With nearly 600 municipal road, building and wastewater projects under its belt since 2017, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) is now moving into its next phase of project funding for 2020.
As a federal-municipal partnership program, MAMP helps municipalities analyze needs, set priorities and plan infrastructure spending over a longer time period. It was recapitalized in its third year, extending the program from five to eight years with an additional $60 million committed in the 2019 federal budget.
More than $23 million in projects has been granted and nearly 100 asset management training events have been hosted across Canada through MAMP, according to FCM. The funding and information sharing enables municipalities to access the data needed to plan effectively.
“As we continue to face the greatest public health and economic crises of our time, smart investments in infrastructure will play a vital role in addressing the needs of communities and reviving local economies,” Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna said in a joint statement with FCM.
While details of the new FCM funding remain scarce, FCM has documented several accounts of municipal officials who learned new things from taking MAMP workshops. François Bélanger, the mayor of Pointe-Fortune, Quebec, for example, recounted that even after working in finance for 28 years, there were still lessons to be learned from asset management applications.
“This work helped Mr. Bélanger uncover the poor state of some municipal assets, including a culvert that required immediate action,” FCM shared in an MAMP profile. “He also discovered that his municipality had walking trails in an ecologically significant area near a neglected community building,” FCM added.
In the City of Selkirk, Manitoba, MAMP funding enabled Selkirk to establish key policies for core assets and service levels, FCM states. Selkirk was able to break ground in 2018 on a $39-million, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant and also helped five municipal employees earn certificates in asset management 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,” former Selkirk councillor and chief administrative officer Duane Nicol told FCM following training.
In terms of where MAMP dollars have been spent since inception, FCM notes that Ontario leads the way by a significant margin with 157 projects undertaken. Saskatchewan comes in second place at 95 projects. The Yukon has just one project thus far. Of approved projects, the majority were delivered in communities with a population of less than 5,000 residents, FCM states.
“Ensuring local leaders have the right tools to make sound asset management decisions is one of the ways we can be ready to drive Canada’s economic recovery when the time comes,” FCM president Bill Karsten said in a statement about the May 2020 MAMP funding announcement.
Municipalities that receive funding through MAMP track their progress on the Asset Management Readiness Scale (AMRS). Of 165 municipal asset management projects completed, 84% (138) successfully helped municipalities advance at least one level.