January 19, 2016 by On-Site Magazine
The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card released today, demonstrates the urgent need for sustained strategic infrastructure investment across Canadian municipalities, according to the Canadian Construction Association.
The 2016 report card found almost 60 per cent of Canada’s core public infrastructure, including bridges, roads, transit lines and water infrastructure, is owned and maintained by municipal governments and that one-third of that municipal infrastructure is in fair, poor or very poor condition.
The report card assesses the state of municipal roads and bridges, public transit, buildings, sport and recreation facilities, storm water, wastewater and potable water infrastructure. It shows current reinvestment levels are not meeting our infrastructure needs, and continuing down this path will result in a gradual decline of physical condition levels that will impact municipal services and increase repair costs in the future.
“Canada’s aging infrastructure is in need of considerable reinvestment,” said Michael Atkinson, CCA president. “While it’s important to invest in a new addition to your house if you need the space, you can’t do it and neglect the leaky roof on the existing home. In the end, you need to do both to ensure the value of the home is retained.”
The time is now for all levels of government to play a role in supporting municipal infrastructure and in responding to new needs such as population and economic growth, climate change and extreme weather, and new regulations like the federal wastewater standards. There is also an urgent need to invest in and renew local infrastructure. CCA believes governments have to take action to address the lagging rate of investment in rehabilitation and maintenance to ensure that existing assets continue to meet the needs of Canadians.
The report card is the continuation of a collaboration struck in 2012 between the CCA, the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA), the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The 2016 edition also received support from the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) as well as the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Committee. The information used in the study was collected using a voluntary survey distributed to the nearly 2,000 municipalities across Canada.
Report Card Excerpt
Increasing reinvestment rates will stop the deterioration of municipal infrastructure. The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card found that rates of reinvestment are lower than targets recommended by asset management practitioners. The rate can vary based on factors such as the age of the infrastructure, the level of service and risk tolerance. The values provided are based on the experience of municipal asset management practitioners and are intended to be informative in nature. Roads and sidewalks, storm water, and sport and recreation infrastructure presented the largest gaps in terms of current and target rates of reinvestment, with water systems-related facilities not far behind.
CCA and partner organizations involved in the development of the report card are making the results available publicly so that it may inform ongoing work for decision makers at all levels of government and industry. CCA is pleased with the major infrastructure commitments made by the new Liberal government and looks forward to federal infrastructure investment in municipal public infrastructure in communities across the country.