Of what value are natural assets in Kamloops?

Kenna Cartwright Park, Peterson Creek Park and the Thompson rivers are considered among the city’s natural assets, but placing finite values on nature is complex

Should the city set aside money for Kenna Cartwright Park, in case of a fire? As the city strategizes long-term maintenance and replacement of its infrastructure — such as street lights, underground pipes or the Tournament Capital Centre, for example — natural assets are not part of the equation, at least not yet.

Kamloops council received an update on asset management as budget meetings began Tuesday at city hall.

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A new policy is likely to hit council chambers before the end of the year, but council got a taste of a new online tool which, based on installation dates and anticipated life expectancies, predicts infrastructure maintenance and replacement timelines and cost.

For example, 56 per cent of the city’s water lines (356,000 metres) will likely need to be replaced in the next 30 years, at an estimated cost of $126.5 million, according to the city’s online geographic information system tool.

That cost is a rough estimate and could change depending on the state of water lines in the future, while funding could also come from grants from upper levels of government.

Coun. Arjun Singh said the information will help guide decision-making and improve transparency.

“I think it’s a massive thing for us,” he said.

As the city assesses infrastructure, Coun. Sadie Hunter wondered if it is going far enough. She wants natural assets included.

Kenna Cartwright Park, Peterson Creek Park and the Thompson rivers are considered among the city’s natural assets. Staff explained that placing finite values on nature is complex.

“We don’t know what the value of a riverbank is,” city corporate services director Kathy Humphrey said.

“We didn’t buy it, we didn’t create it, we don’t have any historical cost of it, to start with. In terms of the methodology and the strategy that we’re applying with the things that we built, it is completely different than ensuring that we maintain and enhance the natural resources.”

Singh, however, argued the two plans should work in tandem, with a guide available from the National Management Association on how to do so.

“I don’t know why we’re siloing it in our conversation here,” Singh said.

“If you’re having an aquifer or a watercourse too close to a town and you have pipes, they should be on equal footing down the road.”

Council heard staff will consider ways in which to manage its natural assets at a later date, perhaps with a different plan. The update was supported by council. The city is pursuing asset management planning in order to improve future financial predictability.

© Kamloops This Week



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