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B.C. cities join federal Smart Cities Challenge

JOC News Service
B.C. cities join federal Smart Cities Challenge

VICTORIA — Several Lower Mainland municipalities are signing up for Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge.

Vancouver and Surrey have indicated they will partner together to submit a joint application to the program and the District of Squamish is seeking partners for its application.

The Smart Cities Challenge is a competition open to all municipalities, local and regional governments, and Indigenous communities across Canada. The prizes consist of one prize of up to $50 million, two prizes of up to $10 million each and one prize of up to $5 million.

Six primary areas of focus have been defined by Infrastructure Canada for the challenge: economic opportunity, empowerment and inclusion, environmental quality, healthy living and recreation, mobility and safety and security.

Vancouver and Surrey’s “smart city” initiatives include a closed-looped waste management system in Surrey to convert residents’ waste into biofuel to power city waste collection vehicles. Vancouver is expanding free public Wi-Fi across the city.

“A $50 million infusion into our Smart Cities initiatives will be of great benefit to help shape future services. Leveraging technology and innovation will assist in finding new and creative ways to enhance the quality of life for our communities,” said City of Surrey director of information technology Sean Simpson in a statement.

The District of Squamish will use draft policies from the Squamish 2040 Official Community Plan, currently nearing completion, to aid in the selection of a project. A Request for Information from potential partners has been issued, with a deadline of Feb 23 at 2 p.m.

“Exploring partnerships for this challenge will help Squamish to further our goals of becoming a socially and economically resilient and progressive community into the future. One that embraces technology to improve the lives of all our residents, innovate the delivery of our services and inspire community-based problem solving,” said District of Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman.

“We know that our community has and attracts smart, entrepreneurial, and forward-looking individuals and companies, and we’re excited to see what will transpire as we work through this process.”

The application deadline for the Smart Cities Challenge is April 24, with the announcement of the finalists in the summer of 2018 and winners chosen in spring 2019.

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