Councillors approve Smart City plan as recovery continues

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR THE NEXT GENERATION WAS THE NAME OF THE GAME ON SEP. 23 IN MISSISSAUGA, AS COUNCILLORS APPROVED A GROWTH PLAN AT THEIR REGULAR GENERAL COMMITTEE MEETING. THE SMART CITY MASTER PLAN, APPROVED AT THE MEETING, LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR HOW MISSISSAUGA WILL MANAGE FUTURE GROWTH THROUGH TECHNOLOGY, AS WELL AS HOW THE CITY HAS USED TECH INITIATIVES DURING THE COVID- 19 PANDEMIC.

“DURING THE PANDEMIC AND AS WE MOVE FURTHER INTO RECOVERY, THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY WILL BE KEY IN ENSURING OUR CITY CONTINUES TO RUN EFFECTIVELY AND EFFICIENTLY. FROM THE RAPID SWITCH TO ONLINE FOR MANY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND RESOURCES TO IMPLEMENTING A SUCCESSFUL WORK-FROM-HOME MODEL FOR MOST OF OUR WORKFORCE, INNOVATIONS WERE PUT IN PLACE TO ENSURE ESSENTIAL SERVICES CONTINUED,” SAID MAYOR BONNIE CROMBIE.

“MANY OF THESE INNOVATIONS WERE ENABLED BY EXISTING SMART CITY TECHNOLOGIES INCLUDED IN THE SMART CITY MASTER PLAN. FROM THE ONSET OF COVID-19, THE FOCUS HAS REMAINED ON KEEPING CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES SAFE, CONNECTED AND INFORMED AS WE CONTINUE TO POSITION THE CITY FOR THE FUTURE.” THE SMART CITY MASTER PLAN WAS ENDORSED BY MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL ON JULY 3, 2019 AND IS GUIDED BY A SET OF GOALS AND A SMART CITY FRAMEWORK THAT PROVIDES GOVERNANCE OVER SMART CITY PLANNING. THE PLAN FOCUSES ON HOW TECHNOLOGY WILL CONTINUE TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN MISSISSAUGA FOR EVERYONE AND HELP PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE. “THE PANDEMIC HAS ALTERED THE WAY WE WORK AND ENGAGE WITH RESIDENTS, EMPLOYEES AND BUSINESSES,” SAID GARY KENT, THE CITY’S COMMISSIONER OF CORPORATE SERVICES AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER.

“IN OUR COMMITMENT TO CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT, WE’VE MODIFIED AND ACCELERATED THE DELIVERY OF OUR DIGITAL SERVICES AND PROGRAMS. AS WE CONTINUE TO MOVE THROUGH RECOVERY, OUR PLAN IS TO BUILD BACK BETTER AND LEVERAGE THE OPPORTUNITIES REALIZED DURING THE PANDEMIC TO MAKE LASTING CHANGES TO CUSTOMER SERVICE.” THE TYPES OF TECHBASED INITIATIVES USED TO ENHANCE THE CITY DURING THE PANDEMIC INCLUDED: • CRITICAL IN-PERSON SERVICES SUCH AS LIBRARY SERVICES, FITNESS CLASSES AND REGISTRATION FOR PROGRAMS AND SERVICES WERE TRANSFORMED TO DIGITAL FORMATS. •

HYBRID AND VIRTUAL COUNCIL MEETINGS WERE IMPLEMENTED WITH THE FIRST HYBRID VIRTUAL COUNCIL MEETING HELD JUST DAYS AFTER THE CLOSURE OF CITY FACILITIES. • AN ADDITIONAL 200-PLUS OUTDOOR HOTSPOTS FOR FREE PUBLIC WI-FI WERE ENABLED IN LOCATIONS THAT SUPPORTED SOCIAL DISTANCING • NEW MOBILE TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT CITY ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND FRONTLINE WORKERS. “WITH A GREAT DEAL OF INNOVATION AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION REALIZED TO SUPPORT THE RESPONSE TO COVID-19, IT IS NOW TIME TO LEVERAGE OUR SMART CITY ASSETS TO SUPPORT THE RESPONSE AND RECOVERY NEEDS OF THE CITY,” SAID SHAWN SLACK, DIRECTOR OF IT AND CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER.

“IN THE SHORT TERM, A FOCUS ON SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESILIENCE IS REQUIRED TO AID THE COMMUNITY, BUSINESSES AND THOSE AT RISK. WE HAVE WORKED HARD TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH WITH THE OPEN DATA CHALLENGE, ENABLE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY THROUGH PROGRAMS LIKE LAPTOP DONATIONS AND FREE PUBLIC WI-FI AND SUPPORT THE ECONOMY THROUGH NEW DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM FOR BUSINESSES IN MISSISSAUGA THAT WILL ENABLE COLLABORATION AND NEW PARTNERSHIPS. THE NEED FOR INNOVATIVE, DIGITAL SOLUTIONS DOES NOT STOP AS THE ROAD TO RECOVERY CONTINUES AND MISSISSAUGA BUILDS BACK BETTER.”

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
editor@asiametro.ca

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