County councillors will be asked Wednesday to give their seal of approval on a motion that would establish a sub-committee and lead to an Oxford entry in the Smart Cities Challenge.
“The Smart Cities Challenge is a federal program from Infrastructure Canada that seeks to challenge Canadian communities to think outside the box and to come up with meaningful and measurable ways to improve quality of life for residents,” explained Jay Heaman, Oxford’s manager of strategic initiatives.
The competition offers prizes between $5 million and $50 million in the final round to fund four municipal projects designed to achieve “meaningful outcomes for residents through the use of data and connected technology.”
Finalists will be announced in summer 2018 and will receive support of up to $250,000 to develop their Smart Cities proposals.
“The challenge is an opportunity for our community to gather together and share the vision of our sustainability plan and leading initiatives on a federal stage, while gaining access to new ideas and best practices from communities across Canada,” Heaman said.
Proposed by Minister of Infrastructure and Communitie, Amarjeet Sohi, the project, he said, is designed to challenge leaders “to be bold and think outside-the-box.”
“I want you to approach the challenge through a lens of transparency, experimentation, inclusiveness, empowerment, and knowledge sharing,” he said last year. “And above all, I want you to think about what will have the biggest impact on the people who call your communities home.”
Heaman said the key to the challenge is focusing on Sohi’s statement about what would have the largest impact on the community.
“That should drive all participating municipalities to really soul-search and identify the most important challenges facing our respective communities,” Heaman said. “As an example, affordable, energy efficient, healthy and comfortable buildings can play an instrumental role by allowing us to build on all sustainability initiatives from the foundation of healthy housing.”
Heaman said Oxford’s submission will draw from its various community-driven initiatives over the past four years that stem from the Future Oxford Community Sustainability Plan including Zero Waste, Zero Poverty, hybrid ambulances, affordable housing to Passivehouse standard and a net-zero energy administration building.