People living in four regions of British Columbia will benefit from projects that will make their communities safer and more connected.
"Smart technology can place useful information at people’s fingertips to make our neighbourhoods safer and our lives more efficient,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. "Small communities should not be left apart from innovation, and our government is taking action to ensure smart solutions are developed around the province to help make life better for everyone."
People living in British Columbia’s rural and smaller centres need access to data and technology as much as people in urban centres. Through the Smart Communities pilot program, the B.C. government is encouraging municipalities to develop and use innovative technology that will transform everyday challenges into sustainable solutions.
The District of Logan Lake will receive $38,650; the City of Port Alberni will receive $28,800; the City of Prince Rupert will receive $22,120; and the municipalities of Castlegar, Nelson, Rossland and Trail will receive a total of $40,000 for a joint proposal.
Four projects will be developed that will improve safety and enhance civic and volunteer engagement. The projects include a mobile app, so that people can access timely emergency information; an online platform linking local volunteers with non-profit and charity groups; an online engagement platform to help people participate in local government decision-making, and a mobile app for information on road safety, accidents and road closures in the region.
“The B.C. Smart Communities pilot program is dedicated to supporting people living in smaller centres and rural areas, helping them access technology that will enhance their lives,” said Shirley Vickers, president and CEO of Innovate BC, the Crown agency distributing the winning grants. “The successful projects represent modern solutions to local problems and will help benefit people where they live.”
An evaluation panel reviewed each project proposal and scored them based on whether they met the definition of a smart community, addressed a local need, had consulted with residents and whether the initiative could be accomplished within a one-year timeframe. Proposals also had to address one of five themes: economic diversity and growth, energy efficiency and climate action, citizen engagement, efficient transportation, and community safety and resiliency. Each project was required to secure in-kind or in-cash funding from its respective local governments or regional trusts of up to 20% of the individual grant total.
- The B.C. Smart Communities pilot program launched in May 2018 and invited municipalities and First Nations under 30,000 to submit their proposals until July 13, 2018.
- A total of 10 proposals were received.
- The pilot program was open to municipalities and First Nations with populations under 30,000. Grant awards of up to $40,000 are being provided to successful municipalities.
- The Province of British Columbia will provide a total of $130,000 to the four winning cities through Innovate BC to fund each project for one year.
- Smart cities technology has a global market predicted to have a value of up to $1.6 trillion by 2020.
To learn more about the B.C. Smart Communities pilot program, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/SmartCommunities
A backgrounder follows.