Penticton's full submission


Question 1

Please provide the following information on your community.


Name of community: City of Penticton

Province/Territory: British Columbia

Population: 33,761

Indigenous community: No

Question 2

Please select a prize category.


$10 million (population under 500,000 residents)

Question 3

Please define your Challenge Statement in a single sentence that guides your preliminary proposal. It should describe the outcome (or outcomes) you hope to achieve. (50 words max)


Let’s build a physically & mentally healthier, strongly-connected Penticton where each person has access and opportunity to maximize their health potential.

Question 4

Please describe the outcome (or outcomes) your proposal seeks to achieve by elaborating on your Challenge Statement. (2,500 words max)


Our Challenge Statement is bold, ambitious and achievable - and right for Penticton.

Academic researchers recognize that community and individual well-being comes from a complex interplay of social, cultural, economic and environmental factors, and that good health is key to a flourishing and prosperous community. This is the fundamental principle behind our Challenge Statement. We believe that through data and open technology we can make a meaningful impact on the social determinants of health and strengthen ties between residents. In so doing we will be able to promote good physical and mental health for people, neighbourhoods and city of Penticton.

Further, most experts agree that broader determinants of health are more important than health care in ensuring a healthy population[1] and that there is close correlation between strong social connections to physical and mental health. As our engagement efforts demonstrated, Penticton residents share the fundamental human desire for a sense of belonging. Our communities are stronger when citizens are able to experience a sense of belonging and can put their energies toward demonstrating civic responsibility, respect for others, social well-being and volunteerism.

Penticton’s Challenge Statement seeks to address the social determinants of health that are particularly pressing in our community and experienced across Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines social determinants of health as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. A social determinants approach to health defines a ‘healthy person’ not as someone free from disease but as someone with the opportunity for meaningful work, secure housing, stable relationships, high self-esteem and healthy habits.  

It ties in with the concept of “good health” and “health potential” for which we turn to Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health for the WHO, to help inform our definition. Sir Marmot highlights unfairness in the immediate, visible circumstances of people’s lives – their access to health care, schools, and education, conditions of work and leisure, homes, communities, towns, or cities – and the correlation of leading a flourishing life, or, per the words of our Challenge Statement - maximizing their “health potential”. The crux of our Challenge Statement is also inspired by a quote from Sir Marmot “Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick[2]?”

In Penticton, our community physical and mental wellbeing falls below the provincial average and quality of life satisfaction is declining[3]. Mood and anxiety disorders in Penticton are 11 percentage points higher than the provincial average with 42% in the region with a mood or anxiety disorder. Depression specifically is 12 percentage points higher than the provincial average with 37% in the region having depression. With other chronic diseases very close to the provincial average these stand out.  

The Okanagan area health and wellness indicators are below the provincial average for both mental and physical health[4]. Lifestyle factors such as being overweight[5] and heavy drinking[6] are also above the provincial average. Our Standardized Mortality Ratio by Cause of death for suicide (1.44), drug induced deaths (1.42) and alcohol related deaths (1.25) are much higher than expected.

In light of these statistics, it may not come as a surprise that over sixty percent of the local RCMP detachment’s calls for service are for social issues such as substance abuse, poverty, homelessness and mental health. Not only does this point to an urgent need to build a healthier Penticton, it also demonstrates that the benefits will extend to other services. For example, policing resources will be able to focus on targeting the small percentage of “prolific offenders”. In the words of Supt. Ted De Jager,  “Our job is to target them [the prolific offenders], however we spend the majority of our time on social issues.”

Building a healthier Penticton will also help address the perception gap we have in our community related to public safety. A recent national survey placed Penticton as Canada’s 16th most dangerous city which is an unfair representation of crime statistics and what they mean. The reality is that Penticton is a very safe community, however, Supt. Ted De Jager cites examples of residents saying that they will not venture downtown. By acting on our Challenge Statement we will create vibrancy through people engaging in their community, be that downtown (which is very safe) or the beaches or events. The more vibrancy, the higher the sense of safety and wellness. By rallying the community around building a Healthier Penticton we will find common ground to build increased connection and communication in a collaborative manner.

We also have a compelling body of data and evidence that suggests that our residents recognize the need for greater attention to health and wellbeing in our community.

We received just over 1300 responses to two surveys that specifically showed that improved access to health care services for residents was the top issue of importance. 41% of respondents identified this topic. Further, 15.1% of respondents identified that enhanced connection between residents was a priority. Our Challenge Statement effectively combines these two top issues to reflect the priority views of 56% of survey respondents. We invite you to view our website for further insights into our engagement and methodology:

These views align with a 2017 City of Penticton in-person survey of 101 businesses representing a large portion of our workforce (augmented with a further 92 online questionnaires) which brought to light several overarching themes felt in the business community: disconnectedness in the general community, concerns around safety, a desire for more bike-friendly policies, and a need for content about Penticton’s successes and unique qualities to both residents and visitors.

We are particularly excited about the inclusive nature of our Challenge Statement. The WHO’s report on social determinants of health notes that health is a rallying point for different sectors and actors. We believe our Challenge Statement will be a point of unification for our community and enable the public and private sectors, along with non profit and interest groups to find common ground.

The following section will address the specific metrics we will use to measure the outcomes of our Challenge Statement.

