A Disturbing Trend in Local Government

The resignations of over a dozen mayors and councillors in British Columbia over the past two years is “a disturbing trend,” according to a veteran of municipal politics. Source: CBC – “A Disturbing Trend” “Long hours, low pay and increased complexity cited” as the main reasons. In the decade that I’ve worked for local government, …

National Public Works Week

Public works is always there. Rain, hail, snow or shine, public works crews are dedicated to the job. They keep our cities and towns running so we can enjoy the essential services of the places we live and work. Since 1960, APWA has sponsored National Public Works Week. Across North America, our more than 29,000 …

Complexity and Obsolescence

“The chief cause of problems is solutions” – Eric Sevareid “Solutions are not the answer” – Richard Nixon “Solutions are not the answer” – Richard Nixon Click To Tweet In my role at the City of Revelstoke, I am confronted with years of amassed data, much of it in the City’s GIS system, but occasionally, …

Developing the Capital Planning Process

In my role at the City of Revelstoke, council has been working through the financial plan process, and this year I thought it might be useful to deliver the capital project information in a couple of ways that I hadn’t seen before. These ideas have been in my mind for a couple of years now, …

Financially Sustainable Water Utilities

In 2015 BC Water & Waste Association (BCWWA), with Urban Systems, completed an assessment of the financial sustainability of Water and Wastewater Utilities in British Columbia. The assessment uses 4 financial indicators based on data from the 2013 audited financial statements for municipal governments in BC. The indicators were selected based on a review of best …

Attracting and Retaining Municipal Engineers

As I read various small town articles around North America about municipal engineering, there is frequent news of municipalities that have just lost their city engineer and are looking for a replacement, or are trying to work out how to do without. Having been subject to the brunt of one municipality’s decision to reduce technical …

Infrastructure Inspections and Awareness

Or – Why Inspections are Fundamental to Asset Management Two engineering departments in the City of Honolulu have very different approaches to the same problem. The city does not have an inspection program for light poles, despite the fact that there are 51,000 street lights on the island. The city says it doesn’t have the …

Infrastructure, the Economy and Local Governments

Some of the greatest challenges that local governments face in Canada revolve around the concept of the “Infrastructure Deficit“. In Canada, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, (FCM) has a position statement on the infrastructure deficit: All governments – federal, provincial, territorial and municipal – must work together and with the private sector to make immediate infrastructure repairs …