Minimize the need for new infrastructure and maximize community investment by integrating planning and infrastructure decisions and by increasing collaboration.
Expanding Scope and Increasing Collaboration
The regenerative infrastructure approach involves broadening geographical scales (e.g. the entire community rather than a single waste management facility) and time scales (e.g. considering the costs and benefits over several generations). This wider perspective provides the opportunity to look at make infrastructure decisions that provide increased value to the community well into the future.
Waste management infrastructure, water and wastewater infrastructure, and energy utility planning can all benefit from integrated resource recovery technologies, which provides uses for recovered resources, offer new partnership opportunities, and create new revenue to offset infrastructure investment.
The needs of major energy and water consumers in a community (e.g. hospitals and universities) can be taken into account when locating new wastewater treatment or waste-to-energy facilities. These institutions can then use the heat or fuel from these new facilities at a lower cost. The fees that are paid for the heat or fuel can be used to offset the cost of infrastructure and operations. This is an example of principle 5 integrating system boundaries.
In a conventional approach to municipal asset management, different departments are responsible for the management of water, waste, energy, transportation, and community planning. These traditional local government "silos" can result in missed opportunities for finding efficiencies and new innovative approaches that bring new value to the community.
Increased collaboration among municipal departments, with senior levels of government, institutions, and the private sector can reveal new opportunities for integrated resource recovery (IRR) in infrastructure.
Why Integrated Land Use and Infrastructure Planning?
Much of the infrastructure in B.C.’s communities is ageing, and requires replacement or upgrading.
Infrastructure upgrades and replacements provide opportunities to rethink traditional modes of land use and infrastructure planning. Local governments can ensure appropriate zoning is in place for IRR, and consider suitable sites and land use patterns for resource recovery and utilization when revising or updating Official Community Plans or Regional Growth Strategies.
Taking a regenerative infrastructure approach can reduce the need for new waste management infrastructure such as landfills, pipes, and sewage treatment plants. For example, reclaiming wastewater for non-potable purposes reduces the treatment plant’s capacity requirements, and therefore plant size and life cycle cost. It could delay or prevent the need for adding capacity or building a new treatment plant in the future.
By incorporating infrastructure planning with land-use planning, local governments may choose to build smaller distributed treatment plants instead of centralized plants, which can be tailored to meet the diverse needs of the community as it grows or changes.
Section 4 – Bringing it Home – outlines strategies and steps to take to ensure that policy and planning supports integrated resource recovery and regenerative infrastructure for municipal operations.