Social and economic factors have a complex, dynamic and multi-directional relationship with people’s health. While much is known about their impact on people’s health, relatively little is understood about the impact of individuals’ health on society and the economy. In order to measure the impact of our Challenge Statement we will first need to measure and understand the problem to allow us to access the impact of our action. As the WHO notes in its report on the social determinants of health (World Health Organization 2008 Report: Closing a gap in a generation), “no data often means no recognition of the problem”. Good evidence on levels of health and its distribution, and on the social determinants of health, is essential for understanding the scale of the problem, assessing the effects of actions, and monitoring progress.

Bespoke and replicable measurement system: As outlined in more detail in question 6, we will define the quality of life metrics that are important to our community and define our base level and identify tangible levels of progress. We anticipate that the index will identify social determinants of health that are not currently tracked. For example, feeling safe and secure in our communities is measured not only by numbers of crimes but also by the richness of our relationships and connectedness with our neighbours. Similarly, a healthy community actively addresses equality, access, and inclusion in order to promote opportunities for its residents. The availability of community services and meaningful work is critical for anyone entering a new phase of life.

In addition to measuring our Challenge Statement outcomes and providing a clear strategy to measure progress, we anticipate that our proposed measurement system will also become a source of new insights into community risk patterns. By tracking the social determinants of health Penticton will be able to adopt preventive and proactive solutions to enhance physical and mental well-being based on insights into risk factors and trends. We also expect that this customizable tool will be highly transferable to other communities.  

Improved ease of mobility: Mobilizing the community more effectively requires a holistic transportation approach where we enhance the existing services and also encourage healthy transportation options such as walking and biking. In our survey, many people cited feelings of being unsafe as reasons to keep them from cycling, or from being out in the evenings. In addition, our survey revealed that sporadic bus service and costly taxis also played a part in people choosing to drive, or not to go out at all. Restricted access to social and health-related activities is holding people back from achieving their maximum health potential.

A wide variety of accessible transit options is necessary to properly support the diversity, health and environmental sustainability of our region’s communities. The availability of these options allows citizens to be actively engaged in their communities. We note that per our 2016 census data, 2.2% of commuters use public transit, 2.5% cycle and 12% walk. By promoting a range of easily accessible and healthier means of transit we intend to double the number of commuters on transit, bikes or on foot as a key measure of a healthier, more accessible and connected community.

Increased volunteership: A strong relationship between volunteering and health has been established. Academic studies consistently demonstrate that there is a significant relationship between volunteering and good health; when individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of greater longevity, higher functional ability, or lower rates of depression.

This connection between volunteering, social psychological factors, and social networks has been captured by what has been termed “social integration theory,” or “role theory,” which holds that an individual’s social connections, typically measured by the number of social roles that an individual has, can provide meaning and purpose to his or her life, while protecting him or her from isolation in difficult periods. However, research also suggests that volunteer activities for those who serve more than just a social network to provide support and alleviate stress; volunteering also provides individuals with a sense of purpose and life satisfaction.

Penticton has a long history of volunteering often hosting events with thousands of people attending.  This can contribute to volunteer burnout, or the large events easier able to get volunteers, while the smaller non-profits and events have a difficult time finding volunteers.  With our 65+ population at just under 30% of our total population we have a unique opportunity to encourage an increase in volunteering in our community with our technology solutions. We will identify baseline perceptions and participation in volunteering through our measurement system and seek to ensure that the benefits and opportunities around volunteering are well understood and the percentage of our population engaging in some form of volunteering increases over time and as compared to comparable sized communities.

Increased civic engagement and participation: Most people have a deep need to feel they belong to a culture, a community, or a cause. Our communities are stronger when citizens are able to experience a sense of belonging and can put their energies toward demonstrating civic responsibility, respect for others, social well-being and volunteerism.

Penticton recognizes that civic engagement is a fundamental requirement for healthy communities. It fortifies democratic practices and institutions by promoting decision-making that takes into account the ideas, knowledge and wisdom that resides in the community. Voting and consultation processes are not enough; community members need to strengthen their voice and collectively take action to improve community conditions. Civic engagement sustains and enhances the capacity of all its members to build a caring and mutually responsible society in which everyone plays a role in economic and social well-being.

In the fall of 2016, Penticton launched an online platform to foster greater involvement of the community. Since taking these steps, the City has run 25 different engagement programs, dramatically increasing the number of opportunities for citizens to get involved in person or online. Like most municipal governments, Penticton is challenged to achieve a meaningful representation in its engagement activities. Current participation levels fluctuate between 1% and 3% of the population.

By acting on our Challenge Statement, we will increase registration on, the City’s online engagement platform, from 2,500 (representing 7% of the population) to 5,100 (representing 15% of the population) and will consistently achieve a minimum participation in city-wide surveys of 5% of the population.

With a dramatic increase in its database of registered members, the City will significantly improve its ability to gather input from a meaningful and representative sample of the community, contributing to better decisions that reflect the interests of the entire community and increasing the individual residents feeling of belonging. While there is a desire to increase participation through and it provides a relevant measure,Smart Cities also recognizes that not all citizens have the ability to get involved online. As a result, the City will always encourage participation in person and in paper.

