An investment of close to $1-million will improve three city streets, drainage and reduce the number of combined sewer systems that still exist in Selkirk. Dan McDermid, Director of Operations, said portions of McLean, Sophia and Pacific were selected for resurfacing and land drainage improvements this summer, in accordance with the city’s Capital Asset Management Program (CAMP).
Capital Asset Management is an innovative practice that allows municipalities to better catalogue, track and manage their assets. Using predictive modelling techniques, long-range maintenance planning, paired with long-term financial planning tools, capital asset management will allow Selkirk to get the most out of its infrastructure, extending its service life and helping to make better, more cost effective construction and renovation decisions.
Robust Asset Data
City management completed Phase 1 of its CAMP in 2016 and it confirmed what they already knew – the city’s infrastructure was aging and much of it was reaching the end of its useful life. Duane Nicol, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, said that using the robust asset data the city now has in one database will move investment decisions beyond common human biases.
“Without these tools investment decisions can get made by crazy things like which streets Councillors or staff drive on most, or have most exposure to,” Mr. Nicol said. “These tools also help us get beyond simply being reactionary; that is to say, waiting until the asset fails before we rehab or repair it, A ‘worst-is-first’ strategy for asset management is, counter-intuitively, not the most cost-effective strategy. Yet without a strong asset management system, that’s the trap into which that most municipalities fall.”
McDermid agreed and added that the city’s CAMP will help stage and time projects for maximum cost effectiveness as well.
“For example, this year we knew that we had some combined sewer systems on streets that needed resurfacing. So we moved up the sewer separation work planned for those blocks to take advantage of the fact that we were removing the old pavement. In the long run, better project planning and staging will save the city millions, which we can put towards doing more work,” he said.
Both McLean and Pacific were on a combined sewer system, meaning rain water and waste water use the same pipe. Both have now been separated. McDermid said the city has been working to eliminate combined sewers to reduce basement backups and prevent potential overflows of combined sewer effluent being dumped into the Red River.
“A separated system is better because then you don’t have the basement backups that can happen when there’s heavy rains,” he said.
Mayor Larry Johannson said CAMP has positioned the city to make smarter infrastructure investments, meaning money is being spent in the most effective way, which is to everyone’s benefit.
“This council is committed to improving the condition of critical infrastructure every year, and our program allows us to do it in a way that provides the best return on investment we can. We’re directing dollars to our reserves to be able to pay for this work, and now, a few years in, we can really see it paying off,” Mayor Johannson said. “It’s a great team effort to accomplish this. Council is in full support of our directors and our administrative team, who are responsible for all this good work. It’s really a job well done.”
McLean Avenue was resurfaced from Main to Eveline Street at a cost of $250,000 and also had land drainage sewer upgrades, which cost $170,000. Pacific Avenue resurfacing between Jemima and Sophia Street cost $200,000 and combined sewer separation cost $65,500. Sophia Street resurfacing between Superior and Queen Avenue had a price tag of $300,000. All projects were paid for from reserve funds with grant support from the Province of Manitoba.
CAMP and this year’s projects, aligns with the city’s strategic planning in numerous ways, including having adequate funding for all city owned assets, investing in core infrastructure and ensuring a safe transportation network.