Overcoming Capacity Limitations for Rural and Small Municipalities Across the Prairies
Municipalities own nearly two thirds of the core infrastructure assets—roads, bridges, water, and wastewater facilities—that are critical to Canadians’ quality of life and our country’s competitiveness. Yet many rural municipalities with limited tax bases and capacity struggle to meet their resilient infrastructure needs, including both traditional infrastructure and natural infrastructure.
This session explores the challenges of Prairie municipalities as they struggle with capacity limitations, as well as the efforts of Canadian organizations to help address the lack of capacity. The webinar will begin with representatives from two Prairie communities describing the capacity limitations, followed by a presentation on support available for rural and small municipalities and a discussion with the participating municipalities to address their specific needs.
Some key takeaways from this webinar were:
Despite the capacity challenges facing rural and small municipalities, the RM of Piney and Parkland County are advancing natural infrastructure and natural asset management with:
careful planning that allows them to strategically select opportunities that meets their needs, and
by harnessing the abilities and skills of their local community to help address gaps and promote community leadership.
Unlike grey infrastructure, which depreciates overtime and requires significant financial investment for maintenance and replacement, natural infrastructure provides greater infrastructure services over time, with less cost as compared to grey.
This webinar took place on October 27, 2023. Watch the full recording below or on YouTube.
This webinar is the first in a series of three fall webinars by IISD's Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions (NIWS). Watch the second webinar Pathways to Financing Natural Infrastructure in Canada and register now for our third webinar Strengthening Natural Infrastructure Through Public Policy, scheduled for December 5.
Dustin Carey is the Lead, Climate Adaptation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund and an Expert Consultant with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. After receiving his Master of Climate Change degree from the University of Waterloo, he applied his understanding of climate science to practical municipal climate solutions. Specializing in climate adaptation, municipal asset management, capacity development, and sustainable land-use practices, Dustin works to enable local governments to create low-carbon, resilient communities. He wrote the Climate-Resilient Asset Management chapter of the United Nations' Managing Infrastructure Assets for Sustainable Development: A Handbook.
Martin Van Osch is Chief Administrative Officer with the Rural Municipality of Piney in southeast Manitoba. He’s spent the last 21 years working throughout Manitoba in various municipal roles. With a diverse background, Martin Van Osch embraces municipal challenges with an innovative approach, understanding what is necessary to develop and implement services in rural or remote communities. He is currently working on projects that will address seniors' housing, rural transit supports, and climate action. His success is supported by a strong team approach with the goal of bettering the community, improving the lives of residents, and protecting the environment. Martin holds a Diploma from Keewatin Community College in Natural Resource Management and a certificate in Manitoba Municipal Administration from the University of Manitoba. He is a certified Level 2 Water and Wastewater Operator.
Stephanie Over is the Natural Asset Project Coordinator for Parkland County’s Agriculture and Environment Services Department. In her current role, Stephanie is responsible for coordinating the county’s Natural Asset Inventory and Valuation Project. Stephanie worked in the environmental consulting industry prior to starting with Parkland County as a Monitoring Technician over 3 years ago.
- Rural Challenges, National Opportunity — Federation of Canadian Municipalities (.pdf)
- The State of Play of Natural Infrastructure on the Canadian Prairies — NIWS Report
- Natural Infrastructure for Water Solutions (NIWS)
Thanks to our partners at:
Advancing Natural Infrastructure 2024 Forum
A premier event to discuss natural infrastructure on the Canadian prairies and shape the future of prairie water infrastructure by working with nature
Strengthening Natural Infrastructure Through Public Policy
Highlighting efforts in public policy to strengthen nature-based solutions and opportunities in natural infrastructure.
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