City of Port Alberni accepts Smart Cities Challenge

How can Port Alberni use innovation, technology to enhance quality of life?

MIKE YOUDS

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Odds of hitting a home run may be slim, but with millions of dollars at stake Port Alberni will step up to the plate for a federal innovation contest called the Smart Cities Challenge.

City council gave a thumbs-up Monday to entering the challenge — open to all municipalities, regional governments and Indigenous communities across the country — after hearing a report from Pat Deakin, economic development manager.

The idea is to encourage innovation to improve quality of life through the use of data and connected technology. Local governments have until April 24 to submit proposals in the hopes of winning one of four prizes totalling $65 million. Port Alberni qualifies in all three categories.

“I fully expect that almost every city in Canada, large and small, will be competing,” Deakin said. “Very few have decided what to address.”

The competition invites communities to declare their challenges and come up with solutions using so-called “smart” technologies, he explained. Some B.C. municipalities, including 11 on eastern Vancouver Island, are partnering with neighbours to make their bid.

Deakin offered a list of possible challenges — including housing, reconciliation, climate disruption, aging demographics, transportation, environment and climate change — but stressed that the City’s proposal is open to input from the community.

Community members can now register for a new online engagement platform at www.LetsConnectPA.ca and tell the city what you think should be addressed as part of the challenge. Consultation will be open until April 20, and participants will be entered to win an excursion for three with Pacific Seaplanes.

“Although the odds are about as good as winning the lottery, we are up to the challenge and we are putting a proposal forward,” said Mayor Mike Ruttan.

Finalists will receive support to develop their smart cities proposals while the four winners will be awarded with prizes ranging from $5 million to $50 million to bring their plans to life.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities initiative is loosely modelled on a similar challenge issued to midsized American cities starting in 2015. That program is focused on modernizing transportation.

Just Posted

Alberni weightlifter heads to world championship

Dhaliwal is ranked second in the Pan Americas and fifth overall in the world

Wildfire crews gain upper hand on Arbutus Ridge fire

Controlled burning helping to contain fire: Coastal Fire Centre

D.O.A. brings punk rock to Port Alberni’s Rainbow Room

New generation of punk bands help D.O.A. celebrate 40 years of performing

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

ARTS AROUND: It’s time to get creative with myriad workshops

Summer camps at Rollin Art Centre in Port Alberni are wrapping up

Hundreds compete at 36th Tlu-piich Games

Numbers were slightly down from last year due to wildfire smoke

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Authorities call for calm as fires burn near Zeballos

Authorities are asking residents not to panic as several wildfires burn near… Continue reading

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Most Read