For several years, the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) has actively supported increased investment in public infrastructure throughout Canada. CPWA members have been key partners in the National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure Project: Innovations and Best Practices ("The Guide"), a four-year national project as described below. A 20-member Project Steering Committee governs the Guide Project, and CPWA members are well represented. The Steering Committee is chaired by Dwayne Kalynchuk, General Manager, Planning & Engineering, City of St. Albert, Alberta and APWA Board member. Other Steering Committee members of note include Wally Wells, CPWA President and partner in Dillon Consulting, Ltd. of Toronto; Ric Robertshaw, past president of CPWA and Director of Environmental Services, Halton Region, Ontario; Dave Rudberg, Director of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Bill Crowther, Director of Engineering Services, City of Toronto. (Membership of CPWA consists of all APWA members who reside in Canada.)
What is the National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure?
The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure: Innovations and Best Practices will provide municipalities across Canada with the best available solutions for addressing municipal infrastructure development issues (planning, design, construction, management, assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation). By identifying best practices, the Guide will encourage municipal practitioners to use innovative approaches in both their decision-making and actions related to sustainable infrastructure. With funding from the Infrastructure Canada Program, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the National Research Council (NRC) are implementing the project together with a community of participants and professional associations.
What is the scope of the Guide?
The Guide will have two interrelated parts:
A decision-making and investment planning tool will help municipalities use best practices to identify needs, set funding priorities, and select, develop and implement infrastructure projects. The tool will also illustrate the best ways to achieve a high return on investment, evaluate life cycle costs and support benchmarking. Ultimately, it will enable both technical staff and elected officials to manage their infrastructure assets more effectively.
A compendium of technical best practices will feature various sets of technical modules, offering information on the best available technologies and methods related to municipal infrastructure.
For the purposes of the Guide, best practices have been defined as state of the art methodologies and technologies for municipal infrastructure planning, design, construction, management, assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation that take into consideration local economic, environmental and social factors.
What specific issues will be given priority?
The Guide's scope is extensive. Therefore, issues will be addressed over time. Consulting firms are currently gathering information on existing practices in Canadian municipal governments through a series of 16 focused "scans." Technical Committees will assess the background data provided by the scans and recommend best practices in the areas of Decision-Making & Investment Planning, Environmental Protocols, Municipal Roads and Sidewalks, Potable Water, and Storm and Wastewater.
For the first round of best practices, Technical Committees have identified the issues listed below.
Decision-Making and Investment Planning Committee
What stage is the Guide at now?
The five Guide Technical Committees held their first meetings in late July and early August, 2001 to set priorities for developing best practices. Since the Guide seeks to build on existing knowledge and avoid duplication, workshops were held before each Committee meeting to obtain input from key public and private stakeholders, including the federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as national associations. Participants at these workshops shared their knowledge of current activities related to existing guidelines and best practices with their colleagues.
At the meetings, the Guide Technical Committees evaluated priority best practices in light of the following:
When will I see results from the first round of best practice priorities?
The first best practice modules are scheduled for release in spring 2002. They will be distributed electronically or by fax to a large number of stakeholders who will be asked for feedback. Following a review of the responses, the best practices will be finalized and available on the Guide website and in hard copy in early summer of 2002.
How will the Guide benefit me?
The modules will provide the most current information on best practices and address the differences between big and small towns, urban and rural municipalities, and northern and remote communities. By presenting best practices for all geographic and climatic conditions, the Guide will be useful to all Canadian municipalities. In addition, the Guide will include a major education and training component.
How do I get involved in the Guide project?
The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure already has a substantial roster of people who want to participate on either the technical committees or the working groups that support these committees. However, we are still looking for volunteers with expertise in specific areas, as well as people who can replace committee members during the rotation process. If you are interested, please check out our website (see below).
In addition, you can participate by providing comments on the draft Guide modules. Your input into this process will be key to the success of our work.
How can I get more information on the National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure?
Visit our website at www.infraguide.ca for a list of Guide committee members and Guide Regional Contacts or contact the Guide Directorate directly at our toll-free number: 1-866-330-3350.