"The winner of the $5-million Smart Cities Challenge prize is the Town of Bridgewater."
And with that announcement from Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Francois-Phillipe Champagne, the Town of Bridgewater won the Smart Cities Challenge in their quest to reduce energy poverty.
Bridgewater was one of five finalists in the challenge's $5-million prize category which also included the City of Yellowknife; Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Quebec; Cree Nation of Eastmain, Quebec; and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Pic River First Nation), Ontario.
Bridgewater Mayor, David Mitchell, was in Ottawa Tuesday for the presentation.
He says energy poverty affects 38 per cent of the town.
"This means that Energize Bridgewater, which was our plan to lift our people out of energy poverty by 2050, essentially in two generations. It now means we can do that in one generation," says Mitchell.
Sustainability Planner, Leon de Vreede, says energy poverty is when people spend more than 10 per cent of their available income on energy for their home and transportation costs.
Mitchell says Energize Bridgewater will reduce the energy poverty rate by 20 per cent by 2025.
"Energy retrofits to homes especially those that are older and more inefficient to reduce people's energy consumption so that they no longer have to make the choice of whether they can afford their heat and hydro or if they need to pay their rent or their car payment or grocery bill."
The $5-million will be supplied by Infrastructure Canada over the next five years.
Mitchell says the town planned to move forward with Energize Bridgewater regardless of winning the challenge or not but winning will certainly help speed up the process.
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(Photo Courtesy: Infrastructure Canada/Twitter)
Reported by: Nick Yorston
E-mail: [email protected]