VICTORIA – If you had the opportunity to address one challenge facing the South Island region, what would it be? Is your commute driving you crazy? Would you tackle the affordable housing issue? Maybe health and wellbeing are at the top of your list?

Don’t miss your opportunity to weigh-in on the future of our region on November 25, when the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) hosts the first of two Smart South Island Symposiums.

The Symposiums, which were inspired by the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge, will provide a platform for citizens to debate the opportunities and challenges that come with the smart and sustainable development of our region. This free 3.5-hour event will be held at the Victoria Conference Centre and is open to all members of the public.

As the region’s economic development agency, SIPP is coordinating the South Island’s proposal for the Smart Cities Challenge in an effort to win $10 million in funding to put towards smart initiatives that will improve livability for all residents.

This interactive session facilitated by Happy Cities author, Charles Montgomery, is designed to provide guests an opportunity to engage with speakers, ask questions and vote in real-time on what challenges our region should try to solve with ‘smart’ solutions.

The keynote speaker, CGI Future Cities expert Jose Quadrio Alves, will address Smart City megatrends being adopted around the globe. Following this, a local panel of experts will discuss some of the possibilities and opportunities for our region to create positive social outcomes by applying smart technology in areas such as: housing, transportation and mobility, economic resiliency and inclusion, human health and environmental health.

Participants will have an opportunity to help define the problems to be solved for the SIPP’s submission to the federal Smart Cities Challenge.

Building upon the momentum from the November 25th event, SIPP will be holding an open Innovation Challenge at a second Smart South Island Symposium – tentatively scheduled for late January.

Groups will be invited to pitch their best ‘smart’ pilot project ideas for a chance to compete for three prize packages valued at $15,000. The prize money is to help refine pilot projects, and an opportunity to be included in the South Island’s federal Smart Cities Challenge proposal to the federal government.

Details of the Innovation Challenge, along with criteria for the pilot projects will be announced the week prior to the first Symposium on November 25.