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York Region scores well on asset report card

March 19, 2015
By Lisa Queen

The report card itself may get a poor grade for tardiness, but York Region has received mostly good marks for a wide range of its assets in areas such as police, social housing, forestry, roads and transit.

The region released the State of Infrastructure Report for 2013 last Thursday, more than 14 months after the year ended.

The report, a first for the region, reviews $9 billion worth of regional assets and was scored by third party Prior and Prior Associates Limited.

The report is a tool for evaluating the region’s infrastructure and helps identify areas for improvement through current and future initiatives and budgets, it said.

“York Region is fortunate to own some of the best infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, due in part to our growth needs and the age of our assets,” regional chairperson Wayne Emmerson said in the report.

“Although our assets are relatively young and in a good state of repair, mature infrastructure exists and requires appropriate attention and maintenance. By providing a consistent and co-ordinated reporting approach to managing our assets, long-term sustainability and fiscal stewardship can be obtained.”

The report card looked at what assets the region owns, their physical condition, whether they meet current needs, their reliability, quality and worth.

It handed down a mediocre grade of C in the area of administrative facilities.

The majority of assets are meeting basic functional requirements but all buildings are at capacity and several older buildings scored low for reliability.

Negatives are offset by good maintenance practices, a robust energy conservation program and high scores for newer administration facilities, the report card said.

The region scored Bs in the areas of police, forestry, social housing, long-term care, roads and transit assets.

For police, for example, the report card looked at the police headquarters, five district headquarters, the community safety village, telecommunications towers, information technology, telecommunications equipment, specialized equipment and the fleet of patrol vehicles, boats and a helicopter.

The value of police infrastructure is $195 million.

Police infrastructure received Bs for the condition, reliability and capacity of its infrastructure.

The condition of District 1 headquarters at 240 Prospect St., Newmarket was tagged as a high priority needing attention.

“The overall 2013 state of (police) infrastructure grade is a B, with a positive trend toward improvement in the next few years,” the report card said.

Meanwhile, the report card praised the region’s social housing for its high compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, but pointed out the occupancy rate exceeded the acceptable rate of 98 per cent.

For the region’s $1.6-billion worth of roads, the report card said 58 per cent of streets are in excellent condition, but only 40 per cent of the urban road capacity rated as good.

Paramedic services, waste management, wastewater and water assets received As.

Paramedic services, for example, received As for the condition, reliability and capacity of its $15.7-million worth of infrastructure, which includes 21 stations, ambulances, defibrillators and stretchers.

“The overall 2013 state of (paramedic) infrastructure grade is an A with a stable trend over the next few years,” the report card said.

The region’s water infrastructure, valued at $1.4 billion, got high marks for having all its surface water treatment facilities equipped with back-up generators and for having 99.9 per cent of its drinking water samples complying with regulatory limits.

Wastewater infrastructure, valued at $2.2 billion, got high marks for improvements in capacity between 2011 and 2013 to service both current demand and future growth.