Guelph-Wellington win $10M in federal governments Smart Cities Challenge – CBC.ca

Guelph-Wellington win $10M in federal government\s Smart Cities Challenge - CBC.ca
Guelph-Wellington bid wins $10 million in Smart Cities Challenge
OTTAWA – The Guelph-Wellington County idea of a circular food economy has won a $10 million prize in the federal government Smart Cities Challenge.

The local bid, titled Our Food Future, was named first place in its category Tuesday at an announcement in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon.

The winner was announced at a gala event by Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Francois Phillipe Champagne. Several city officials were on hand to accept the award, which was broadcast live on Youtube! and 

Here are the winners of Canadas Smart Cities Challenge

The local entry was selected the winner from 10 entries in its population category of communities up to 500,000.

The honourable François-Phillipe Champagne, Canadas Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, has announced the four winners of the Smart Cities Challenge.

"Wow, this is awesome!" said mayor Cam Guthrie on the stage. "We're going to turn this vision into a reality. I can't imagine the legacy we're going to leave …. for the entire world when it comes to food."

Wellington County Warden Kelly Linton said the project "inspired our communities to be more creative and collaborative."

The Guelph-Wellington entry is a partnership with the University of Guelph, Conestoga College and dozens of other experts, entrepreneurs, innovators and community champions.

The Canada-wide challenge encouraged communities to improve quality of life through a smart cities approach which involves innovation, data and connected technology.

Guelph’s bid was titled Our Food Future and was aimed at creating a local circular food economy with three goals:

Asset and behaviour mapping, a data analysis project to understand current food assets and gaps in local communities;

Launch a Circular Food Economy Lab to nurture ideas that will reinvent food systems and solve food problems;

Leverage community experts and educators to provide public learning labs, food innovation education and training;

Provide business tools and services to help food and beverage organizations and businesses increase efficiencies and minimize food waste;

Continue a public awareness campaign to educate Guelph-Wellington residents on the food industry, the real cost of food waste and a circular food economy;

Explore adding a “social currency” to current carbon credit sales that could be used to support a green local economy;

Use data collected from Guelph’s technology-enabled residential waste carts to determine how food byproducts can be better used.

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WATERLOO REGION — Waterloo Region was in the running but ultimately came up short in the federal Smart Cities challenge that would have provided $50 million in grant money to develop a national well-being dashboard for children and youth.

Montreal walked away with prize instead, and will use it to address systemic issues of urban life, including mobility and access to food. The three other large municipalities competing for the $50 million were Edmonton, Quebec City, and Vancouver and Surrey.

Waterloos pitch had the goal of improving early child development, reducing mental health problems such as bullying, and increasing high school graduation rates.

Regional Chair Karen Redman made the trip to Ottawa for the announcement Tuesday afternoon and acknowledged there was \”some disappointment\” when their name wasnt called, but the project still had value because it allowed different corners of the community — including the tech sector, nonprofits, and government officials — to talk about the range of issues youth are facing in society.

UNICEF Canada partnered with the region and local municipal governments through the One Youth Initiative to help develop their pitch. The stated goal was to make Waterloo Region the best community in Canada for kids.

A total of four prizes worth a combined $75 million was up for grabs from Infrastructure Canada, including one for $50 million, two for $10 million, and one for $5 million, based on the size of the community. The federal government received 130 applications from 225 communities across Canada.

Guelph and Wellington County won one of the $10-million grants with their idea to create a circular food economy that will increase access to affordable, nutritious food by 50 per cent, create 50 new circular businesses and collaborations by using waste as a resource, and increase circular economic revenues by 50 per cent — all by 2025.

Despite not winning the big prize, Redman said there is still hope for the regions project. Area partners, businesses, and agencies had agreed to provide upwards of $100 million in cash and in-kind work to augment the $50 million government grant.

Regional Chief Administrative Officer Mike Murray said their task moving forward will be to approach those groups and see how they can keep that momentum going.

\”Really to go back to all the partners and say without that $50 million catalyst, what can we actually deliver?\” Murray said. \”Are companies willing to provide resources? Are there funders willing to put cash into this? Could some organizations pilot some things? Thats going to be the challenge.\”

The region and area municipalities partnered with the Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region, Well-being Waterloo Region, two local school boards, three post-secondary institutions, not-for-profits, and community service and government organizations.

Miovision, Google, Vidyard, Desire2Learn, Canadas Open Data Exchange, Communitech and other local tech companies were also partners.