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Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

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The first round of the Smart Cities Challenge is closed. The Government of Canada announced the four winners (City of Montréal, Québec; Nunavut Communities, Nunavut; City of Guelph and County of Wellington, Ontario; and Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia) on May 14, 2019.

Final Proposal title

Executive Summary

"By prioritizing our most vulnerable residents, we are creating positive outcomes for the entire community… The Smart Cities Challenge is allowing us as a community to focus on what the energy system of the future looks like in this community, in a rural context and to design that future in a way that we would otherwise not have access to."

– Leon de Vreede, Sustainability Planner, Town of Bridgewater

Challenge Statement

Our community will lift its residents out of energy poverty, starting by reducing the energy poverty rate by 20% by 2025.Footnote 1


Energy poverty is having a profound and debilitating impact on our community. It systematically strips many of our residents of their dignity and damages their physical and mental well-being.

Yet, the real, lasting, and practical solutions to this problem are so close at hand that we can already see them emerging. Our community is planning for a new kind of energy economy - one where energy services are universally available and affordable, clean, efficient, and secure. We are ready for a massive shift toward a smart energy economy…one that leaves no family behind. We are also ready to show Atlantic Canada, and the nation, how it can be done.

With $5 million in Smart Cities funding, our town will install sophisticated energy monitoring and communications equipment in over 1,000 low-income homes, develop a self-funding energy retrofit financing program, improve its transportation systems, and increase local clean tech sector training and literacy. It will allow our community partners to increase their capacity to exchange knowledge and work more efficiently and effectively to reduce, and ultimately end, energy poverty in our community.

Every dime will be used, because the need is so great.

Spotlight on Finalists cover page

Spotlight on Finalists:
Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Population: 8,532

Focus Areas:

Environmental Quality Empowerment and Inclusion

Prize Category:


The Jury's Perspective

Read the transcript

Hi, my name is Andrea Feunekes and I'm CEO of a company called Remsoft. We specialize in advanced analytic software for SLM Management and I am based in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

When they asked me to be part of this jury, what I was excited about most was the opportunity to look at dozens, even hundreds of ideas from across the country that could be bold and innovative and move us forward, and the ideas have been really terrific. And now I am even more excited because we are in the process of choosing some of the great ones and seeding them with funding to help them flesh those ideas to make sure the final proposals are really gonna shine.

Yes. So Bridgewater, Nova Scotia has as its challenge statement to raise 20% of its population out of energy poverty by 2028. And that's a really ambitious goal but it's… the proposal was well thought out. It's comprehensive. It includes some really interesting mechanisms and an ability to explore some forward thinking financing and I think if they can really achieve their goals there is an opportunity to provide a model that can be replicated right across Canada in so many communities.

The Finalist's Perspective

Read the transcript

The Smart Cities Challenge is a competition that calls on Canadian communities to explore how data and connected technology can achieve meaningful outcomes for residents.

The Finalists - $5M Category: Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Question: Tell us about your team and your community.

Leon de Vreede (Sustainability Planner): So we're the town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, and we're in the competition for the 5 million dollar price category.

David Mitchell (Mayor, Town of Bridgewater): One of the fastest growing towns in Nova Scotia and with that comes some challenges like energy poverty, which is what our program is about.

Question: Why did you enter the Challenge?

David Mitchell (Mayor, Town of Bridgewater): We entered the challenge because we saw it as an opportunity to really tackle energy poverty, which is one of the focusses in our community. But be, to be able to ramp it up and tackle it in a way that addresses it on a scale that we probably couldn't do on our own without the challenge.

Challenge Statement: Our community will lift 20% of its residents out of energy poverty by 2028.

Join the conversation: #smartcitiesCanada

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