District of Highlands faces challenges in funding

Asset management report goes to open house this Wednesday

The District of Highlands is seeking feedback from residents as it prepares for some potential financial challenges on the horizon.

The District is set to bring its proposed strategy on asset management to residents at an open house slated for next Wednesday, Jan. 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Highlands Community Hall, 729 Finlayson Arm Rd.

The strategy has been prepared by the Brentwood Bay Advisory Group, and council is inviting comments and feedback to help guide them into what, according to the report, may be a challenging future.

But it’s a complicated subject and one many residents may not be familiar with.

In plain language, asset management takes into account all of the capital and natural assets of the community and attempts to lay out a plan to maintain those assets into the future.

Assets include, for example, land, groundwater aquifers, roads, bridges, facilities, parks, and vehicles. The plan for maintaining those assets are dictated by the resources available through taxation, government grants and other revenue sources available to the municipality.

The 62-page report also contains supporting documentation in the form of budgets, departmental reports and other materials related to infrastructure.

“Monitoring our natural assets and taking care of our infrastructure are required to maintain service to the community without compromising the ability of future generations of Highlands residents to meet their own needs,” said District CAO Loranne Hilton in a statement.

“Building on our groundwater studies of the Wark-Colquitz aquifer and the fire department’s successful tanker shuttle accreditation project, the District will focus on long range plans to keep buildings, roads, bridges and the natural environment protected. The approach used for this work is based on the Asset Management British Columbia framework that features four key elements: people, information, assets and finances.”

But the task is not without challenges.

For example, the report reveals that the District has a “B” letter grade for its infrastructure report card. That rating, overall, means that the situation is good, but notes that funding is needed.

However, within that rating roads are given a “C” and it’s noted that funding is needed to maintain and improve roadways in the District.

Another portion of the report notes the District currently commits $352,000 in property tax supported funding per year for asset reinvestment. That amount translates to the equivalent of $21 on general property taxes and $336 in fire specified area property taxes from the average homeowner in 2017.

But that amount is a little more than just 50 per cent of the average annual replacement needs. The report notes a gradual approach to increasing the capital investment amount to needed levels will take time to achieve.

And while Hilton did not say that meeting infrastructure needs would necessarily lead to increased property taxes in the District, citing other funding sources from the provincial and federal governments as potential sources, she did acknowledge that taxes are always a potential part of the funding package.

“This report does a good job of laying out the current situation and the needed actions to address our challenges,” she said.

“Building resiliency in these times of ever quickening climatic transitions and urban pressures is a strategic priority for Highlanders.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Surprise coming to elderly Esquimalt woman who had $1,100 stolen from purse

Man had bumped into her while she was shopping, next thing she knew, the money was gone

VIATEC’s 2018 “Startup of the Year” heads to Vegas for global spotlight

Victoria-based boat security company Barnacle Systems set for Consumer Electronics Show

Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Man climbed railing of the Johnson Street Bridge, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Mommy’s Inside Voice: Santa is real

The holidays are a truly magical time of year

Musicians, community programmers wanted for summer concerts and events

City of Victoria adding to roster of pre-qualified, local musicians to perform June to September

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Most Read