On a recent frosty, brilliant Saturday, as I did my weekend errands I was struck by the industrious activity of Gibsons’ residents preparing for the coming winter. Pickups and station wagons were filled with the goods and materials their owners would need to carry out a pre-holiday spruce-up; householders cleaned their gutters to ensure that the coming rains would flow freely; and those who love their gardens were mulching, pruning, and wrapping treasured shrubs in burlap to protect them through their dormant season. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful town and, in no small measure, the beauty of our natural setting is enhanced by the diligent attention local residents pay to their homes.
Preventative maintenance and timely repair work are good investments in time and money, whether for an individual dwelling or at the municipal level. Like you, the Town of Gibsons is working hard to keep things in good repair and to make required improvements to ensure our infrastructure meets current and future needs. And like you, we need to plan wisely and work within our resources if we are to protect the assets you entrust to our stewardship.
When we are planning our budget you may hear us speak of the need to plan our Annual Contribution for Asset Replacement, or ‘ACFAR’. In terms of funding, this means setting aside or investing a certain percentage of the value of our assets; focusing on core priorities; dedicating a portion of tax revenues towards specific essential projects; ensuring that municipal services are fairly priced; where necessary, deferring projects; and respecting the need for preventative maintenance, to avoid as best we can the need for urgent, unplanned and therefore more costly repairs to the municipal infrastructure on which you depend.
We consider nature to be an integral part of our municipal infrastructure system, and similarly important to protect. Our ecosystem services include protecting such important assets as: the Gibsons aquifer, source of our renowned drinking water; Goosebird, Charman and Gibsons Creeks, which will play an important role in carrying the storm water we’re sure to be blessed with in the coming months; and our foreshore area, which protects our local shoreline from sea activity. Protecting and conserving these natural aspects of our infrastructure is not only important, there can be a clear financial benefit as well. One example is our 36 per cent reduction in water usage since 2009, which saved the time and cost of building a second reservoir.
I began this message with a reference to home renovations and maintenance, and in some ways, keeping our town in good repair is rather like renovating a home not only filled with family, but subject to a steady stream of visitors. We appreciate your patience when a particular project slows down your commute or temporarily affects the appearance of your neighbourhood. We welcome your interest and your input as we move towards a service delivery model where we are not simply maintaining infrastructure, but protecting our natural assets, and delivering municipal services in the most natural, energy-efficient, reliable, and cost-effective manner possible.