Time to get smarter

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It’s official, I want Cochrane to be a Smart City (Town). There has been much talk about my attendance at the recent conference on the topic and our pursuit of a federal grant to secure funding to help us on our way. Over the past weeks as awareness has risen over this Smart City initiative I have been asked, just what is a Smart City? How will this help Cochrane? What about traffic, I thought that was the main priority? All great questions!

A Smart City will take Cochrane to the next level on many stages. We are already a community that people flock to because of our proximity to Calgary, our wonderful river valley, and easy access to the Rockies, to name a few of the many things we have going for us. To add that we are a Smart City would complete the list. Here is a short explanation of what exactly “Smart City” means: think about taking all of the Smart Home technology and applying it on a wider level to the whole community.

As a Smart City, we would essentially use technology to help us become more efficient. This would amount to energy savings, labour savings and money savings. We can use technology in many ways — to help improve traffic flow, identify vacant parking spaces, connect businesses — the possibilities are limitless.

Beyond making us more efficient, there are the economics as well. By utilizing our fiber network in conjunction with a Smart City program, we would be the poster community for attracting the attention of our peers, and add dollars to our local economy while they come to see how we did it. Then there is the idea of a tech incubator — a facility to attract more clean, high-paying industry jobs for our kids graduating from Cochrane high schools, while at the same time paying commercial taxes to help alleviate the burden from residential.

I have barely scratched the surface, but I’m excited to discuss the potential possibilities over the next few weeks! Follow me on Facebook to keep in touch as we take our Smart Cities Challenge to you the public!

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