PEI Helps Municipalities Manage Infrastructure Assets

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Prepared on behalf of TAC’s Small Municipalities Task Force, Alex Dalziel, Asset Management Coordinator for Prince Edward Island’s Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, discusses PEI’s asset management strategy.

The Federal Government has requested all municipalities to practice some form of asset management by 2018 to be eligible to receive federal funding. The Province of Prince Edward Island will be helping facilitate the process for municipalities to develop and implement asset management plans. Asset management helps municipalities maximize investments and get the most out of their infrastructure to prioritize spending based on their needs.

Prince Edward Island’s municipal landscape is challenging to navigate. Canada’s most densely populated province has 73 municipalities; two cities with populations of 35,000 and 15,000; 11 towns with an average population of approximately 2000, and 60 rural municipalities with an average population of less than 500.

Many municipalities tasked with the responsibility of providing services such as local roads, active transportation (AT) infrastructure, clean drinking water, and the treatment of wastewater, are implementing them with limited resources.

PEI’s Asset Management Strategy

PEI’s Asset Management Strategy was established in 2014, when the Province surveyed municipalities on asset management practices. Results indicated that several municipalities did not have a clear picture of what they actually owned and were responsible for, let alone what condition it was in.

Through collaboration with local engineering consultants and utilities staff, the Province developed survey forms for every category and subcategory of infrastructure assets, including transportation assets such as roads, sidewalks, and trails. Starting with trails, AT facilities, and water and waste water infrastructure, municipalities began collecting asset information, including:

  • date of installation,
  • material,
  • location,
  • estimated service life, and
  • estimated replacement cost.

This approach helped to streamline the process and yield consistent results. Easy to interpret, replicable municipal maps were also created, which are a major improvement compared to the data and information once stored in drawing racks, storage closets, and backup drives.

Completed surveys now serve as a starting point for the development of asset inventories and improved asset management. The Province has not yet initiated data collection on pavements, as a number of municipalities are transferring the management of local roads to the Province. Municipalities choosing to continue to manage their own local roads will be able to use the surveys to develop asset inventories and improve their management process.

In July 2017, the Province conducted a request for proposals for a low-cost asset management software, integrated with a geographic information system (GIS) and capable of storing and analyzing information from multiple municipalities. This solution is currently in the test phase with one municipality, with plans to offer it to the remaining municipalities in 2018.

For additional information, contact Alex Dalziel by phone at 902-620-3631 or by email.