The City of Estevan is developing a plan to become one of Canada's Smart Cities. They are applying to the federal government through a program called Smart Cities where cities from across the country present ideas on how their community can face their issues through technology and partnership.
"It's a challenge and it's a competition open municipalities, local, regional government, Indigenous communities," explained Dwight 'Fitz' Bramble. "It will empower communities across Canada to address local issues that their residents face through new partnerships using what they call a Smart Cities approach."
"This is a competition organized by the federal government. Each community has the opportunity to submit an application and if your application is selected as one of the finalists, they provide you with $250,000 to develop a comprehensive project proposal."
The first step in the process is the application.
"The application process is a very detailed process where you have to outline your idea of activities that you would like to undertake to bring our city up to be a Smart City. Utilizing technology and data and of course community involvement."
"Here at the City of Estevan, I have undertaken the task with the approval of the economic development board and the city council to prepare an application and submit it."
"There are several prizes if you win. They categorize you by the size of the population. For example, if your community applies within an open category, the prize is $50 million. Then there are two $10 million prizes for communities with populations less than 500,000 people. And then there's one prize of $5 million for communities under 30,000 people which is the category where we would most likely apply."
The deadline for the application is April 24th.
"My idea is to combine the corridor of Highway 39 which runs through Estevan and to combine that with the Southeast College here and also with all of our agricultural land and farmers that we have here in addition to our resource-based oil and coal, combine all of that into an idea that would undertake activities that would bring us up to a Smart City."
Each application must have a single sentence challenge statement.
"Our challenge statement would address the issue that Estevan which is traditionally a resource-based city, depending on oil and mining. The economy has been declining so our Smart Cities challenge statement is to revitalize Estevan up to the point where it would be one of the most productive cities in Canada."
"Our activities would involve utilizing that trade corridor and equipping it to accommodate driverless trucks for example to enhance trade and transportation. Some of the other ideas would be to utilize our farms here to supply the produce from their farms which can be developed and added value to so maybe we'd have something like a food processing plant which can also include greenhouse technology which of course would benefit from our potential geothermal energy activity."
"And also utilizing the SaskPower facilities that we have here. The intention is to involve the Southeast College as a resource centre to undertake all of the research activities that would be necessary."
"Another important issue would be to possibly utilize drone technology. For example, you would use drone technology to load up these automated trucks. You could use drone technology to transport produce from the farms to the processing facility. That is the direction we are hoping to go in."
"Obviously the details would be fleshed out once our application is selected as a finalist and the community would be much more involved."
Bramble added that town halls and other meetings would be held to gather opinions and feedback from the community.
Finalists will be announced this summer.
He added that even if the application is not chosen as one of the finalists, the City will still have a framework for which to move forward.