Improved Vital Signs: Our Community Foundation publishes a Vital Signs report that confirms the findings we have found through other means. We have several areas ranked at B+ or lower, and a few at D+ or lower.  We would like to help the community understand the social value of responding to this survey to increase responses to a minimum of 15% of the population. We expect that we will be able to help raise anything in the B level to be at a minimum of A- and work on moving the D’s up to a C+.

Health inequalities are a striking social injustice that require a community led, collaborative solution. With this area of focus our Challenge Statement creates common ground for the community itself to address the true needs of the community. Penticton is ready to respond to this bold and meaningful challenge.


[1]Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, Health Canada, Population and Public Health Branch. AB/NWT 2002, quoted in Kuznetsova, D. (2012) Healthy places: Councils leading on public health. London: New Local Government Network

[2]The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World

[3]South Okanagan Vital Signs Report 2013

[4]Interior Health Health and Wellness Indicators 2015 – 2016

[5]South Okanagan Vital Signs Report 2013

[6]Interior Health Health and Wellness Indicators 2015 – 2016

Question 5

Please describe how your community residents have shaped your Challenge Statement. Describe your plans for continuing to engage and involve them in your final proposal going forward. (1,500 words max)


The City of Penticton is privileged to submit our application as conceived, driven and led by a volunteer group of resident changemakers  - the core-team of eight individuals who led our smart cities proposal, aligned with and built upon existing City plans and generated a palpable sense of optimism and excitement in our community.

We take pride in holding ourselves to the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) standards for public participation and believe this application is a shining example of the entire IAP2 spectrum of Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate and Empower.

Prior to approaching the City with their plan, the core-team sought to inform and consult with the community, gathering initial support in the form of volunteer commitment and excitement by boldly declaring victory in a local paper. City Council was presented with a comprehensive, well considered and compelling argument to support our community in this challenge.

Enthusiastic support from Council was first demonstrated by unanimous passing of Council’s viewing of the core-team’s intentions, highlighting their alignment with the Six Council Priorities, a bold adoption in 2017.

City Staff were immediately consulted and the core-team worked to align their plan with existing City initiatives. Including the active development of the Official Community Plan (OCP), the OCP’s Transportation Sub Committee’s focus on a Holistic Transportation Approach, which champions mobility equity and the City’s latest online initiative In addition to capitalizing on current initiatives, the core-team recognized the need to draw on recent City engagement including the Economic Development department’s 2017 Business Climate Survey, and upcoming opportunities such as the implementation in 2018 of the RCMP’s Community Active Support Table (CAST) program which is designed to bring stakeholders in policing, help for the homeless and addicted and other marginalized groups together to respond with police in providing assistance rather than prosecution to those individuals at odds with the law due to their social circumstances.

The most obvious opportunity to collaborate with the core-team was with the existing programming of the OCP process. The OCP is Penticton’s largest public engagement process in recent time and alignment with the Smart Cities Challenge is timely and synergistic.

Designed to inform, consult and involve the community, ExpOCP was a three day public event, providing an excellent opportunity to showcase the core-team’s intentions. The  core-team engaged the public through a design thinking process known as “How might we?”. The process effectively engaged residents to think about solutions and ideas, versus problems and to drill down to the root cause of pressing issues.  Over 800 residents voiced their Smart Cities issue priorities and possible solutions. Based on themes gleaned from existing data gathered from over 1000 people at 14 unique and diverse OCP events, the posters asked questions designed to drill into existing community concerns, such as “How Might We Improve the Health of Penticton?” and “How Might Technology Help Solve the Problem?”. The dialogue between residents, the core-team and City staff was involved and challenging. Many residents were focused on trying to learn what the Challenge was and what a Smart City is; the 100 plus post it notes per poster speak to the event’s success.

Working tightly with City staff, the core-team and their growing fleet of volunteers engaged the community from numerous angles. Highlights include:

- Being present at City roundtable sessions to better understand City priorities and existing issues.

- Standing room only for support at Council meetings

- Engaging Academic Urban Planning and Interior Health experts at public forums

- Attending the Healthy Living trade fair to engage with the majority of health providers in the region, gaining insight into the challenges from a provider’s perspective, which started to seed Outcomes.

- Organizing numerous community stakeholder activities, intentionally engaging under 30s, over 50s and various ethnic groups.

- The volunteer team’s first survey gathered 1143 responses in 2 weeks and helped us narrow our theme down to a “Healthy Penticton” with 10% under 18 reporting and 15% 65+

- The volunteer team’s second survey was designed to gather written feedback on the subject of a Healthy Penticton, technology solutions, gathering information on community organizations and events, and what makes Penticton great.  We received 191 positive and thoughtful responses that gave us clear direction for our outcomes and solutions. 47% of the responses were from 55+ and 15% were in the under 34 age demographic

- The “10 for Penticton” project resulting in 163 documented occasions, which involved more than 2000 individuals. Check out our #10forPenticton photo gallery

- Altering our iconic 50’ tall Penticton mountain-side sign to PenticTEN to show support and increase conversation

- A contest for school children to make a 30-60 second video about how they think technology can help make real connections

- Over 20 news stories published in local media over four months

- Aggregated consultation with approximately 15% of Penticton’s population

A community initiative that warrants more detail is “10 For Penticton”.

