The City of Campbell River’s pitch to Infrastructure Canada for the Smart Cities Challenge involves making downtown ‘smart’ by making it into a ‘living lab’ with data collection and sharing technologies. The finalists for the $10-million award will be announced this summer.

City of Campbell River’s Smart Cities pitch focuses on homelessness and ‘smart’ infrastructure improvements

Infrastructure Canada will announce finalists this summer

Campbell River has officially submitted its application for the Infrastructure Canada $10 million Smart Cities Challenge.

The contest invited municipalities and communities from across the country to submit ideas on how to “use data and connected technologies to address their most pressing problems by encouraging technology innovation.” The City of Campbell River has decided the “pressing problem” they would like to address, should they win the award, is homelessness and improving safety in the downtown core.

“Throughout our community engagement for the Smart Cities Challenge, we saw a common theme in idea submissions and commentary from residents,” the city’s submission reads. “Many ideas touched on the needs of our vulnerable population and addressing their challenges downtown, while others provided solutions that would enhance quality of life and increase safety.”

The city’s pitch involves using data and technology innovation to create and foster connections between vulnerable people and a support network, which would begin with the installation of a kiosk that would provide Internet access, maps and transportation information, emergency alerts and tools to share information such as employment, housing and food availability updates. It will also be a place with a direct connection to emergency services.

“The kiosk would serve as a cornerstone to a holistic approach addressing the causes of homelessness such as substance abuse, joblessness or inadequate mental health care,” the pitch says. “A holistic approach recognizes each person as an individual with different needs rather than treating homelessness as a monolithic issue. It enables the individual to access the services and information they need and provides a means for support workers to connect with them.”

Phase 1 of the plan, should Campbell River be successful, would also involve a live video feed that would enable the city – and the public – to monitor traffic and other situations in the downtown in real time, as well as a “smart lighting” system that would each be a wifi hotspot, providing open Internet access, as well as reduce energy costs.

And for those who get frustrated looking for parking downtown, Phase 1 of the plan would also integrate “Smart Transportation Parking Sensors,” that have nodes designed to detect available parking spots.

Phase 2 of the program would incoporate an e-bike and electric car share program, along with road markings that are actually responsive in real-time to the needs of the area, to the point where the road surface itself could alter its makings to create crosswalks.

Infrastructure Canada will announce finalists this summer. Finalists will receive $250,000 to take their applications and develop a final proposal.

You can view the full application at

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