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


Just Posted

Colwood tree bylaw causing problems

Arborist says bylaw unreasonable, puts homeowners at risk

Pellets shot at window of B.C. Transit bus

Bus was travelling near Craigflower and Admirals roads Wednesday morning when window was hit

Find out what the future holds for the West Shore

Chamber of commerce hosts annual Vision West Shore in February

Smell of pot plants sparks social media debate

A noticeable smell on Sooke Road has caught the attention of residents

Horgan indicates Highway 14 improvements coming soon

Premier says looming announcement part of much more coming for south coast connector

Victoria’s Our Place in desperate need of clothing donations

Downtown service provider feeling pinch from less frequent community clothing drives

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film Chesapeake Shores in the spring

Bank of Canada hikes interest rate to 1.25%, cites strong economic data

The rate increase is expected to prompt Canada’s large banks to raise their prime lending rates

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

The rival Koreas took major steps toward reducing their bitter animosity

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announces engagement

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Hijab-cutting case highlights ethical issues with putting kids in spotlight

A Toronto police investigation has concluded a girl’s hijab was not cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school

Change in politics, society on sexual misconduct ‘not fast enough,’ says Trudeau

Trudeau says society still lagging behind the systemic changes he is trying to make when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual harassment

Most Read