The core-team explored numerous ways involve the public in the decision process, the most dramatic was the creation of several three foot tall, bright blue number 10s to refer to the $10 million smart cities prize. Referred to as “#TenForPenticton” the icons travelled with volunteers to community meetings such as Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, First Nations and Unity House, social venues, non-profit board meetings, various community events and workplaces. Over 163 photos were taken of the community with the “10”, involving more than 2000 individuals. Each photo represents multiple conversations and occasions where the volunteer team were able to inform, consult and collaborate with the wider community.

The “10” crossed political and social boundaries, starting conversations with diverse groups from marginalized residents at Unity House, through to political leaders Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party Leader, John Horgan, Premier of BC, Richard Cannings, local MP, and Dan Ashton local MLA.

The positive narrative and media coverage generated by this activity gave the core-team a huge body of insight which further refined our Challenge Statement’s emerging theme.

The core-team’s emerging theme was a Healthier Penticton.

Supported by analysis of the data gained from the City’s OCP process, ongoing surveys and continual community consultation, Penticton’s community brought to light four major areas of interest: Revitalization, Sustainability, Health, and Safety. The core-team’s decision to settle on a Healthier Penticton was presented and unanimously supported by City Council as a theme allowing the development of a Challenge Statement with potential for significant impact across the most dominant community concerns. Further supported by the team’s active involvement with community and regional stakeholders, this theme presents numerous opportunities to align with existing programs in the areas of Mental Health and Public Health and Safety, deepening the potential gain of the Challenge’s outcomes.

To better understand the challenges in attaining a Healthier Penticton, the core-team collaborated with stakeholders through meetings and forums, where expert opinion was obtained to further refine our focus within the theme. Opinion was heard from academic (UBCO), health (Interior Health, CMHA) and other key providers and experts in the region. The City and core-team gained significant insight and clarity from these sessions, adding weight to some areas and debunking others. The core-team’s inclusion of professionals in surrounding fields of thought and applying it alongside the community’s concerns, provided a clear path to defining our Challenge Statement.

Continuing to involve the community, the iconic 10s are now starting conversation around our chosen Challenge Statement, seeking out potential collaboration opportunities. Dialogue is continuing between community members, academics and health professionals on best practices and potential projects.

Discussions have started with the Core Team and City staff concerning the governance which includes a steering committee and working to guide successful implementation of our plan.

The Smart Cities Challenge has already changed the future of Penticton.

The positive dialogue created around the Challenge has fueled a surge in community engagement with the City, that can only be achieved through successful grassroots movement. Thanks to the depth of the community engagement described above, the timing and alignment of the Challenge with the City’s existing OCP process and Council Priorities is recognized by all. What the core-team continue to bring to light is the readiness and desire for change and advancement in Penticton that will sustain the outcomes of this Challenge.

A truly community-led initiative, Penticton’s Smart Cities Challenge application has demonstrated the power of passionate public participation and motivated multiple talented professionals living in the city to volunteer to build this proposal. Penticton is home to people with an impressive array of talent and experience who have demonstrated their passion for building a stronger, smarter city. The City of Penticton is proud to submit our application on behalf of our community and is committed to empowering our community by fulfilling the vision of our Challenge Statement.

Question 6

Please describe your preliminary proposal and its activities or projects. (2,000 words max)


We have identified seven bold, ambitious, meaningful projects that will respond to our Challenge Statement and build on existing technologies and leverage community talent to transform health in our community. Our projects fall under two categories: Community Connections and Transportation/Mobility. The former addresses projects that enable Penticton’s community to find the resources, information, and individuals that will help them reach their maximum health potential and improve key social determinants of health. The latter seeks to create a holistic transportation approach that will encourage people to be more active in the community and use alternative modes of transport to engage in the community and more easily connect to services needed. We believe the quantity and scope of our projects is both bold and ambitious and know that our unique community can deliver.

With a population of 33,761, Penticton is big enough that we have significant challenges, but small enough that we can roll out city-wide projects effectively and rapidly gather feedback.

Community Connections: We have identified four initial projects: a customized set of indicators to measure Penticton’s quality of life; acceleration of Geographic Information System (GIS) to develop community owned and accessible data; a Community App to facilitate connection and a volunteer database.

Transportation and mobility: We have identified three projects: on demand transit; smart sensor lights and bike sensors to deter bike theft and encourage bike use.

The projects have been identified because of the potential to drive systemic and sustainable change without being beyond the scope of the prize category or our current community resources. We now provide a synopsis of each proposed project.

Blueprint for Change: A customized set of indicators to measure our quality of life. Current data on quality of life is lacking because the research is designed to evaluate communities against each other and thus uses generic research categories. To identify meaningful baseline data for Penticton we will build on best in class research methodologies to tailor the research to our community’s need. This will create a valuable data set for us to track and measure against over time and provide a tool that other communities can use to customize to their unique characteristics and needs.

It will require aggregation of existing datasets from local organizations and information systems as well as engaging data specialists to overlay diverse and disparate datasets. There is much data available through myriad sources which is not being leveraged and existing local datasets are often telling a partial story.  

We anticipate defining a series of ‘levels’ that as a community we will strive to achieve a higher level of quality of life and overcome barriers to achieving health potential. We will leverage technology to incorporate gamification, which is well-understood to assist in driving desired behavior.

We plan to explore technologies such as low-powered wide area and mesh networks to provide ubiquitous and resilient access to resources, access that is universal and not restricted by economics, two-way emergency messaging, and enable non-invasive data collection that will drive deeper understanding of community needs through sensors.

