The Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) has welcomed the launch of the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge and has encouraged all municipalities to apply. The Union took part in the initial call for projects from Quebec with federal minister of transport, the Honorable Marc Garneau, in Montreal.
“Local governments are increasingly called upon to put innovative solutions in place to effectively meet the needs of their communities. The UMQ applauds the federal government’s commitment to recognizing the work of municipalities of all sizes and in all regions of Quebec,” said UMQ president and mayor of Drummondville, Alexandre Cusson.
“The UMQ’s Smart Cities Commission has been very active over the past few years in supporting municipalities to do the ‘smart’ thing by beefing up their citizen consultation and participation processes. In collaboration with CEFRIO, the Commission has also developed a smart city self-assessment tool exclusively for members of the Union. The Smart Cities Challenge will provide elected officials with ideas for innovative projects that they can learn from and apply in their communities,” said Vicki-May Hamm, mayor of Magog and chair of the UMQ Smart Cities Commission.
The Smart Cities Challenge aims to help communities across the country develop and implement Smart Cities initiatives of their own. As part of this first call for projects, municipalities have until April 24, 2018 to apply. The Smart Cities Challenge independent jury will announce the finalists in the summer of 2018 and the winners in the spring of 2019. Municipalities selected as finalists will receive a $250,000 grant to develop a detailed proposal and business plan. Winners will receive funding of up to $50 million to implement their proposals.
Côte Saint-Luc will be applying. I will be working on the Smart Cities (open government) dossier with Councillor Dida Berku, who has the citizen engagement portfolio. Several citizens, including District 2 residents Charles Guerin and Robert Leibner, are particularly interested in this project.
A big thanks to our former mayor and present-day Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather for supporting this initiative. "During the last municipal election there was a great deal of discussion about smart cities and transparency," he commented. "A great challenge for cities is the cost of implementing solutions that connect their residents with information. As such I am thrilled that the federal government will now assist municipalities in this area."