“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past” – Thomas Jefferson.
In looking at Cochrane’s history one thing stays the same. People know Cochrane as a place of opportunity.
Ranching was our past, a commuter town is our now, but new technologies are going to shape our future. Cochrane has a high quality of life that continually attracts new residents and recently we’ve been recognized as one of the 20 “Game-Changing Places to Live” and touted as the next “Silicon Valley North.”
We have an opportunity to take Cochrane to the next level, to make our amazing community even better, and to be a leader in making life easier for people. The Smart Cities Challenge is a federal project with up to $50 million on the line. The goal is to encourage cities to innovate with technology to improve residents’ lives. We’ve heard about driverless cars and drones delivering pizza but imagine Cochrane’s traffic being improved by lights being controlled by need, sensors monitoring the river during flood season, or saving power by automatically dimming street lights when there is no traffic.
Taking up the Smart Cities Challenge could be a catalyst for Cochrane’s future. We have so many advantages that we need to rope together. We have leading-edge, high-tech firms, dark fibre internet to support businesses and residents, a highly educated population, land for businesses to expand, and a great location. Imagine the proposed Greystone homes, businesses, streets, and infrastructure being built with Smart City technology from the get-go.
Bringing this all together could not only improve our lives and put Cochrane on the leading edge, but provide real jobs, attract more business, support the tax base and ensure Cochrane has a sustainable independent future.
Whether Cochrane takes up the Smart Cities Challenge or not, we have a choice. We can look back and try to re-create the past or we can round up our resources and create an enviable future on our terms.