This project aligns with a key recommendation from WHO Report on Social Determinants of Health that encourages communities around the world to “Measure the problem, evaluate action, expand the knowledge base, develop a workforce that is trained in the social determinants of health, and raise public awareness about the social determinants of health.” In this report, WHO suggests that communities invest in and share new evidence on the ways in which social determinants influence population health and health equity and on the effectiveness of measures to reduce health inequities through action. This is precisely what we intend to do.

Accelerate GIS advancement: Penticton is in the early stages of its GIS strategy to use and share data smartly. As outlined in the aforementioned WHO report, communities that ensure access to basic goods, that are socially cohesive, that are designed to promote good physical and psychological well-being and that are protective of the natural environment are essential for health equity. We intend to leverage GIS technology to ensure that urban planning promotes healthy and safe behaviours equitably.

By bringing multiple organizations together, our improvements in GIS will drive collaboration across public, private and non-profit sectors. Where possible, GIS data will be made publicly available. Easy to use online tools will be made available to citizens to use existing data sources and overlay their own. The intent is to also highlight gaps in the distribution of services and resources. While inequity in the conditions of daily living is shaped by deeper social structures and processes, it is our hope that with ready access to data to illuminates inequities we can come together as a community to help tailor and target resources and facilitate access to the supports needed.

There are a number of emerging technologies that provide low frequency, long range transmission options in the 800-900 MhZ bandwidth range and can transmit 20km or more with sensors able to last 10-20 years depending on usage. We propose to build an open network of gateways using this technology to support our GIS strategy with low cost sensors that will use this network instead of Wifi or cellular.

We will also explore the possibility of using mesh networks to allow communication via text message without a cell network.  This is low cost, long range, and low power. We propose to build a mesh network in Penticton with strategically located access points so those who don’t have a cell plan are able to communicate to social and public supports. As technology improves, we can use this concept to enhance communication with our Community App (discussed below), on demand transit and transmitters that deliver community health messages or alerts to public screens without internet connection.

Penticton’s topology of 42 square kilometres in a valley between lakes means we can connect the entire city and surrounding rural communities with minimal hardware. Our size means that we can execute and drive impact easier than larger centres. The combination of low range wide area network and mesh technologies with GIS provides a truly scalable and resilient information infrastructure. It will feed data to and inform the development of all projects.

Community App: We intend to build a standalone app or platform (working name ‘Community App’ ) that will support the municipal engagement portal and facilitate communication more broadly. Our community survey validated the need for greater access to trusted community information sources. The Community App will act as a concierge to the community, with an intelligent chat function that will enable the community to obtain answers quickly. The addition of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will enable the system to get smarter as it increases in usage, thereby reducing the need to tie up human resources for frequently asked questions. The system will also be able to direct messages related to high risk topics such as crime, or emergency situations to the appropriate call centres.

We can also use this AI functionality to monitor public social media groups to quickly find themes that are common in the community and help educate and more importantly learn how we can improve. The Community App also has the potential to assist in connecting people with each other, while driving increased community engagement and social participation. While locals refer to distinct areas of the City with names that have grown up organically, official neighbourhood distinctions in Penticton have never been leveraged. Research shows that catalyzing neighbourhood culture can result in stronger social connections, improved sense of safety for residents and can also be a source of pride or identity.  

The ‘Community App’ will also be able to match requests, offers and identify gaps and needs.  Borne of a simple desire to encourage people to be more proactive in looking after their community, the Community App can be used as a tool to identify things in the physical landscape that need addressing, providing incentives and empowerment to engage residents to step up and generating the well-documented mental health benefits of community engagement.

Volunteer Database:   Our goal here is to make use of Penticton’s immense human capital to enable residents to easily give back and improve our community and in turn to reap the health benefits of volunteering. We will invest in a volunteer database that will match needs with skills and interests. We will leverage technology to make it easy for people to find volunteer opportunities on short notice.  For example, “I have a free Saturday, how can I help?”. This can be expanded beyond volunteers and link with other community needs such as clearing out bus shelters and intersections in a heavy snowstorm, community clean-up days, and community beautification project, as well as a buddy system to counter social isolation e.g. simply connecting newcomers with mentors.

We note the statement by the WHO that “Being included in the society in which one lives is vital to the material, psychosocial, and political empowerment that underpins social well-being and equitable health”. We anticipate that volunteering activities can be tied back to the proposed Blueprint for Change through improving our quality of life measures. We expect that this will improve community connections by bringing diverse people together and increase community pride by feeling empowered to help. If we make it as simple for citizens to know how to help as indicating they have some free time and are given a list of things that can be done, we are confident that we can measure an increase in community involvement. We will use community locations and non-profit centres to ensure that the database is accessible to all demographics.

Transportation and mobility

On demand transit: The City has already budgeted to review current transportation demand and usage, and will explore alternative on demand transit services to augment existing services and determine scope for a pilot. There are several new communities and surrounding communities that report to be underserved by transit and this can contribute to isolation and access to services. Feedback from businesses and residents indicate a high level of concern around unwanted activities in certain areas of the city at night, simultaneously, there are transportation corridors within the city that are used less after dark.

