Penticton city council joins the gallery in posing around the Smart Cities Challenge group around the giant blue ‘10’ representing the 10 solutions the group wants to develop for Penticton’s entry into the national competition. (Steve Kidd/Western News)

Healthy Penticton is the theme for Smart Cities Challenge

Six weeks left before entry due for $10 million contest

The Smart Cities Challenge group is ready to move onto the next phase of developing a challenge statement.

Keith MacIntyre, who has been leading the charge to get Penticton involved in the Smart Cities Challenge, said four themes came out of the survey that had equal importance: revitalization, which included arts and culture; safety; health and sustainability.

“What this showed us is there is an opportunity to be quite broad in our challenge statement,” said MacIntyre.

Healthy Penticton, he said, will be the theme driving the ongoing development of Penticton’s challenge statement, due April 24 for the competition, which could see Penticton winning $10 million to implement a solution.

“Everyone wants a healthier Penticton. We want Penticton as a whole to be functioning together as one healthy entity,” said MacIntyre. “We are going to find 10 solutions, 10 projects for $10 million pursuing technology and open data.”

Those 10 solutions, he explained, could range from developing apps to to encourage community volunteering and community pride, using emerging technology to reduce bike thefts and property crime, developing effective ways to gather data that is important to the community or finding a way to efficiently gather municipal census data to make better decisions.

MacIntyre cautioned those are just ideas; the Smart Cities group wants to gather as many out-of-the-box, innovative ideas as they can from the community.

“For a community to be healthy, we all need to be working together, communicating together. There is tech solutions that can help us solve real problems,” said MacIntyre. “We want something that is going to solve real human problems in Penticton and it has to work with everybody.”

Over the past few weeks, the group has been engaging with the public to figure out what people are saying are the issues facing Penticton.

“We’re out to find the greatest problem facing Penticton, and the greatest problem the majority of our residents are facing; and one that can be solved using technology,” said Diana Stirling, owner of LocoLanding Adventure Park.

“Imagine if we could find 10 solutions to this problem, and we did it with the help of 5,000 residents.”

According to MacIntyre, the Smart Cities group has interacted with 2,100 citizens.

“We had over 1,100 responses to a survey we sent out in two weeks, which is, to my mind, unheard of and absolutely fantastic,” said MacIntyre.

Stirling said 72 per cent of the survey respondents have lived in Penticton for more than seven years.

“The majority were between 34 to 55 years old, but what is impressive is 10 per cent of the people that responded were under the age of 18,” said Stirling.

More information about Penticton’s Smart Cities Challenge attempt is available online at smartcitiespenticton.com.

 

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit tries to figure out what order to put giant blue numbers to form the ‘10,’ representing the 10 solutions the group wants to develop for Penticton’s entry into the national competition. (Steve Kidd/Western News)

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