Smart Cities Stakeholder Engagement Session
Mayor Don Darling and Ron Gaudet, CEO of Enterprise Saint John, invited approximately 50 people to participate in a Smart City community dialogue to advance our community as a Smart City and to look at ways the community could solve problems using data and connected technology. The invitation list included representatives from agencies or organizations across the community that had a connection, a project or mandate in the areas of focus for the Smart Cities Challenge (Economic opportunity, Empowerment & Inclusion, Environment quality, Healthy Living & Recreation, Mobility, Safety & Security).
The workshop gave a broad cross-section of community stakeholders an update on the status of three key Smart City initiatives:
- Enterprise Saint John’s Smart and Connected Community Data Project
- The Cities of New Brunswick Association (CNBA)’s Smart Communities Project
- The Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge
The session was designed to solicit feedback from participants on the biggest problems they are currently facing and how a Smart Cities lens might help solve these problems. It was explained that while there is a large $10 million funding opportunity through the Smart Cities Challenge, there are also emerging smaller funding programs to accommodate a broad range of projects.
Participants were asked to identify significant challenges facing the community that fell under the pre-identified areas of focus. From this list, they selected those they felt to be the most compelling, that aligned with community priorities and where there was already momentum to build on.
Potential Challenges that emerged from the Smart Cities Stakeholder Engagement Session:
Climate Change Challenge: It is difficult to manage outcomes and lessen the effects of climate change and extreme weather events.
Energy Challenge: Rising energy costs have a negative impact on businesses and residents.
Population Challenge: Saint John is the only CMA in the country to show a declining population in the last census.
Citizen Engagement Challenge: A lack of digital connectivity makes it difficult for the Municipality to engage citizens and deliver responsive, quality services to residents.
Historical Asset Challenge: The City of Saint John has significant historical assets that are undervalued and inadequately leveraged to generate new tourism revenue and attract more tourists to our region.
Social Inclusion & Poverty Challenge: People in our community face social isolation due to conditions related to poverty, immigration and aging.