Smart lights: Informed by the transit review and the GIS acceleration, we intend to strategically locate motion sensor lighting in Penticton. This will enhance actual and perceived safety and deliver activity data. The data will be mined to inform the use of lighting to support wanted activity and deter unwanted activity. In addition, with better lighting on trails and transportation corridors, it is expected that more cycling and walking will occur. As unwanted activity is curbed around the city, more people will feel comfortable being out after dark, contributing to a healthier, more connected community.

Bike Sensors and storage: Our survey results revealed that perceived and actual risk of bicycle theft is an obstacle to cycling in Penticton. We propose to address this issues  by creating a network of bike racks with built in bike locks with sensors  that alert the bike owner when the cable is cut and trigger a photo to be taken in order to deter thefts. We will explore smart, modular, customizable bike storage that can also double as a public space and leverage technology to connect new cyclists to established routes and community groups and bike shops, allowing bike owners to feel confident that not only their bike is safe, but also their accessories and tools. It is intended that the design of the bike racks involve the local art community. In addition, examples of bike-share programs in other communities are being explored for Penticton with the belief that by providing readily available bikes that can be used all around the community, unlocked by cell phone or pin code (for those without cell phones) that we can experience a greater number of people moving around Penticton in a human-powered capacity.

In conclusion, while ambitious, our projects are clearly linked and respond to the Challenge Statement in a realistic, replicable way that will transform the health of Penticton and communities across Canada.

Question 7

Please describe the ways in which your preliminary proposal supports your community’s medium and long-term goals, strategies, and plans. (500 words max)


This proposal directly supports Penticton’s medium and long term goals.

In December 2017 City Council adopted six priorities that guide the City's focus. These include Community Building, Social Development, Economic Vitality, Good Governance, Fiscal Sustainability and Environmental Sustainability. While this proposal aligns to all six priorities it explicitly supports Community Building, and Social Development by advancing initiatives that invest in services which are fundamental to quality of life, and encompasses principles of social equity, social well being and citizen engagement, and support of a healthy community and quality of life.

In addition the City adopted an IT Strategy as part of its 2017 budget to guide the next 5 years as the City embraces the use of technology to better deliver services to its citizens. The strategy has four major themes: Business Systems Review, Digitalization, Maturity of IT Practices, and IT Infrastructure all intended to maximize the use of the technology to the fullest.

Within the IT Strategy digital theme emerged the focus on GIS and the development of a separate strategic plan that was adopted as part of the City’s 2018 and now being implemented in 2018. Although more of an internal plan to implement GIS, the goal of the strategy is to centralize the cities spatial data into a single repository that can then be used to build web products and services, open data to the public and query that data to make more informed decisions. Up to 90% of a cities information is spatial in nature. The City is committed to GIS as the tool to visualize, question, analyze and interpret its data to seek relationships, patterns, and trends to ultimately better understand the world we live in.

Over the last year the City has been developing its Official Community Plan (OCP)  guided through extensive community engagement. The OCP takes a 30-year view of Penticton, looking at key topics such as housing, transportation, economy, sustainability & environment, agriculture, and Arts, Culture, and Heritage all contributing to the health of the community.. An OCP is a foundational guiding document that governs long range planning, but should also be reviewed every 8-10 years. The timing of the Smart City Challenge was perfectly aligned to fall in with the OCP public consultation efforts meaning that both engagement processes could leverage each other’s reach and impact. Therefore, the commentary arising from the Smart Cities conversations is already feeding into the policies being drafted for the OCP and vice versa.

Question 8

Please describe your community’s readiness and ability to successfully implement your proposal. (1,000 words max)


Proven Experience and Strengths, and Anticipated Weaknesses

With an operating budget of $114m per annum to serve a population of over 33,000 people, the City of Penticton regularly manages complex projects spanning multiple business units and external stakeholders. Examples include: our Official Community Plan to be completed in Fall 2018, the second year of implementation of our five year IT Strategy; the current migration of many of our infrastructure data sets to our GIS system; commencing implementation of our GIS Strategy in 2018, and the current implementation of an IT shared services project with the School District (SD), Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS), and District of Summerland.

A desire for continuous improvement drives the City to rethink service delivery to the community. This is exemplified through building a culture of accountability, exploring quality management and advancing project management to strengthen the execution of projects and programs across all business units. Over the past year the City has also worked hard to strengthen and engage its citizens in shaping the City’s priorities and delivery of services. The City has adopted a learning culture of using experience to grow and improve. With the current senior leadership of the City and mid-level managers the City has the capability, desire and cohesion to implement the Smart City proposal.

Weaknesses: With innovation comes learning and we recognize that as a City we are undertaking a lot of change, as outlined above. We understand that there will be setbacks along the way and our learning culture will provide support.

Internal capacity is not available. We will need to reallocate resources and add specialized expertise to ensure project success. 50% of the $250,000 grant money will augment the City’s internal staff complement with a dedicated project lead, project management and additional GIS analysis.

Key Figures

Penticton’s Smart City initiative will be overseen by the Chief Financial Officer and Director Development Services, and led by the City’s Special Projects Manager, all of which have led projects involving multi-dimensional stakeholder groups.

