Government Finance Officers
Association of British Columbia
Thursday, November 22, 2018

By Chris Sainsbury, CEng (UK), PMP, Ross Ryken, and Alexandra Hewitt

On May 31, 2018, Chris Sainsbury presented “Infrastructure Resilience: Are You Ready?” at the annual conference of the Government Finance Officers Association of British Columbia. In the following article, he and colleagues Ross Ryken and Alexandra Hewitt explain why infrastructure resilience is a major concern not only for the public sector but for the private sector as well.

Canada, like the rest of the world, is facing disruption on an unprecedented scale. The global climate is shifting, mass urbanization is on the rise, automation is reshaping the labour market, and the pace of development is increasing. As detailed in KPMG’s 2018 Emerging Trends in Infrastructure report, these are some of the trends that will have a dramatic impact on the infrastructure landscape in the years to come.

Increasingly, public and private organizations are realizing the importance of infrastructure resilience. Resilience, as a concept, is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, governments, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow amid major upheaval. This capacity stems from preparedness—a truly resilient city is one that has the capacity to thrive in spite of both acute shocks and chronic stresses.

Acute shocks are sudden events, such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, and infrastructure failure. These are the events that often spring to mind when people think about resilience. Yet, equally relevant are longer-term chronic stresses such as housing affordability, unemployment, aging infrastructure, and commodity supply/demand. These chronic stresses are particularly pertinent in a province like British Columbia, which is struggling with soaring house prices, increasing poverty (especially in Indigenous communities), and an opioid crisis.

Policy-makers and governments in international cities like Vancouver, Boston, and London are leading the charge to develop resilience strategies, and private corporations are beginning to follow suit. As shocks and stresses become harder to ignore, it’s expected that leaders in both the public and private sectors will place increasing emphasis on resilience planning.

You can read the full article on page 28 of the November/December 2018 issue of CPABC in Focus.


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