In April, some Smart Cities volunteers paid a visit to Munson Mountain to temporarily change the city’s sign to Pentic-TEN, representing the 10 projects they wanted to include in the Smart Cities proposal. Submitted photo

In April, some Smart Cities volunteers paid a visit to Munson Mountain to temporarily change the city’s sign to Pentic-TEN, representing the 10 projects they wanted to include in the Smart Cities proposal. Submitted photo

Penticton didn’t make Smart Cities shortlist

Effort was still a positive process for the city

It was an early morning for some in Penticton, watching online as the list of semi-finalists for the $10 million Smart Cities Challenge was announced.

Unfortunately, Penticton wasn’t one of them.

Keith MacIntyre, a member of Penticton’s team, was one of the people who was watching the live feed of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing the shortlist at the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference.

Naturally, he was disappointed. The group has put in six months engaging with the community, gathering ideas and preparing Penticton’s application, centered around the theme of a Healthy Penticton.

Related: Final steps for Smart Cities Challenge

Still, the effort wasn’t wasted, he said. The work has helped create positive discussion in Penticton.

“We’ve opened up the conversation and we have a roadmap of ideas,” said MacIntyre. “The rest of the team was disappointed as well. Meg (Dimma) was so sure we had this! But we will do something good with it.”

Related: Smart Cities process hitting the right notes

The Smart Cities Challenge began in November 2017, when the Government of Canada challenged communities across the country to develop bold and ambitious ideas to improve the lives of their residents using data and connected technology.

Related: Smart Cities Challenge needs community support

Over 200 communities, large and small, from across Canada submitted their innovative ideas to the Smart Cities Challenge. An independent panel of 13 jury members evaluated the submissions and selected 20 finalists to go on to the next step of the Challenge.

Each finalist community will receive a $250,000 grant to help develop its final proposal that outlines all design, planning, privacy, data protection and project management components of their plans. The grant can be used for activities such as staffing, professional services, feasibility assessments, capacity building, pilot projects, community engagement and communications, data, and relevant training.

The winners will be announced in spring 2019.

MacIntyre said not making the shortlist isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Penticton doesn’t have to wait.

“We can take a breath and decide where we want to go as a community without the constraints of the competition, waiting for spring 2019 for the final winners,” he said. “We have what we need to be an innovative community.“

Penticton was vying for the $10-million dollar prize, but there are also $5-million and $50-million prizes up for grabs.

In B.C., Greater Victoria, Richmond and a joint application from Vancouver and Surrey made the shortlist. The full list includes:

  • Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, Ontario ($5M prize)
  • Bridgewater, Nova Scotia ($5M prize)
  • Cree Nation of Eastmain, Quebec ($5M prize)
  • Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Quebec ($5M prize)
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories ($5M prize)
  • Airdrie and Area, Alberta ($10M prize)
  • Communities of Nunavut, Nunavut ($10M prize)
  • Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec ($10M prize)
  • Greater Victoria, British Columbia ($10M prize)
  • Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario ($10M prize)
  • Parkland, Brazeau, Lac Ste Anne and Yellowhead Counties, Alberta ($10M prize)
  • Richmond, British Columbia ($10M prize)
  • Saint Mary’s First Nation and Fredericton, New-Brunswick ($10M prize)
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ($10M prize)
  • The Pas, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and Kelsey, Manitoba ($10M prize)
  • Edmonton, Alberta ($50M prize)
  • Montreal, Quebec ($50M prize)
  • Quebec City, Quebec ($50M prize)
  • Region of Waterloo, Ontario ($50M prize)
  • Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia ($50M prize)


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram