Aging infrastructure is overwhelming Canada’s cities
Despite recent distractions, the clock is still ticking on Canada's municipal infrastructure. That is, while the country is renowned for world-class communities and its enviable quality of life, stats show that 13% of Canada's core municipal infrastructure assets (e.g., roads, pipes, treatment plants) are in significant decay and considered unreliable or unfit to meet our current needs. And as infrastructure needs and backlogs continue to grow, municipal leaders are challenged to act now or face significant risks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this issue. The crisis has placed municipalities and their infrastructure under further strain and led to the delay of spending on critical infrastructure maintenance and renewal. The risks of inaction cannot be taken lightly. Aging infrastructure has the potential to make municipal services less reliable, less effective and more costly to deliver.
The impetus for change
Many factors are converging to form a "perfect storm" of asset renewal challenges:
With no shortage of needs, targeted investments will be critical to protecting key municipal services now, while positioning to meet the longer-term needs of our communities. Better decisions are possible; however, these will require municipal leaders to think holistically and use data in guiding their next steps. Leaders should keep the following in mind as they look to prioritize projects and investments over the coming months and years:
Leading the way
Despite growing concern, there is hope for communities facing aging infrastructure challenges and an opportunity in the wake of the pandemic to develop a plan and strategy for building more resilient cities. Read the full article for a look at how three Canadian cities are addressing their infrastructure needs.
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