The Chief Financial Officer has significant experience in leading, complex, transformational, multi-million dollar multi-stakeholder projects in his previous roles as Assistant Deputy Minister with the province of Alberta. His skill sets that focus on strategic outcomes, strong financial management and project management discipline ensured projects achieved desired results. These projects consisted of multiple stakeholders with diverse needs and interests, significant financial investment between $10-400 million, which required inclusive governance practices, extensive stakeholder engagement, and solid project management practices to ensure success of the projects.

The Director of Development Services’ extensive experience includes championing the development of the City’s Official Community Plan and Downtown Plan, and previously responsibilities as the Director of Campus Planning and Development with the University of British Columbia Okanagan where he led the development, design, and construction of major university capital planning and transportation projects that served diverse Faculty and Operational needs.

The City’s Special Projects Manager currently leads the development of the Official Community Plan, requiring extensive engagement of a diverse group of stakeholders. Previously, he led the Major Projects team at the City of Vancouver, overseeing the planning and development of strategic large sites (15-100 acres), and assessing the objectives and aspirations of City, Council, community, developers and consultants. Each project involved extensive multi-year consultations, complex negotiations, and real estate development valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Genuine two-way communication from a broad demographic can be challenging to obtain for a local government. In 2016, the City of Penticton created a new position of Engagement Officer to develop public engagement that could strengthen relationships between the citizens and their municipality. This role is a critical component in the re-tooling of the City as being progressive, approachable, and strategic.

Established Systems, Processes and Partnerships

An example of the City’s established practices is the partially implemented five year IT Strategy, presently in its second year. This is necessary not only to become more effective and efficient in operations, but also to improve interaction with clients. The citizens of Penticton are the primary clients of the City and interactions with them occur most frequently on a transactional level, but also on a more strategic level. The City ensures its operations are aligned with community’s priorities and needs through strategic communications and public engagement.

Implementation focuses on completion of the 4 themes: Business Systems Review, Digitalization, Maturity of IT Practices, IT Infrastructure.

One of the priorities in the IT strategy is the establishment of IT governance and management practices.

For example to the guide implementation of GIS, a governance structure was established: a steering committee to set the strategic direction & overall priorities, and a working group of key staff leaders focused on implementing key priorities, identifying challenges, providing recommended solutions to the steering committee, sharing GIS best practices throughout the organization, and validating training strategies for City staff.

Partnerships within the community and across all business units are critical to effective municipal governance. For example, the Development Services Department works closely with approving authorities such as Interior Health, BC Safety Authority, RCMP, and Fire Department to ensure public safety. Economic Development is developing an Operational Partnership Agreement 13 organizations whose mandates align with community development and prosperity.

Penticton is fortunate to have a City-owned fibre optic network installed in partnership with the local SD in 2002. The 45km network connects all City and School facilities to allow for centralization of ICT infrastructure resulting in operational efficiencies and significant cost savings. The network was built with extra capacity to allow other organizations requiring private, high speed capacities to take advantage of it. The City will utilize the network as the Municipal “digital layer” to support Smart City initiatives using big data and IoT. This network has enabled  the establishment of a common telephone network with the SD, RDOS, and District of Summerland. In 2017, Telus PureFibre was rolled out across the community and Shaw Communications has a fibre backbone and public WiFi within the community to the premises that can be accessed easily.

Question 9

Describe your plan for using the $250,000 grant, should you be selected as a finalist. Provide a high-level breakdown of spending categories and an accompanying rationale. (500 words max)


We have ambitious ideas for the $250,000 grant and want to ensure it sets us up to roll directly into the start of our projects when we win the $10,000,000 prize.  Through this process we have seen the value of collaboration between the community and the City of Penticton. We plan to balance the grant between increasing our internal capacity, working on research projects and capitalizing on the incredible community engagement we’ve experienced over the last 4 months.  

First we need to ensure we have the necessary governance and project team expertise in place to oversee the successful advancement of our initiative. To do so we will be dedicating our Special Projects Manager to lead the project. In addition, to ensure the various projects within the initiative successfully move forward we will be retaining an additional project manager.

We will also establish an innovation project team that is dedicated to augment the City’s GIS capacity. Adding internal capacity in GIS will assist the recently filled GIS Coordinator, & IT Manager to help research and choose new and innovative technologies. In total we plan to allocate 50% of the finalist grant money towards internal capacity.

A portion of the grant will be used to define our Quality of Life measures and develop our Blueprint for Change - building connections with researchers and other research grants will supplement the grant. Early stage conversations with research units at UBC Okanagan indicate a strong willingness to work with us in building the Blueprint for Change. This project alone could have incredible impact for our community and civic processes and it underpins all other projects included in our proposal.

To keep the momentum we’ve built with the community we will contract a community engagement manager that works closely with us, but is focused on Smart Cities initiatives.

Lastly we will to use a portion of the grant to host a Startup Weekend and Hackathon around our technology solutions. These two events will enable us to leverage the innovation that exists with our growing technology sector in our community.

Question 10

Describe the partners that are or will be involved in your proposal. Where partners are not yet determined, describe the process for selecting them. (500 words max)


Over the past four months, the City of Penticton has been working closely with the volunteer  core-team. The volunteer core-team is made up of business and community leaders and encompasses a wide cross section of skills and expertise.  The core-team is a key partner for us.

