Headline News

Orangeville council takes stock of ‘tsunami of asset depletion’

July 11, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By JAMES MATTHEWS

Effective asset management is investing in the right municipal infrastructure at the correct time.

And Orangeville has taken another step toward more sound evidence-based decision-making for annual operations and long-term capital investments by way of its Asset Management Plan. The town has had a plan for core infrastructure assets since July 2022.

Council adopted the municipality’s 2024 Asset Management Plan for Non-Core Infrastructure Assets during its July 8 meeting.

In many parts of Ontario, existing infrastructure is degrading faster than it is being repaired or replaced, putting services at risk. To help address this issue, the province implemented the Asset Management Planning for Municipal Infrastructure Regulation.

The goal is to help improve the way municipalities plan for their future infrastructure and it builds on the progress municipalities have made.

Such plans bring consistency and standardization to asset management plans to help spread best practices throughout the sector and enable the collection of comparable data.

“It is a continuous improvement process over time,” said Thomas Uda, engagement manager at SLBC Advisory Group, the consultants hired by the town.

The non-core assets include parks, facilities, fleet vehicles, information technology resources, library services, traffic, and fire and transit services.

Another management plan will be due in 2025 that will cover levels of service, he said.

“The context today is current levels of service and how much money is needed to maintain our current service level,” Uda said. “Next year is when the town is required, per the regulation, to talk about your proposed targets for your service levels.

“Whether they’re better service levels or worse, depending on money that you have available and what’s appropriate for the town.”

Uda said asset management is a continuous improvement process.

As much as 64 per cent of assets are classed between fair and good and continued investment is needed to maintain that service level. The estimated funding gap for existing assets is almost $3 million per year for state of good repair in non-core assets.

As non-core assets continue to age and community demands increase, the town is challenged to ensure the needs of the community continue to be effectively met with the limited resources available.

According to a report to council, the financial strategy section of this asset management plan compares the budgeted annual funding available to the forecasted needs, to provide an estimated infrastructure funding gap for capital renewal and recommends options for managing this going forward.

For growth and upgrade needs, there is an estimated gap of $11.4 million, mainly due to the proposed Alder library branch expansion which is currently unfunded.

For renewal of existing assets, the total renewal funding available over the next 10 years is $33.2 million, or $3.3 million averaged annually.

This results in an estimated funding gap of $26.7 million ($2.7 million per year) compared to the estimated $59.9 million ($6 million per year) renewal need. It indicates that the portfolio for these assets is about 55 per cent funded based on currently available data.

Councillor Joe Andrews said the report was a “robust” read.

“This particular piece is a reflection of this council because of previous councils, going back a number of years, where this kind of asset management was not done,” he said. “This planning was not done.”

He dubbed the infrastructure deterioration to be a “tsunami of asset depletion.”

“We’re at a crossroads and we’re not the only municipality in the province of Ontario, let alone in this country,” Andrews said. “This particular plan provides us with clarity on what we need to do.”

Heather Savage, the town’s community services general manager, said council needs to revisit what is known today about non-core asset needs and figure out what’s likely for the next decade.

“Council then approves those recommendations and then that’s when it will help to inform our non-core assets moving forward,” she said. “The more information we gather, the more conversations we have.”


Readers Comments (0)





Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.