Surrey Named Among World’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities
SURREY – The City of Surrey has been named as one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 by New York-based think tank Intelligent Community Forum. The ICF studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Its mandate is to educate communities on how to build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures.
“As the most rapidly growing city in the region, investing in technology and innovation is crucial to building a city that is ready for the challenges of the future,” said Mayor Linda Hepner. “The Top 7 distinction given to us is fitting as the City of Surrey has been at the forefront in our use of digital technology to foster economic, social and cultural opportunities.”
Out of more than 300 nominations, the City of Surrey is the lone Canadian city in the Top 7 list and is now in contention for the prestigious designation of ‘Intelligent Community of the Year.’ The other six cities and towns on the list include three communities from the United States, and one from Taiwan, Australia and Brazil respectively.
“This is a significant milestone for Surrey as it acknowledges that the City is on the right track with sustainable economic growth, innovative service delivery, and sound infrastructure investments,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of the Investment and Innovation Committee.
Surrey’s progressive approach is outlined in its “Smart Surrey Strategy” which provides a framework to build a city that uses technology and innovation to transform life and work within the region. Strategy initiatives include:
• Innovation Boulevard, an agile partnership of health, business, higher education and government which is creating new health technologies to improve peoples’ lives in the areas of medical devices, independent living and digital health.
• The City is building an Organic Waste Biofuel Processing Facility which will process the city’s organic waste into a 100% renewable fuel. This fuel will then be used to power Surrey’s waste collection vehicles, creating the only sustainable closed-loop system in North America.
• Surrey City Energy has been established to implement and operate district energy systems within the City. A district energy system distributes thermal energy (i.e. heated water) by way of a common heat source and pipe system to buildings in a defined neighborhood. These systems are an efficient and effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing low GHG-emission energy sources.
• The City’s state-of-the-art Traffic Management Centre, began operating in the fall of 2014; this Centre allows adjustments of traffic signals based on real-time traffic flow. It is the most advanced municipal centre of its kind in BC. This centralized control system controls 320 traffic signals and 16 coordinated corridors.
• The “My Surrey App” is a convenient alternative for residents to engage and interact with the city. The app acts a portal for all Surrey apps and also includes features such as service request reporting, news, events, facility locations, job listings, bike routes, and parking.
• An Open Data Catalogue, comprising more data sets than any other municipality in Canada, available free on the City website. The catalogue includes datasets on crime, financial information and restaurant inspections.
• Citywide Wi-Fi service in partnership with Shaw Communications Inc. which will be offered free at more than 40 key locations throughout the city, including recreation centres, and a number of parks, civic buildings and public spaces.
Nominated communities provided a detailed explanation of programs and initiatives that address IFM’s five intelligent community indicators; broadband access, a knowledge based workforce, innovation, digital inclusion and marketing and advocacy.
One community will be chosen in June 2015 to succeed Toronto as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.