Burnaby's total infrastructure asset value sits at $3.9 billion and requires ongoing investment, according to a staff report.
At the April 8 meeting, council heard many cities across Canada - including Burnaby - are facing the same challenges of repairing and maintaining aging infrastructure put in during the 1950s and 1960s building boom.
Municipal governments are responsible for 60 per cent of Canada's infrastructure, which is its roads, sewers, bridges, buildings and watermains, but only receives eight cents of every tax dollar.
The city currently has about $300 million of asset replacement backlogged, and invests $40 million into replacing it every year. The report estimates that sum be increased to $50 million annually for the next 30 years to keep up with the aging infrastructure.
"Although Burnaby's overall infrastructure condition is ranked higher than the national average, according to a report published by the (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), staff are mindful that there are no reasons for complacency," the report states.
The average age of Burnaby's infrastructure overall has reached about 75 per cent of its useful life.
Mayor Derek Corrigan said if the infrastructure is allowed to deteriorate then the cost will be exorbitant on future generations "to make up for us not doing our job now."
"So it becomes very important for us to bring the issue of infrastructure to both the public attention and to the attention of senior governments to ensure that the right amount of interest is being paid to much of the infra-structure that often is not the most sexy place to put tax money," he added. "It's crucial to have in a safe and healthy community."
Corrigan said the disparity of receiving so little of the tax dollar is not sustainable for the city to maintain a high infrastructure standard.
"And the problem often is that the only time we're able to deal with those infrastructure needs is on the largess of the senior government," he said. "The opportunity to apply for a grant, to be able to get some of the federal and provincial money that comes out of our communities, back into our communities ... too often that becomes a highly politicized process, rather than being one that deals with areas of greatest need."
Coun. Nick Volkow agreed with Corrigan, and noted that council needs to "hammer home this point" that the municipalities only get eight per cent of the tax dollar, but are responsible for 60 per cent of the infrastructure.
"This may not be the sexiest issue, but it's the most important issue that any one around this table has to deal with," he said at the April 8 meeting. "I almost think sometimes that we should be out there cutting ribbons for every time we put in a kilometre of sewer and a kilometre of water line and all just so people understand the importance of this."
According to the report, the city has 1,300 kilometres of sewer pipeline, valued at more than $1 billion; 750 km of road worth more than $1.2 billion; $150 million worth of bridges; and 12,350 street lights, valued at $205 million.
The report suggested short-and long-term asset management strategies covering technology, business process, communication and economic/social/ environmental sustainability.
Some of the long-term plans are to develop biannual report cards on the state of the city's assets, leverage cost sharing and financial investment from senior government and the private sector, and to consult the public.
Under its short-term strategies, the report suggested creating a Joint Staff Asset Management Team crossing several departments to develop a vision, best practices, standards and policies within the next three years.
"Today, Canada's infrastructure is at a tipping point where the municipalities are faced with the challenge of aging assets while struggling to keep up with the level of asset replacement funding required," the report states.
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