By Emily Jaycox
Pipestone Flyer Contributor
In October, the City of Wetaskiwin began a two-year program through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to update its asset management strategy with a focus on climate change and sustainability.
The program includes $50,000 in funding and peer-learning, and training through the FCM’s Climate and Asset Management Network (CAMN).
“This grant will help ensure that corporate and infrastructure assets are maintained in an efficient and sustainable manner that meets the present and future growth of the city,” Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam said in a press release.
The city applied for the program because building a sustainable, energy-efficient community fits into its mandate.
“It’s one of council’s main goals,” said Lisa Novotny, manager of the city’s engineering and development department.
Part of the city’s strategic business plan reads “Wetaskiwin is a sustainable community that responsibly manages its infrastructure, finances and environment,” she said.
Since the city has a commitment to following environmental best practices, and it was looking to revamp the asset management plan already, “It seemed like a great fit with what we’re looking to do,” said Novotny.
The program helps Canadian municipalities integrate green practices into decision-making about infrastructure including buildings, roads and sanitation systems.
Some examples of environmentally-friendly practices that may be explored include solar power, LED lighting, tree canopies and electric cars, said Novotny.
The program includes two required training sessions, held in either Windsor or Ottawa, and monthly webinars on different topics.
Novotny, Sue Howard, director of engineering and development, and Mandy Dunn, finance department accountant, will be participating in the training. The next session is in May, 2018.
The first phase of this program is about developing an asset management plan with sustainability and climate change in mind.
“At this point it’s just getting that policy completed with that [climate] adaptation component,” said Novotny.
Part of the $50,000 will be used for travelling costs to the required training sessions. Other possible costs of developing the new strategy are software, print materials and other administration costs.
The goal is to have a new draft of the asset management plan ready to propose to council by fall 2018, said Novotny.
The network includes 18 municipalities across Canada. The only other Albertan participant in the program is the County of Grande Prairie.
After completion of Phase I, the city has the option of applying for Phase II, which is more in-depth, includes more on adapting infrastructure to increasing weather events, and comes with additional funding.