B.C. Smart Communities Pilot Program: Helping Small Communities Advance Technology & Innovation

The Government of British Columbia is launching the B.C. Smart Communities pilot program, to help local governments use data and connected technology to improve services and address community challenges.

“The B.C. Smart Communities program will help address the unique challenges small communities face when trying to secure funding for smart city projects,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “Whether it’s tracking cycling habits, to planning bike lanes, offering a mobile app to quickly find services, or tracking air quality to fostering responsible wood burning, the smart city economy offers countless solutions that can benefit people.”

A smart community uses technology and data to improve services for the community and its residents. It has the potential to enhance community life, from improving the way people live and move around, to creating a safer and more sustainable environment.

Pilot communities will highlight smart-community themes, such as economic diversity and growth, energy efficiency, citizen engagement, efficient transportation and community safety.

“Technology and data have enormous potential to improve a community’s infrastructure and decision making,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The B.C. Smart Communities program gives local governments the opportunity to take targeted action on important issues that can have a lasting positive impact on British Columbians’ everyday lives.”

A one-year pilot project, B.C. Smart Communities, is open to B.C. municipalities and First Nations communities with populations under 30,000. Grants of up to $40,000 will be provided to as many as four communities, which have until July 13, 2018, to apply. Communities will also have to secure additional in-cash or in-kind funding of $10,000, or 20%, from respective local governments or regional trusts.

“This pilot program is an excellent opportunity for smaller communities to partner with tech innovators, and find creative solutions to complex challenges,” said Shirley Vickers, Innovate BC president and CEO. “It will also give businesses the ability to advance technologies to make B.C. a leader in the trillion-dollar global smart-cities marketplace.”

The pilot will run from September 2018 to September 2019. Applications will be judged by a five-person panel, including provincial government representatives and industry experts.

Quick Facts:

  • The smart cities global market is predicted to have a value of up to $1.6 trillion by 2020.
  • B.C.’s tech sector employs over 106,000 people — an all-time high.
  • B.C.’s more than 10,200 technology companies generated $29 billion in annual revenue in 2016 (9% growth) — the highest ever recorded.

Learn More:

To learn more about B.C. smart communities and to apply, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/SmartCommunities

To learn more about the federal Smart Cities Challenge, visit: https://impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-cities

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