City urged to get 'Smart'

A Penticton software developer is urging the city to get involved with the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge, for a shot at millions of dollars to improve the community.

Keith MacIntyre, founder of Big Bear Software, will be before city council next week in an effort to get the ball rolling on a project which could change the face of Penticton.

The program starts by asking communities to define their “challenge statement” — a single sentence that defines an outcome the city is trying to achieve with their Smart Cities proposal.

Examples could be: feel safe and secure, by reducing crime in a dangerous neighbourhood; or to earn a good living, by raising household incomes.

MacIntyre says the challenge statement needs to be defined by the community as a whole.

“Hopefully, the city takes this and goes with it,” he said, noting the city’s public outreach mechanisms could be put to good use.

The project is trying to get local governments about improving their lives of their citizens through innovative thinking, data and technology.

Penticton will likely be competing for one of two prizes of $10M for mid-sized cities, or for a prize of $5M for smaller communities.

Finalists will be granted $250,000 to develop their final proposal.

“We are often in this bubble complaining… about small things like parking,” MacIntyre said, lamenting that many of the positive stories about things happening in the community don’t get told.

He said the local tech industry is already punching well above its weight, put can be pushed onto the world stage with the correct big idea.

Local Smart Cities applications need to be submitted by April 24.

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