Letter to the editor 1, March 8, 2018

Time to think smarter

Dear Editor,

There is a competition now open for municipalities to make their towns ‘smarter.’ Sponsored by the Federal government, it provides cash grants of between $5 million and $50 million depending on the size of the town. The deadline to apply is April 24, 2018. I believe this to be an excellent spring-board in making ground-breaking changes within our communities that may have national and international repercussions. Correct me if I am wrong, but the last ground-breaking idea to emerge locally was Dr. June Irwin's pesticide ban (in Hudson). The key criterion of this competition is to, "Achieve meaningful outcomes for residents through the use of data and connected technology".

Typically, ‘smart cities’ can imply: the synchronization of traffic lights depending on traffic flow; the publishing of locations where the most crimes occur; or weather adaptive street lighting. However, I think we can think bigger.

Renewable energy – Let's add up all of the costs of heating, cooling, and vehicle fuels for the town buildings and vehicles and, armed with a sizeable grant, how could we slash the annual costs by 50 per cent? Geothermal systems? Hybrid or electric vehicles? Wind turbines? Smarter decision-making through better communication – I have lived in Hudson for over 20 years. I have been in the computer business for over 30 years. I would gladly contribute any expertise I have, for free, to help with any high-tech issues the town may have. And I personally know of others who would do the same. Hudson has the highest per-capita ratio of entrepreneurs than any other town in Canada. Can't we find a way to use the wisdom of the crowd in this, the 21st Century?

Food waste – It is estimated that 40 per cent of the food we use is thrown in the garbage and thus the landfill. Almost half! Whether from supermarkets, from restaurants, or from residents. And food waste in landfills produces methane which is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It could be used to produce nutrient-rich soil. Why could we not implement a program to collect food waste from local supermarkets and restaurants and provide a facility for residents? There are lots of great ideas. Let's get busy!

For more info on the program: impact.canada.ca/en/challenges/smart-cities Paul McTeigue Hudson

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