All Ontario Municipalities must have an Asset Management Policy in place by July 1, 2019 and an Asset Management Plan for core municipal infrastructure assets by July 1, 2021 and for all assets by July 1, 2023. Cobourg has had a basic Asset Management Plan for some time (using GIS) but it does not yet have a “policy” – this would spell out which assets are included, when to use it, how it aligns with financial planning, who is responsible for it and how residents can provide input to it. At Council’s next Committee of the Whole meeting, Melanie Chatten, G.I.S. Coordinator of the Town of Cobourg, will provide an update on progress in improving the plan. Previously, Cobourg’s Asset Management plan using the Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) only considered the depreciation of the asset’s value.
Now, Provincial Regulations specify an Asset Management Plan that considers current condition, critical risk factors, expected life, optimum intervention strategies to maintain service levels and cost effectiveness, regulatory requirements and financing availability. That is, not just list the assets and where they are (as done by a basic GIS) but make sure they are managed scientifically and efficiently. In 2017, the Town hired Esri Canada to help with this.
135 km of roads
118 km of sidewalks
104 km of sanitary sewer
100 km of storm sewer
135 km of water network
In Cobourg’s GIS, these systems total about 18,000 records.
Based on attributes that vary by the type of asset (e.g. condition assessments and/or age) and with algorithms that vary with asset type, dates when assets need maintenance or replacement can now be scientifically calculated. For example, initial results show that Albert Street from Third Street to Ontario Street needs rebuilding now (estimated cost $1.5M) and William Street from Five Corners to University should be replaced inside 20 years. Similar calculations can be applied (and have been) to sanitary and storm sewers and water supply pipes. (Download Full Asset Management Plan Presentation below).
Also, taking the projections overall, budget planning is more scientific – evidence based if you will.
The whole process takes into account risk as well – that is, the importance of an asset varies. For example, roads near the Hospital are more important than residential roads and some storm sewers are nearing or over-capacity.
It seems like a much more pro-active approach to maintenance of assets so it would be worth doing. The inclusion of “condition assessment” as an input would seem to allow a degree of common sense to be applied.
Let’s still refrain from “fixing it if it ain’t broken” and conversely, don’t hold off if repairs are obviously needed.