In November, GIO and Clean Air Partnership hosted a Green Infrastructure Asset Management Workshop in Toronto, bringing together a variety of professionals from across southern Ontario to address the topic. The goals of the workshop were to share information featuring four guest speakers and to provide input that will help GIO build a roadmap to advance green infrastructure asset management in Ontario.
What is green infrastructure asset management (GIAM)? In a nutshell, asset management is a system used to account for assets (such as roads, sewer systems, water processing plants, buildings, etc), which includes accounting for associated values of the asset such as current value, operational costs and maintenance costs. GIAM is the extension (and tailoring if necessary) of this system to include green infrastructure like trees, forests, bioswales, green roofs, etc.
At the workshop, Roop Lutchman of GHD provided an overview of general asset management concepts and highlighted some of the key considerations for incorporating green infrastructure assets in to these frameworks. From the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB), Martha Jones Denning discussed how the Canadian accounting standards for public sector entities currently do not permit inclusion of “inherited natural resources” (e.g. trees that have not been purchased) as tangible capital assets. But indicated that there is an interest from PSAB in investigating innovative ways of potentially incorporating green infrastructure into their standards.
Donna Chiarelli spoke on behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) encouraging municipalities to pursue further investigation on GIAM and that FCM may be able to provide some support on this endeavor. Finally, Emanual Machado, Town of Gibsons and Michelle Molnar, David Suzuki Foundation shared information about the Town of Gibsons Eco-Asset Strategy (a must-read for all of those interested in GIAM).
Attendees then spent some time brainstorming and providing feedback to GIO which will help inform the creation of a roadmap to GIAM. Stay tuned for the publication of the roadmap this winter.