Seven towns along Newfoundland’s west coast banded together to meet a shared challenge: ensuring that community infrastructure continues to deliver essential services such as clean drinking water and waste disposal. The towns are all small—fewer than 1,000 residents each—and have limited financial resources.

The roots of the collaboration lie in the Town of Woody Point’s decision to seek assistance from a St. John’s firm. They quickly recognized that Woody Point couldn’t afford to plan effectively on its own to maintain its infrastructure, although partnering with nearby towns might lead to success. With funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) and leadership from the Atlantic Infrastructure Management (AIM) Network, the partnership produced solid results.

Photograph of a snow-covered river and mountains near Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal-Brook, NL, with blue skies, and trees in the foreground.  In the bottom, left-hand corner of the photograph, there is a small community of residential houses.
Snow-covered river and mountains near Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal-Brook, NL. Photo credit: Town of Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook, NL.

“Like many small communities, the seven towns didn’t have a clear understanding of their infrastructure and its condition,” says Daisy Foster, Managing Director of AIM, a community of practice. “And individually, they don’t have the capacity to do the research and analysis needed to deliver municipal services sustainably over the long term.”

“About 50 percent of our residents are senior citizens and most of them are on fixed incomes, so we have little room to raise taxes,” says Myrna Goosney, the lone employee of Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook (GBS), another partner in the initiative. The other five are Cow Head, Norris Point, Rocky Harbour, St. Pauls and Trout River. Like other communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, these towns also benefitted from ongoing support and advocacy from their provincial municipal association, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL), to advance their asset management practices.

To save on costs, AIM hosted a single training session for councillors and staff of all seven towns, and shared its customized open-source software. The software supports effective planning by linking services to the condition, expected life cycles and replacement costs of assets, along with other relevant information, such as budgets and land-use policies. All seven towns now have complete inventories of community assets, including general information about their condition and projected life cycles.

“GBS is now better able to prioritize investments in community assets,” says Myrna Goosney. The town plans to complete a new community centre, and to replace an aging breakwater to protect against rising sea levels.

Four of the communities continue to collaborate on the next step: long-term asset management plans.

“This type of collaboration maximizes the impact and reach of MAMP funding,” says Daisy Foster.

Participant organization details

  • Atlantic Infrastructure Management (AIM) Network: 
  • Town of Woody Point, NL
    • Population: 281
    • Project duration: 10 month
    • Grant amount: 10,400.00
  • Town of Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook, NL
    • Population: 258
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 10,000.00
  • Town of Cow Head, NL
    • Population: 475
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 16,000.00
  • Town of Norris Point, NL
    • Population: 685
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 22,800.00
  • Town of Rocky Harbour NL,
    • Population: 979
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 32,000.00
  • Town of St. Paul's, NL
    • Population: 258
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 10,000.00
  • Town of Trout River, NL
    • Population: 576
    • Project duration: 10 months
    • Grant amount: 19,600.00
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