Thursday, 21 September 2017 06:51

City to apply for asset management funding from new federal program

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The City of Swift Current is working on a project to implement an asset management system and to quantify the infrastructure gap.


Councillors approved a motion at a regular council meeting on Sept. 11 to submit an application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for financial assistance from the Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) to complete the infrastructure gap assessment process.
The MAMP is a new $50 million funding initiative by the federal government that is administered through the FCM. The intention of the program is to provide municipalities with financial assistance to develop asset management practices, which will help local authorities to make informed decisions about infrastructure investment.
Kathy Hopfner, the City's general manager of corporate services, said the City has been working on an asset management program for a few years and the goal is to have it fully implemented within the next three years.
“Asset management assesses the condition of the asset,” she said. “So in the process of doing it, it will allow us to determine whether we should run to fail, so leave our assets until they require full replacement. Some will be able to be refurbished, like we’re doing with our bridges.”
The asset management process will be used to evaluate all the City's infrastructure, for example, underground services for sewer and water, the electrical infrastructure, roads and bridges, and various facilities such as the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex and the aquatic centre.
This information will assist the City with decision making on infrastructure investment, but an asset management system might also become a prerequisite for future grant applications.
“Although it’s not a requirement right now, it will be in the future,” Hopfner said. “So when municipalities apply for funding, like we did this 2nd Avenue bridge, the people who are approving the grants will know better that what we’re applying for is required to be refurbished or replaced.”
The City will be submitting an application to FCM for the maximum funding of $50,000 from the MAMP, which will only cover a portion of the total cost of the asset management project.
“It isn’t enough, but it is always helpful to have a little extra money to help fund some of our projects,” Hopfner said.
The funding will be used for the work that is being done by the City to quantify the infrastructure gap.
“It looks at our infrastructure and it tells us what it would cost to get the infrastructure up to new condition,” Hopfner said. “So basically the amount of money that we want to be putting into our assets annually.”
Information about the infrastructure gap will be useful to the City during the annual budget planning process.
“It will be helpful for budgeting because it will help administration to make recommendations to council in terms of why we wanting to rehab some of our assets or even fully replace them.” she said.

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Matthew Liebenberg

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