City Council for Innovation supports regional projects 2022

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Some high-tech projects are coming to Bruce County communities this year.

The Municipal Innovation Council of the Port Elgin Nuclear Innovation Institute says it used about $500,000 in external funding to run a few new projects.

They focus on beach water safety, flood mapping, local information technology collaboration, workplace mental health and reconciliation.

The Municipal Innovation Council is made up of the eight municipalities of Bruce County and is part of the NII Municipal Innovation Center. Director Becky Smith recently shared an update with local municipalities on the projects. She notes that the goal of the Municipal Innovation Center is to collaborate and find solutions to improve municipal services for residents, visitors and businesses. This includes finding ways to be more efficient and save costs.

A key project is the Smart Beaches project at Station Beach in Kincardine, which will measure wave action on Lake Huron and help people determine if it is safe to use the water. This is done in partnership with the University of Windsor. The MIC says it’s the first project of its kind in North America.

Another project is a high-tech flood mapping system called Mapping Our Future. The goal is to replace old, outdated maps and help communities prepare for fluctuating water levels and shoreline erosion, as well as help municipal decision makers identify areas at risk and propose mitigation strategies for these.

Data will be collected using aerial imagery in partnership with Ecopia AI and imagery from a large mapping project called the South West Ontario Orthoimagery Project (SWOOP).
It will be shared with Bruce County municipalities, local conservation authorities and Indigenous communities. The mapping system can also be used for municipal planning and engineering, pavement and stormwater management, ecosystem mapping, and forest cover analysis.

The Municipal Innovation Council says that using this new mapping technology will save years of manual work on the internal geographic information system. Funding for this project came from the Federal Government’s Natural Disaster Mitigation Program.

The MIC release says Mayor Luke Charbonneau expressed his enthusiasm for the Mapping Our Future project at a recent meeting, saying, “The mapping project is critical and will directly benefit landowners in Bruce County municipalities.

Meanwhile, Smith says the council’s eight communities also participated in a review of joint IT business opportunities. It sought to improve digital maturity, achieve cost savings and modernize digital services for residents over the next five years.

MIC also recently partnered with the Gray Bruce Local Immigration Partnership to offer workshops on creating more welcoming communities. Over 150 municipal employees from Gray and Bruce counties participated in the workshops.

Smith says, “These professional development opportunities give municipal employees the chance to expand their knowledge and discuss how we can build more welcoming and inclusive communities in our rural area.

She says training opportunities focused on mental health in the workplace for city staff and elected officials will take place this year. Emphasis will also be placed on sharing knowledge of local Indigenous history to advance reconciliation efforts.

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