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Steering Committee key to “Smart City” success

Cairns Regional Councils plans for a Smart City must be driven by civic leaders in consultation with the community to maximise the benefits and potential for the region says Division 5 Councillor Richie Bates.

The CBD and inner suburbs Councillor who has championed the Smart City concept said, “We must not be dictated to by IT and Telco corporations prejudicially influencing want we want for Cairns, I call on a local smart city steering committee to decide the shape of our future in a tropical world city”

“Council has strong collaborative links to James Cook University and organisations such as Advance Cairns – We have access to all the expertise we need right here in the far north”

“JCU have set the scene for a Smart City partnership by creating the first ‘Internet of things’ training course in Australia, with the learning focused on new sensory technology combined with the latest data analytics, this curriculum is a Smart City building block”

Cr Bates continued, “It is vital that we take the community with us on this journey that will deliver a new age of services and efficiency through the cyberspace interconnection of urban utilities and devices”

“Smart phones will be able to connect with any number of other devices in real time to advise on parking availability, household water usage or receive a scheduled reminder for recyclable waste collection”

“The opportunity for energy savings and economic benefit is limitless with hi-tech sensors being able to detect human activity to turn on lighting and air conditioning only when required, or detect when a rubbish bin is full for collection, thus alleviating the need to service it when empty”

“In turn the data collected on utility activity is immediately used to reschedule services more efficiently and with less waste”

“This is a cultural change as much as anything, and ensuring the public and key stakeholders have a say in deciding their wants and needs is paramount if we want broad acceptance and usage of this concept and technology”

“And before we commit to the hardware we must first visualise what outcomes we desire for our city”

“We are only limited by our imagination as to what a Smart City can achieve, however the simple premise is too integrate any cities assets such as transport, power, tourism and water via information and communication technology with the goal of maximising services and efficiency”

“There are huge cost savings and conveniences for consumers and business in the adoption of this technology and this is why a new city centre master plan is to adopt the concept”

“A Smart City Steering Committee is the logical next step in this process; I look forward to its formation”

New flood mitigation plan for Cairns inner suburbs

Cairns Regional Council will continue its commitment to flood mitigation with the endorsement of a new drainage management plan for the inner suburbs at this Wednesdays Infrastructure Committee meeting.

Division 5 Councillor Richie Bates has welcomed the Saltwater Creek Drainage Management Plan as the next important stage of flood resilience for Cairns.

Cr Bates said, “Council has not rested on its laurels with the completion of Moody Creek Detention Basin, we realise that there is more work to be done to protect our city from the extremes of the wet season”

“The Saltwater Creek Drainage Management Plan maps out potential problem areas and proposes a series of remediation works to mitigate flooding events”

“The catchment area includes the suburbs of Whitfield, Edge Hill, Manoora, Aeroglen and Cairns North. These populated residential areas will benefit from improved drainage, lessening the risk of damaging floods and bringing peace of mind to the residents”

“This plan will incorporate localised solutions to increase hydraulic capacity of existing drains as well as a more strategic response with a major new water channel for the long term”

“The plan details inundation mapping for different rainfall events showing the efficiency of various watercourses and remediation solutions where required”

“The total cost of the staged project will be around 17 million; however there will be opportunities for state and federal grant funding to lessen the cost to council, and this will be money well spent on vital community infrastructure”

“The strategy will compliment upgrading of the Saltwater Creek Bridge ensuring the improvements are integrated and bring maximum advantage”

Wi-Fi success for Council

With over 1.3 million Wi-Fi sessions recorded in the last 12 months Cairns Regional Council has moved a step closer to Smart City status.

That’s the opinion of Division 5 Councillor for the CBD and inner suburbs Richie Bates who claims the city is on the precipice of a new growth boom driven by technology and education.

Cr Bates said, “In the last year more than 200,000 people have used councils free Wi-Fi service for the CBD and the Esplanade, this is a significant milestone in the transition of Cairns into a Smart City”

“Next year the city centre will host 1000 students in the new CQU campus, I have no doubt that our Wi-Fi technology will play an important part in supporting the CBD’s student culture”

“Being an attractive destination is not just about the climate and surroundings, for many this is about access to modern communications and the interactivity of urban utilities”

“This is something that locals and tourists can benefit from, and increasingly this is how people want to engage, not just in a social context but in pursuit of public services as well”

“Recent advances in security and parking using CCTV and overstay sensors have created a safer and more accessible CBD. These efficiencies enhance visitation and have resulted in over 400 free car parks with the city”

“This technology not only improves the lifestyle of citizens, but makes good economic sense by assisting commercial activity within a sustainable environment”

“Start-up entrepreneurial ventures are becoming the next generation of business, but they can rely heavily on internet connectivity, so having the capability through the NBN and Wi-Fi is a must”

“Of course there is more to be done, but Cairns council has clearly signaled its willingness to embrace the future, and the community is responding in a positive way”