WaterBreaks Webinar - Incorporating natural capital in infrastructure management: Gibson's eco asset strategy

Join the BC Water & Waste Association (BCWWA) in learning more about natural capital valuation and hear how the Town of Gibsons has integrated natural capital assets, and the ecosystem services they provide, into the Town's infrastructure.

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Date: September 10, 2015
Time: 9:30 - 10:30am PST
Location: Online
Price: $45 member
$60 non-member

Membership is only $60-85 a year - obtain valuable professional benefits and save $15 on your event registration by purchasing a membership when you register.

 

Presentation Overview

Dreamstime forest streamNatural capital assets, such as green space, aquifers, foreshore area and creeks, can be as effective as engineered (or grey) infrastructure in water management. In some areas, they provide clear advantages over engineered infrastructure as they:

  • are cheaper to operate and maintain, if not degraded;
  • may provide "free" ecosystem services;
  • do not depreciate if properly managed; and
  • are carbon neutral or even carbon positive.

Gibsons is one the first Canadian municipalities to explore managing the natural capital in their community, using infrastructure and financial management concepts that are systematically applied to managing engineered assets. Their rationale is that the natural services provided by these systems, in the form of rainwater management, flood control and water purification, have tangible value to the community.

Bringing these natural assets into the same asset management system as engineered infrastructure recognizes the quantifiable value they provide to the community and integrates them into the municipal framework for operating budgets, maintenance and regular support.

After much discussion, financial auditors agreed to include the following note on the Town's financial statements:

"The Town is fortunate to have many natural assets that reduce the need for man-made infrastructure that would otherwise be required. This includes the Gibsons aquifer (water storage and filtration), creeks, ditches and wetlands (rain water management) and the foreshore area (natural seawall). Canadian public sector accounting standards do not allow for the valuation and recording of such assets into the financial statements of the Town. As such, these natural assets are not reported in these financial statements. Nevertheless, the Town acknowledges the importance of these assets and the need to manage them in conjunction with man-made infrastructure."

The hope is that these beginnings lead to a broader conversion in the municipal finance community, and ultimately the creation of an actual standard that communities can use for the valuation of their assets.

Special thanks to Metro Vancouver and its Stormwater Interagency Liaison Group (SILG) for their support in offering this presentation. 

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Who Should Attend

  • Utility and municipal/regional staff and managers.
  • Professionals in the fields of engineering, environment, planning, and finance.


Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn about:

  • the approaches that Gibsons has used to inform discussions about natural asset management in their own organizations and communities.
  • obstacles and outstanding challenges to implementing a natural asset management strategy.

A Q&A period following the presentation will encourage the exchange of ideas among attendees.


Guest Speaker

Dave Newman, AScT
Director of Engineering
Town of Gibsons

Speaker DaveNewmanHeadshotDave Newman is the Director of Engineering at the municipality of the Town of Gibsons on the British Columbia west coast. Included in his responsibilities is overseeing the management of the Town's assets. He first began to explore the concept of Natural Assets when the Gibsons Aquifer, which supplies water to most of the Town, was mapped between 2009 and 2013. Since that time, Dave has been involved with a team of staff in raising the awareness of the benefits and importance of managing natural assets in a similar manner as engineered assets.

 

Registration Information

Deadline: September 9, 2015 at 3:00pm PST
Online: Complete your registration online using a Visa or Mastercard.
Email, mail or fax: Complete our registration form and send it back to the BCWWA office.

 
Note:
Registrants will receive login details and event information by August 28, 2015. There are no call-in numbers for the webinars as attendees login via their computer to join the event. Ensure your computer has the option to view webcasts using built-in sound and/or speaker options. 

 



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