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Smart Cities to be rewarded by Infrastructure Canada

 Twyla Siple

Smart Cities Challenge press kit, infrastructure.gc.ca

Smart Cities Challenge press kit, infrastructure.gc.ca

Gimli hosted a public meeting to discuss the RM’s application for the federal Smart Cities grant program at 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Gimli Recreation Centre.

Chris Hornby, director of the Gimli Recreation Centre, gave a presentation on the nation-wide grant program and presented the application guide to attendees that included current and past politicans, as well as local community members.
 
Hornby hosted the event along side staff from the Community Futures East Interlake, Tammy Dziadek and Deanna Fridfinnson. They helped organize the discussion, prepare questions and facilitate conversations between about 20 local residents on topics such as: ideas for technology, communications infrastructure, making wifi more aceesible, and the potential for more internet provider options, amonst other things, with a goal of figuring out what is viable in Gimli, what’s applicable and what makes sense.
 
“This is a Canada-wide program, so our application is going up against, probably another several thousand other communities that are all applying,” Hornby said.
 
“(There are) no guarantees on anything of course, but we have the resources to put together a good application and to make movement on this...”
 
How to apply
The application guide can be found on Impact Canada’s website and is introduced by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amareet Sohi.
 
“Across the country, communities large and small are bursting with new ideas.” Sohi stated in his prepared statement. “I can’t wait to see what you come up with.”
 
The smart cities challenge aims to achieve meaningful outcomes for residents by leveraging the fundamental benefits that data and connected technology have to offer, according to the application guide.
 
Each community must begin their application by defining their Challenge Statements, a single sentence explaining the outcome the community aims to achieve by implementing their proposal.
 
“I am challenging leaders to be bold and think outside-the-box,” Sohi said. “Above all, I want you to think about what will have the biggest impact on the people who call your communities home.”
 
Aiming to help communities feel safer and more profitable for economic growth, the lengthy guide makes many suggestions for Challenge Statements that range from concerns about the private sector investments and new jobs to wearable sensors for seniors connected to healthcare providers as part of pilot project to promote healthy lifestyles for people of all ages.
 
Everyone welcome
The Smart Cities Challenge is open to communities of all sizes across Canada. Applicants must represent an identifiable community and must maintain responsibility for services in that community. Municipalities, Indigenous communities, or a combination of those are encouraged to apply.
 
Finalists and winners will be determined by a panel of jury members comprised of accomplished individuals from across the country who are recognized in their field, with strong leadership skills and a strong interest in public service issues.
 
The selection of finalists will be made after the Apr. 24 application submission deadline and finalists will be announced this summer.
 
The final proposal submissions deadline falls in the winter of next year and the winner will be announced next spring.
 
Similar to the applications, final proposals will be reviewed by experts and then evaluated by the jury. Their evaluations will focus on project feasibility, strength of business case, and clear links to the outcomes established in the Challenge Statement.
 
Only one prize in the current competition is open to communities of all sizes, regardless of population and that is the top prize of $50 million.
 
Two prizes of $10 million are available for communities under 500,000 people and one prize of up to $5 million is open to all communities of populations under 30,000 people. Indigenous communities are eligible to compete for all prizes in the current competition.
 
Gimli plans to apply for the $5 million prize for the under 30,000 people category.
 
“Worst case scenario is we get a bunch of good ideas to look at over the next couple of years and see if we can’t implement them with or without a grant,” Horsby said.
 
Follow the Smart Cities Challenge on Twitter use #smartcitiesCanada to join the conversation.
 
To submit ideas to Gimli’s Smart Cities application, email gimlicdc@rmgimli.com and let us know what you think Gimli could do to become a “smart city”.


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