Prosperity Project a $250,000 winner for tech and transportation idea

Source: Times Colonist
Author: Richard Watts

Prosperity Project a $250,000 winner for tech and transportation idea

The 10 municipalities, five First Nations and assorted local agencies that agreed to sign on with the South Island Prosperity Project have earned a $250,000 prize.

Representing Greater Victoria, the South Island Prosperity Project edged out 126 other Canadian municipalities and groups — including Langford, Nanaimo, Kelowna and Penticton — to become one of 20 finalists in the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge.

The initiative, announced last November, challenged communities to improve life for their citizens using data and connected technology.

The South Island Prosperity Project’s submission centres on using smart technology to link citizens with a variety of available transportation modes, including buses, rental bicycles and carpools.

Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of the South Island Prosperity Project, said the group is excited to have been selected for the $250,000 grant.

“Our idea is around smart mobility and transportation as way to get around and how that will link to other issues like affordability, how you can get to your job, and general well-being of people,” she said.

The group can use the $250,000 grant to further develop its idea to compete for a $10-million prize.

The final winners will be announced next year.

Prizes include $5 million for a First Nation or a community under 30,000 people, $50 million for a large city, and two prizes of $10 million for cities with fewer than 550,000 people.

Formed in 2016 as a regional economic development agency, the South Island Prosperity Project aims to increase economic development, attract more senior government funding and better involve First Nations.

All but three capital region municipalities — Langford, Sooke and Metchosin — are members, and First Nations participation has grown, from one, the Songhees Nation, to include the Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip and Pauquachin First Nations.

Several businesses, associations and institutions, including the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College, are also members. The Times Colonist is a sponsor.