The Town’s bid is in!The Town of Cochrane submitted its Smart Cities Challenge application today, after Council endorsed the final proposal at their meeting last night.Cochrane is competing with communities across Canada for federal Smart Cities funding to use technology to improve residents’ quality of life.Cochrane’s Smart Cities submission proposes a Cochrane Cares Open City platform to combat isolation and loneliness by empowering and motivating every resident to meaningfully participate in community life — in Cochrane. Working with community residents and partners, we will help close the “digital divide” in our community and provide every resident with free access to wireless data and the Cochrane Cares platform.Cochrane Cares will support applications to spark connections between residents, making it easy to affordably move around the community, access support networks and programs, and meaningfully serve their neighbours. This approach makes it possible to build a fully connected and caring community.“Connecting our community is the main goal for this project,” says Mayor Jeff Genung. “I am excited to connect one hundred percent of Cochrane residents to Town services and to each other over our proposed free wireless network.”Every Smart Cities submission is required to have a 50-word challenge statement that outlines the local issue being addressed. Council supported this challenge statement at their April 23 meeting:Working together, our community will build a culture that empowers every resident who feels isolated or lonely to engage in local community life and develop meaningful relationships that inherently create a strong sense of belonging for everyone in the Cochrane area, and ultimately Canada.Cochrane’s proposal was developed by the Smart Cities Technical Advisory Team made up of Town officials and local business and technology experts. The team used data from the 2017 Cochrane Cares: Regional Well Being Review and feedback gathered this year in extensive public engagement sessions and online surveys.The Smart Cities Challenge is a program of Infrastructure Canada that will award grants between $5 million and $50 million to Canadian communities with the best ideas for using smart technology and practices to improve livability and local opportunities. The challenge encourages communities to be innovative by working with the private sector, not-for-profit organizations and the research community to identify local priorities, set goals and work together to develop bold ideas to address them.Cochrane is competing for the $5 million prize. The technical advisory team drafted a business plan for the proposal and identified $5 million as the appropriate level of funding to give Cochrane the best chance of winning Smart Cities funding and implementing the proposal.Communities selected as finalists this summer by the Smart Cities Challenge jury receive a grant of $250,000 to support the development of their detailed proposal and business case. Winners will be chosen from the finalists and announced in spring 2019. More: impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-citiesCochrane’s full proposal is available on LetsTalkCochrane.ca/SmartCitiesCaption: Cochrane’s Mayor and CAO worked with representatives from local tech companies on the town’s Smart Cities bid. Pictured (l-r): Victoria Brilz, 4iiii Innovations; Samantha Nickerson, urbancasual.ca; Kip Fyfe, 4iiii Innovations; Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung; Cochrane CAO Dave Devana; Erika Fyfe, 4iiii Innovations; Kevin Shier, Bird's Eye Technologies; Mark Eaton, The Corner Coworking; Nathan Klassen, Bison Transport; Ben Hilborn, 4iiii Innovations (missing: Tom Groenland, mcThings; Tom Edworthy, mcThings; Jason Marsland, Velocity ISP.