Mar. 13: Smart Cities Challenge invites visions for a ‘smarter’ Revelstoke through innovation, data and connected technology

Housing, infrastructure, economic diversity, transportation and food security emerge as hot topics for Smart Cities Challenge, a competition aimed at improving the lives of residents through innovation, data and connected technology

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Revelstoke residents are invited to share ways to make Revelstoke a ‘smarter’ city through innovation, data and connected technology as part of the national Smart Cities Challenge, a national competition that seeks to leverage technology to improve the lives of residents.

The Smart Cities Challenge is a pan-Canadian competition open to communities of all sizes, including municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities. The challenge encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

Although the odds may be long, there is a chance Revelstoke can win significant funding through the challenge, including a top prize of $50 million, and possible $10 million and $5 million awards.

We spoke with City of Revelstoke Community Economic Development Director Nicole Fricot to find out more about the public event this Tuesday, Mar. 13 from 6–8 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre.

What is the Smart Cities Challenge?

It’s a national competition that challenges communities to consider how they can use technology and innovation to solve long term community challenges. It is a project of Infrastructure Canada that communities across the country are participating in. Weather software, software solutions that monitor and analyze highway conditions, electric cars, solar panels, big data – there are numerous types of technologies that can be used to make communities more resilient, more efficient and better able to meet the future. From a community perspective this is an opportunity of the Revelstoke community to come out and have their say on what they see as the biggest challenges facing Revelstoke today and what innovations or technology they would like to see Revelstoke adopt in order to position us well for the future and best meet these challenges.

City of Revelstoke Community Economic Development Director Nicole Fricot. Photo: Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

It’s a contest. What could Revelstoke win?

The Challenge is worth big prizes – The top prize is $50 million, the 2nd prize is 10 million and the small communities prize (open only to communities of 30,000 or less) is worth $5 million. If Revelstoke is a finalist we can receive $250,000 to test out our theory on how to address the challenge we have selected to address.

What kind of issues and problems is the SSC designed to address?

Any challenge that can be addressed using innovative technology. Over the last week the community has had the opportunity to participate in an online survey selecting what they see as the biggest challenges facing Revelstoke. The survey closes this evening (Mar. 9) but so far the clear winners are: (1) Housing, (2) Infrastructure, (3) Economic Diversity/ Job availability (4) Transportation and Highways (5) Food Security. (Follow this link to see the comments and ratings for Revelstoke.) These are all great challenges as they are big and long term and with big level thinking there are aspects of these challenges that may be able to be solved using innovation or technology.

 

How can people participate?

Tuesday March 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre, community members have the opportunity to give their feedback in person regarding the Smart Cities Challenge. We hope that as many community members as possible will come out and help us consider what the big challenges are and bring their bright ideas of how we can solve them. Childcare will be provided please let Brooke Burke know at 250-837-5345 if you need childcare by Monday, March 12.

What if Revelstoke isn’t successful in the challenge? Will there be benefits to just participating?

There are definitely benefits to participating whether we win the challenge or not. The Smart Cities Challenge is a starting point to considering what we need to do to position ourselves well for the future. We can take the information gathered through this process about what Revelstoke sees as the key challenges and what solutions the community would like us to adopt to prepare ourselves for the future and make Revelstoke a truly resilient community. A big part of my job is thinking about what type of community we want to be in the future and what do we need to do economically, socially and environmentally to ensure we are a sustainable and resilient community long term. I think we have a lot of very bright and thoughtful individuals who live in this community and I am really excited to hear their ideas about how we can best meet the long term challenges of our community!

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