As the momentum began to build in our community around the competition and our Challenge Statement began to take shape, the  core-team had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a host of organizations including, but not limited to: Canadian Mental Health Association, RCMP, British Columbia Innovation Council, Accelerate Okanagan, OneSky Community, UBC Okanagan, South Okanagan Volunteer Centre, South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services, and the Community Foundation of South Okanagan. These organizations are supportive of the initiative as is reflective of the 15 enthusiastic letters of support received.

The RCMP is currently in the process of implementing a Community Active Support Table in Penticton and we will work closely with them to help support this initiative

Accelerate Okanagan is a non-profit that gives new and growing technology-driven business in the Okanagan mentorship, connections and community.  Their access to technology companies, startups and talent will help us in our implementation phases.

UBC Okanagan is a nearby University that has expressed interest in potential research projects for our project areas and will support us in the finalist phase and beyond in our efforts to make a Healthier Penticton.

Organizations in all areas across the City have shown a desire to work together and collaborate on this initiative and more.  We will work to continue to build on the connections the volunteer core-team has built by targeting those organizations that have a vested interest in the outcomes to be achieved through this initiative.  For those not for profit/public sector partners that can contribute expertise, organizations with mutual benefit in sharing expertise and capabilities will be then be targeted.

We were approached by many global, national and local private organizations who are interested in working with us. At this stage, we have learned a great deal about what is technologically possible, but have not formed any partnerships or alliances with any private organizations. We know that technology will change over the next year and we want to ensure we are able to choose the best providers at that time. For those private organizations that pose proprietary or specific expertise or technologies the team will first identify the needs of the initiative, what currently exists with  core-team members, and identify gaps that need to be filled through private sector organizations. The initiative will follow the City’s procurement policies and practices to select private partners in a transparent and competitive manner.
Once partners have been determined the project team will employ the Responsible Accountable Consulted Informed (RACI) model to ensure there is clarity of the roles and responsibilities of all partners involved.

Question 11 (confidential annex)

Please provide, if and only if required, confidential third party information. Information provided in this section will be exempt from the requirement to be posted online. (500 words max)



Question 12

Provide a 200-word summary of your preliminary proposal. You may also provide an image that represents your preliminary proposal.


Community and individual well-being is influenced by social, cultural, economic and environmental factors and good health is key to a flourishing and prosperous community. This is the fundamental principle behind our Challenge Statement.

We believe that through data and open technology we can make a meaningful impact on the social determinants of health, strengthen ties between residents and promote good physical and mental health for our citizens.

To achieve this, we have identified seven bold, ambitious, meaningful projects that will build on existing technologies and leverage community talent to transform health in our community. Our projects fall under two categories: Community Connections and Transportation/Mobility. The former addresses projects that enable Penticton’s community to find the resources, information, and individuals that will help them reach their maximum health potential and improve key social determinants of health. The latter seeks to create a holistic transportation approach that will encourage people to be more active in the community and use alternative modes of transport to engage in the community and more easily connect to services needed.

Question 13

Provide a link to the online location where you will post the full version of your application.


Question 14

In accordance with your governance structure, provide evidence of the commitment to your preliminary proposal from your community’s leadership. This can be a letter of support with signatures from your mayor(s), chief(s), or equivalent or a council resolution, a band council resolution, etc.


The City of Penticton has clearly demonstrated its’ support for Penticton’s Smart City Outcome of a Healthier Penticton through the letter of support from the Mayor dated April 20, 2018 and the Council resolution included below.

City of Penticton - City Council Resolution

9.1 Smart City Challenge Application

158/2018 It was MOVED and SECONDED

THAT Council approve the application for the Smart City Challenge that focuses on a Healthier Penticton for the $10M prize, with the following challenge statement:

“Let’s build a physically & mentally healthier, strongly-connected Penticton where each person has access and opportunity to maximize their health potential”.


Question 15

Please identify the point of contact for the application.


  • Name: Jim Bauer

  • Title and affiliation: Chief Financial Officer, City of Penticton

  • Phone number: 250 490-2480

  • Email address:

Question 16

Read the Privacy Notification, Consent and Release form, and Communications Protocol and indicate your agreement.


Jim Bauer has reviewed the consent and release form, and Communication protocol and is in agreement.

Question 17

Please provide the following information about your organization.


  • 2017 full-time equivalents (FTEs):

    • Number of total FTEs: 283

    • Percentage of total FTEs devoted to innovation: 5%

  • 2017 operating and capital budgets:

    • Total operating budget: $114 million

    • Percentage of total operating budget devoted to innovation: 1%

    • Total capital budget: $16 million

    • Percentage of total capital budget devoted to innovation: 19%

Question 18

Please select the focus area of your preliminary proposal.

If your preliminary proposal seeks to achieve outcomes that span more than one area, you may choose up to two.


  • Empowerment and inclusion

  • Healthy living and recreation

Question 19

Select all the community system/service areas expected to be implicated in your preliminary proposal.

There is no limit to the number of community systems/service areas you may select.


  • Emergency services and enforcement

  • Land use planning and development

  • Public health

  • Recreation and parks

  • Roads and transportation

  • Social services

Question 20

Select all the technologies expected to be implicated in your preliminary proposal.

There is no limit to the number of technologies you may select.


  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Assistive technology

  • Big data analytics

  • Cloud computing

  • Enterprise solutions

  • Environmental monitoring

  • Geospatial

  • Health or Medical technology

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Mobile applications

  • Networks

  • Open data platforms

  • Sensors

  • Wearables