Region of Waterloo falls short in Smart Cities Challenge bid – Global News

Region of Waterloo falls short in Smart Cities Challenge bid - Global News
Guelph-Wellington bid wins $10 million in Smart Cities Challenge
The Region of Waterloo failed in its bid to win the federal governments Smart Cities Challenge Tuesday and the $50 million prize that goes along with it.

The region was one of five communities competing to win the top prize, along with Montreal, Surrey and Vancouver, Edmonton and Quebec City.

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.

Throughout the day, communities from across the country made presentations in Ottawa, looking to win a piece of the pie.

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.

The regions bid was driven by child and youth well-being with a focus on early child development, mental health, bullying, literacy rates, high school graduation rates and youth sense of belonging.

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.

Matthew Chandy presented Waterloo Regions idea at the Canadian Smart Cities Challenge Finalist Showcase.

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.

In Waterloo Region, we do things differently, he said. We are a community of collaborators and innovators that come together to get things done.

A total of four prizes worth a combined $75 million were 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.

Over the past year and a half, our community came together with one goal, Chandy said. To become the best community in Canada for children and youth.

\”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.\”

Many kids in Waterloo Region are struggling with early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health and they dont feel like they belong. They want to change this. We need to change this.

It hopes to build a dashboard which connected data from organizations around the region to measure child and youth well-being in the region against UNICEF’s Canada’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Index.

It would adapt the dashboard to work for communities across the country in hopes of helping Canada become a world leader in the area.

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.

OTTAWA – The Guelph-Wellington County idea of a circular food economy has won a $10 million prize in the federal government Smart Cities Challenge.

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.

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

Montreal walked away with the prize instead, and will use it to address systemic issues of urban life, including mobility and access to food.

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 

The challenge encouraged communities to utilize the possibility of connected technology and data to better the lives of Canadians. Participants created proposals and submitted them to the selection committee.

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

A total of $75 million CAD has been awarded, which will be divided between the winners. The winners will use the money to begin their proposed Smart City visions.

"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."

Twenty proposals were chosen and the creators were given $250,000 to turn their proposals into implementable practical plans.

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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