A focus on sound, evidence-based planning has helped the City of Selkirk reverse a decades-long decline and become something of a leader in municipal asset management. Located about 22 kilometres from Winnipeg, MB, and with a population of almost 11,000, Selkirk benefits from progressive-minded elected officials, supportive partners and a determined Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

“For municipalities, failing infrastructure is a clear and present danger,” says CAO Duane Nicol. “Without infrastructure, municipalities can’t deliver services. Asset management is really all about sustainable service delivery.”

Thrice elected to council, Duane Nicol is a Selkirk native and a long-time advocate of sustainable development. In 2014, he accepted the job of CAO in part because having a sustainability champion on staff would make it easier for Selkirk to adopt a more systematic approach to service and infrastructure planning.

“To make progress on asset management, a municipality needs three things: a highly engaged team, a supportive council and a commitment to continuous improvement,” he says. “The work we’ve done in recent years has put us on a much better course.”

In 2015, Selkirk began to collect data about its assets and the services they support. A year later, council ratified an asset management strategy that was later incorporated into a bylaw and policy framework. In 2018, funding support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) enabled Selkirk to establish key policies for core assets and service levels. The support also helped five municipal employees earn certificates in asset management planning.

This foundation enabled Selkirk to break ground in 2018 on a $39 million, state-of-the-art wastewater-treatment plant. Designed for efficiency and flexibility, the plant is readily expandable, and can be powered by a variety of energy sources, but does not use fossil fuels. The plant’s effluent will also exceed current regulatory standards by such a wide margin that it would likely meet future standards without costly retrofits. During the October 2018 meetings of MAMP’s Technical Working Group, Duane Nicol, who serves on the group, led his fellow members on a tour of the plant as an example of sound asset management.

Photograph of a large group of people sitting on lawn chars around a stage, beside the Red River, with the Selkirk Bridge in the background and a large Selkirk sign in the foreground.
People sitting on lawn chars around a stage, beside the Red River, with the Selkirk Bridge in the background and a large Selkirk sign in the foreground. Photo credit: City of Selkirk, MB

Selkirk is already hard at work on the next step: integrating its climate change strategy into its asset management program.

“When planning infrastructure that will last many decades, we have to consider the impacts of climate change,” says Mr. Nicol. “Asset management is about building the capacity and systems to do good planning and make good, long-term focused decisions. It’s a journey rather than a destination.”

Contact

Duane Nicol
Chief Administrative Officer
City of Selkirk
Email: dnicol@cityofselkirk.com
Phone Number: 204-785-4900

Participant organization information

  • City of Selkirk, MB
    • Population: 9,834
    • Project duration: 14.5 months
    • Grant amount: 50,000.00

Additional resources

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