Twelve of PEI’s 63 municipalities are leading the charge on asset management, and that’s good news for their local councils, who will be better equipped to make the best decisions about how to spend the limited infrastructure dollars that flow from the federal and provincial governments and their tax base.
Since the Fall of 2018, two cohorts of municipalities, one involving six of PEI’s larger communities and one involving six very small ones, have been participating in a peer learning program implemented by the Atlantic Infrastructure Management Network. Through a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Municipal Asset Management Program, which is funded by the Government of Canada, AIM Network has been delivering training and technical support to help them advance some of the fundamental components of asset management.
Each municipality has enabled multiple staff to take the time to participate fully. Through a series of four workshops, with homework in between, they have improved data collection and mapping of their asset inventories and developed a deeper understanding of the condition of their infrastructure and the risks to service delivery. This groundwork is supporting them in prioritizing their infrastructure investments and developing a financial plan for them over the longer term. AIM Network also built in a component on the fundamentals of good governance and policy that underpin sound infrastructure decisions, which is essential to ensure accountability and transparency of council decisions.
Bob Ashley is the CAO of the City of Summerside who participated in the program and from his perspective, asset management is too important for a CAO not to possess a firm grasp of the fundamentals. “The absorption of asset management as a corporate philosophy will involve big changes in thinking. CAO’s have a responsibility not only to set an example, but to lead the changes.”
Members of Summerside City Council also see the benefits. Deputy Mayor Norma McColeman said, “I learned it [managing infrastructure] is an important balancing act between needs and wants. Residents and elected officials need to clearly understand what programs and services the generated taxes allow for. When new assets are added into the mix, what planning, financing and debt load strategies have been considered to sustain the new, while maintaining the existing assets prudently.” Councillor Greg Campbell said “the training gave me better insight into the planning needs to always consider; I now have a better comfort level bringing information back to the residents I represent.”
|PEI Large Community Cohort||PEI Small Community Cohort|
|Charlottetown, Summerside, Three Rivers, Kensington, Stratford, Cornwall||Crapaud, Miscouche, Tyne Valley, North Rustico, Victoria, Wellington|
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