Mo­hawk Coun­cil of Ak­we­sasne think­ing smart

Seaway News - - News - SHAWNA O’NEILL, SPE­CIAL TO TC ME­DIA

AK­WE­SASNE, On­tario – Ear­lier this month, In­fra­struc­ture Canada an­nounced that the Mo­hawk Coun­cil of Ak­we­sasne (MCA) is one of five na­tional fi­nal­ists in the Smart Ci­ties Chal­lenge. As a fi­nal­ist, the MCA will re­ceive $250,000 to fur­ther de­velop their smart city plan.

“We’re ex­tremely ex­cited to be one of the fi­nal­ists,” said MCA Grand Chief Abram Bene­dict. “I think that one of our strate­gic pri­or­i­ties is mod­ern­iza­tion and well-be­ing, and this falls in line with that.”

In­fra­struc­ture Canada asked com­mu­ni­ties to en­ter project pro­pos­als that would ad­dress lo­cal is­sues, us­ing data and con­nected tech­nol­ogy. The MCA be­gan re­search­ing last July.

Bene­dict said there is presently no gro­cery stores in the com­mu­nity, so access to clean, healthy food isn’t al­ways easy. The pro­jected plan is to de­velop a smart green­house and grow foods that won’t be sur­rounded by chem­i­cals. On­line access to this food will also be created, whether the food comes from within or out­side of the com­mu­nity. Bene­dict is hoping this will be pos­si­ble, and in­for­ma­tion will be ac­ces­si­ble through mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, such as apps and web por­tals. The plan also out­lines data col­lec­tion to see who is at risk and if the dis­ease is com­mon in cer­tain ar­eas of the com­mu­nity.

“We have a ro­bust health depart­ment within our com­mu­nity, but we also have a high num­ber of new cases of di­a­betes,” said Bene­dict. “Our Smart Ci­ties state­ment was that we would try to re­duce the new num­ber of cases of di­a­betes to at least what the Cana­dian av­er­age is, and then bring it even a bit lower.”

The MCA pro­posal is to fo­cus on health and well­ness in the com­mu­nity, specif­i­cally low­er­ing cases of di­a­betes. Bene­dict un­der­stands that the dis­ease man­i­fests from dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances, whether it’s ge­net­ics or diet.

Some com­mu­nity mem­bers ad­vo­cated that access to high speed in­ter­net and pub­lic trans­porta­tion should be pri­or­i­tized. Ac­cord­ing to Bene­dict, the com­mon theme was access and ser­vices. The plan that was de­vel­oped is in­tended to be eas­ily adopt­able.

“We clearly want to be able to en­sure that it’s trans­fer­able to other com­mu­ni­ties,” said Bene­dict. “Es­pe­cially In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, but not only specif­i­cally them. Some of the access is­sues that our com­mu­nity has could po­ten­tially be sim­i­lar to ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties or north­ern com­mu­ni­ties, but we’re not ex­actly ei­ther.”

The MCA chose to work with the dig­i­tal ser­vices firm Zu for the pro­posal, based on their successful rep­u­ta­tion. The com­pany is help­ing with the plan­ning process and de­sign think­ing training.

Bene­dict said that they will con­tinue to in­te­grate tra­di­tional knowl­edge into the de­vel­op­ment of pro­posal, and hope­fully be able to im­ple­ment it if they win.

“Ob­vi­ously what we de­vel­oped was a high­level pro­posal, very con­cep­tual,” said Bene­dict. “The $250,000 will now be used to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate what we said we would do.”

The win­ner of the $5 mil­lion project will be an­nounced in Spring of 2019.

Dear Edi­tor, This is in re­gard to your col­umn about Jim Mcdonell, MPP our PC rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

I wrote him sev­eral days be­fore the elec­tion. I had re­ceived his pam­phlet in the mail and at the top of his agenda, was, MORE DOC­TORS FOR CORN­WALL. He has been our rep­re­sen­ta­tive for many years now, same sit­u­a­tion. A lack

of doc­tors in Corn­wall. I had read an ar­ti­cle about the RIO Pro­gram and Corn­wall has NOT en­listed in this. In my let­ter I ques­tioned him as to why.

Well, I have not yet re­ceived any re­ply from him to date.

I also noted the new homes be­ing built all over Corn­wall. It would be nice if the peo­ple

who buy these homes are not only re­tirees from other ci­ties. Hope­fully Corn­wall can at­tract young fam­i­lies. But these fam­i­lies will need de­cent jobs, their chil­dren would have a brighter fu­ture to look for­ward to in Corn­wall, and re­main in Corn­wall. Where is busi­ness and in­dus­try? Why is it at such a stand­still? Brockville is at­tract­ing big busi­ness and in­dus­try. This in turn at­tracts young fam­i­lies. The money moves around. Start­ing with con­struc­tion, roads, homes, furniture/ap­pli­ances, cars, sports, food, cloth­ing, it goes round and round.

Why hasn’t Mr. Mcdonell done any of the above. Why and when will he ful­fill some of his prom­ises. It would be good for EVERY­ONE.

Cynthia Feld­man

Abram Bene­dict (left), Grand Chief at Mo­hawk Coun­cil of Ak­we­sasne, and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jor­dan Wa­pass. (Photo sub­mit­ted).

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