In 2011, municipal, provincial and federal government reps from around the globe met for the first annual National Infrastructure Summit. It was the first event of its kind in which the private sector and all three orders of government participated and engaged in discussions and workshops about global best practices and new approaches. Topics ranged from funding to planning to building and maintaining infrastructure, encompassing roads, bridges, water, wastewater, sidewalks, and underground pipes.
Capturing the momentum initially created with the first Summit, the City of Regina, Saskatchewan, will again host the 2012 Summit, coming up this September.
The 2012 Summit will feature a continuation of the five themes from last year, however, the content of the themes will have a very different focus. The 2012 Themes will focus on practical, innovative, global approaches to infrastructure solutions, rather than the theoretical approaches offered in the 2011 Summit. We’ve put together a brief summary of the theme emphasis for this year’s event:
Citizen engagement is based on the premise that people should have, and want to have, greater influence on decisions that affect them. True engagement is more than just asking for opinions – it is ensuring issues are framed authentically and sincerely. Informing, educating and gathering public input is critical to the successful implementation of new initiatives, projects and processes.
To objectively describe and define the current state of infrastructure across Canada in terms of: state of our cities (infrastructure realities); state of current practice; and state of the future (where we need to be). When defining the needs, it is important to have an accurate asset inventory to properly determine and understand the current state. With this in mind, the focus of this theme will incorporate actions and best practices results such as defining appropriate levels of service and identification of innovative solutions to implement sustainable infrastructure asset management practices.
Highlight the various innovative options available to finance infrastructure in municipalities. This theme will focus on innovations resulting in cost efficiencies realized in relation to infrastructure at any age of the full life cycle while maintaining service levels expected by citizens, as well as other innovative strategies to effective manage and realize cost-savings and efficiencies.
The objective of this theme is to explore the real-world challenges faced by municipal leaders in making and executing decisions about local infrastructure investment. The session will focus on how municipal leaders: determine local priorities; communicate infrastructure needs; assess and evaluate payment options; and, support Council decisions to the public.
Most public infrastructure is decades, or even a century old, and often the mindset behind the design if even more archaic. Innovation is not strictly about needing more funding to do new, innovative things – it’s also about doing what we are doing now, but doing it better. This theme will focus on the design and implementation of innovative, lower cost, more sustainable ways to design neighbourhood infrastructure.