merit in the soft engineering category from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (ACEC-BC) during the 2018 Awards for Engineering Excellence Gala. The tool will now be part of a travelling exhibit that showcases winners of the award in more than 15 venues across BC.

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