Workshop Five: A Changing Environment

Managing York region’s green infrastructure to create a community where everyone can thrive
Matthew Rodwell, WSP Opus
 Karen Robichaud, WSP Opus

Asset management practices to living assets in York, Ontario, Canada to created a community where “everyone can thrive”.

York Region in Ontario, Canada, is the custodian of one of the province’s largest and most strategically important green infrastructure portfolios, comprising $490 million of green infrastructure, and related recreation and education assets that are essential to the social and economic well-being of the Region.  This paper describes how infrastructure asset management practices were applied to living assets to develop the Region’s first Green Infrastructure Asset Management Plan. The paper will show how innovative techniques were used to value ecosystem service benefits for use in the trade-off analysis of different investment levels, lifecycle management strategies and risk scenarios.

The plan identified game-changers for how the Region manages these assets to achieve its long-term strategic goals and vision to “create a community where everyone can thrive”.  These game-changers include understanding which investments deliver the greatest ecosystem service benefits, establishing service level agreements between the internal departments responsible for creating and maintaining green infrastructure assets, developing green infrastructure performance measures that provide a clear link to strategic goals such as fostering healthy living and improving streetscape amenity, investing in maintenance strategies to maximize the age of urban trees and the ecosystem-benefits they provide, and seeking customer feedback on major strategies driving costs such as streetscaping.  The challenges in preparing an asset management plan for green infrastructure are identified, and recommendations for other practitioners are made.

Matthew Rodwell was Technical Lead of the WSP Opus Team that delivered the York Region’s Green Infrastructure Asset Management Plan.  He has recently relocated to WSP Opus’ Nelson Office where he is a senior asset management consultant and the WSP Opus Team Lead for Tasman Journeys.

Smart technologies to assist managing risks for slopes and structures
David L Stewart, WSP Opus

New monitoring technologies provide exciting options for managing increased risks from slope failures to our key infrastructure, such as transportation corridors.    Greater frequency and / or magnitude of slope failures has been observed in the past few years, as a result of Climate change and (especially in central New Zealand) a more active seismic environment since the 2010 Darfield Earthquake. This increased frequency of slope failure events results in an increased risk to infrastructure and associated human activities.

While the increased risk from landslides poses significant challenges for asset managers, developments in monitoring and data technologies provide valuable tools to help manage these risks.

Examples of slope monitoring technologies to assist management of slope risks will be presented including: drones (UAV); repeat 3D survey models from UAV, LiDAR and laser scanning data; satellite monitoring; and various sensor devices eg. GPS sensor networks.  An update on trials of low cost GPS sensor networks will be also provided, including data presentations on Power Bi dashboards and trigger alerts.

The importance of access to key historical and topographic data to facilitate slope risk assessments will be covered, including the need for increased collaboration.  Given the increased slope risk the role of preparedness and preventative measures will also be stressed.

David Stewart is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer (and Engineering Geologist) at WSP Opus in Wellington with over 30 years experience in slope assessments. He specialises in assessment of slopes and management of risks for a range of clients and types of landforms / infrastructure around NZ, particularly highways. David oversees the slip assessment for the Wellington Highway network and also carries out slope assessments for other clients such as KiwiRail and Councils. His expertise has been in much demand of late following major storm events and for recent significant landslides.  David is a certified UAV operator and along with drones is always looking for new ways of assessing and managing risk from slope failures including slope monitoring. He has been carrying out trials of GPS sensors at two landslide sites since the beginning of 2018.