Smithers Mayor, Taylor Bachrach

The Town of Smithers will receive $50,000 through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Government of Canada to support a new sewer and storm assessment management plan.

“This is a wonderful grant that the Town of Smithers has received from the Federal Government.” says Mayor Taylor Bachrach, “This money will go towards an assessment management plan for our sewer and storm systems, which is starting to become more required by both the federal and provincial governments.”

So what is assessment management planning and why does it matter to the town of Smithers? Mayor Bachrach explains.

“Assessment management is a process in which you look at your infrastructure and figure out how much money it will take to maintain or replace that system. These types of plans are becoming more of the norm for communities across Canada, and it’s a good way to know if you’re keeping up or falling behind in terms of infrastructure maintenance.”

Is Smithers keeping up or falling behind? Well, Mayor Bachrach says it’s hard to tell at this point.

“In some areas, we’re probably doing better than others. Unless you have an assessment management plan in place, you never really know where you truly sit. Let’s take a look at paving for an example. Over the years we’ve invested more money into re-paving our streets and I think we are handling that situation nicely. Other areas such as water and storm sewers may be lacking, however, without an assessment management plan, those numbers are unseen.”

Mayor Bachrach says the next step in the plan is to hire a consultant.

“We will bring someone in who will account for all of our water and sewer infrastructure systems. From there, the consultant will create a complex spreadsheet to figure out how quickly infrastructure can break down over time. After that process is done, we can figure out a dollar value to determine how much money we should spend to either fix or replace the existing systems. It’s just like owning a house. You must invest to ensure there are no major breakdowns in the system.”

The Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) is FCM’s five-year, $50-million program designed to help Canadian municipalities make informed infrastructure investment decisions based on sound asset management practices.

More on the MAMP initiative can be found here.