The Valley REN signs an agreement with i-Valley to pursue a new,
international Smart Region designation for the Annapolis Valley.
KENTVILLE, OCTOBER 31, 2017: The Valley Regional Enterprise Network has signed a partnership agreement with the i-Valley Intelligent Community Association to pursue an international Smart Region designation for the Annapolis Valley.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in October commits the Valley REN and i-Valley to work together to prepare the Annapolis Valley for global recognition as a Smart Region. The formal designation would be issued under the ISO 37120 standard managed by the World Council on City Data (ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life).
As part of this project, the existing ISO 37120 standard – which includes 100 social, economic and service indicators across 17 themes – will be modified to suit rural communities.
“The Valley REN is a funding partner in this initiative, because our communities will see immediate benefits from global awareness of this region,” said W. Coby Milne, interim CEO of the Valley REN. “Being known as a Smart Region will showcase our communities on the international stage,” said Milne. “Our communities will also benefit from the data collection, which will provide a valuable new tool for municipal planning and development.”
Terry Dalton, president of i-Valley, agreed. “Third-party validation of this region’s economic and social progress by the World Council on City Data (WCCD) is the key to marketing the Valley,” said Dalton. “The validation secures trust from global opinion-leaders and delivers information that makes the community stand out. It also displays the community to global investors and talented workers.”
The Valley REN will provide $30,000 to i-Valley to develop the data and work with the Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto to modify the ISO standard for this region. The funding will also cover project management and the cost of obtaining the ISO licence from the WCCD. The Acadia Institute for Data Analytics at Acadia University will play a major role in preparing the data.
ABOUT THE VALLEY REN
The Valley Regional Enterprise Network is an inter-municipal corporation serving Glooscap First Nation, the Municipality of the County of Kings, the Municipality of the District of West Hants, and the Towns of Berwick, Kentville, Middleton, Windsor and Wolfville. The Province of Nova Scotia is a funding partner. The regional partners and the provincial government provide oversight to the Valley REN board, which is led by the local business community.
ABOUT REGIONAL ENTERPRISE NETWORKS
In Nova Scotia, Regional Enterprise Networks are leading a collaborative approach to economic development and supporting business growth outside the Halifax area.
As research analyst for the Valley REN, Rachel Brighton brings 25 years’ experience as a journalist, editor, publisher, manager, consultant and not-for-profit director in Canada and Australia.
Hello! This sounds interesting. Can you provide some information as to what being a Smart Region entails? Are there any similar rural comparisons we can look at? Thanks
Here is a good, recent overview article from the Standards Council of Canada, dated 2017-10-11:
It states that “eight Canadian cities have reported against ISO 37120 through WCCD: Cambridge, Oakville, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Shawinigan, Surrey, Toronto, Vaughan and Quebec City.”
Note: ISO 37120 is the standard that would apply to the Annapolis Valley region in this project and WCCD stands for World Council on City Data.
The article also states the WCCD is working with Statistics Canada to see how ISO 37120 could be used to help harmonize or standardize municipal data across the country.
I’ll post more tomorrow. Thanks for your comment.
Here’s the next part of our answer to your question.
To the best of our knowledge, this would be the first time that a collection of small municipalities would be recognized together as a “Smart Region” rather than a “Smart City” under this particular ISO standard.
You will recall that in 2001, the western region of the Valley was named one of the 12 official Smart Community demonstration projects in Canada. Fours later, in 2005, the results were significant.
Janet Larkman, who was then the Executive Director of the Western Valley Development Agency, said: “We were Nova Scotia’s Smart Community. That brought with it a $4.5-million federal investment, which was matched dollar for dollar by the community. The variety of projects that that program supported had contributed to our region having one of the highest levels of computer literacy of any rural community in the country.” 
This time, the emphasis of this particular project is going to be on the data and using it to establish uniform benchmarks. That will help local decision-makers assess how a faster rate of technology adoption is lifting (or not) the region’s economic activity and “quality of life” factors.
Ultimately, it will really be up to the communities in the Valley to envision and plan for a more technology-enriched future and choose for themselves what being a “Smart Region” means for local government.
1. http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/committees/committee_hansard/C9/ed_2005feb08 [see page 5]