Editorial: How can we lose?

Entering the Smart City Challenge is literally win-win

Penticton is a pretty sweet place to live, though there are many ways could be better (and many detractors happy to focus on those negatives).

Even those detractors need to get out and support Penticton’s try to gain up to a $10-million investment through the Smart Cities challenge.

Related: City of Penticton invests in Smart Cities bid

A smart cities approach aims to achieve meaningful outcomes for residents by leveraging the fundamental benefits that data and connected technology have to offer.

Whether it’s safety, the economy, affordable housing for all, job prospects, environmental protection, even communications with city hall — all items pointed out as concerns in various public engagement sessions — there are ways to, if not solve them, improve the situation.

What’s required is bold thinking, conversation and innovation to come up with plans to address them. There is the possibility of vastly improving the fabric of life in our community by winning this prize and leveraging technology to address some of these fundamental problems.

If you’re wondering what that $10-million prize could do for Penticton, think about this: the 2018 tax requirement — the amount of taxes the city needs to collect to meet the budget — is $32 million. While winning the challenge won’t lower taxes, it still represents an investment in the community property taxes couldn’t begin to match.

What we don’t need is Penticton’s peanut gallery, who seem to prefer making comments on social media to actual real-world involvement.

The time for a culture of negativity is over. If you’ve got a concern, it’s time to get engaged in the process, whether that’s by contributing your ideas or simply supporting the process.

Other than the fact that if Penticton doesn’t play, we can’t win, any comparison with a lottery is mistaken. Even if we don’t win, ideas will still have been generated, and an incredible level of collaboration between city hall, citizens, our growing tech and business sectors.

There’s really no way to lose, unless we decide not to pull together as community.

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