Nelson’s growing technology sector has inspired community leaders to continue their work towards obtaining Intelligent Community status for the city.
The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership will host a workshop on the topic, with the goal of creating several working groups that will take on projects to help Nelson’s digital economy grow.
“We’re already on our way to becoming an Intelligent Community,” said Andrea Wilkey, Community Futures Central Kootenay executive director. “We have the beginning of broadband infrastructure and a knowledge workforce, which we’d like to see expand. Often, knowledge workers have the ability to do their work from anywhere. If we want them to come to Nelson we need something to make us stand out as a tech friendly community.”
One way to make Nelson stand out, according to Wilkey, is for the city to join the 134 communities around the world that have earned the designation of Intelligent Communities. To do this, Nelson needs to show it is competitive and prospering in the digital economy.
Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak says you don’t need to be tech savvy to get behind the Intelligent Communities movement.
“One of the pillars for Intelligent Communities is ‘digital equality’ — meaning that all members of the community have access to technology and know how to use it,” Kozak explained. “For folks who want to improve their digital literacy, there will be more opportunities to do so as we move towards becoming an Intelligent Community.”
The six pillars that an Intelligent Community strives for are: broadband infrastructure, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy. The coming workshop will identify projects that will help Nelson advance in each of these key areas.
“We’re inviting thinkers and doers to help us define our next steps and put those ideas into action,” Wilkey said. “We’re especially looking for people who are willing to commit some time towards moving projects forward.”
The workshop will be held Feb. 23, 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce (91 Baker St.). The first hour (4 to 5 p.m.) is an optional presentation for those who need a refresher on what an Intelligent Community is. This will lead into the main workshop, which will follow a “strategic doing” methodology. Participants will be divided into working groups to pool their skills, networks and other assets together and identify ways to position Nelson to be successful in the digital economy.
Registration is required and space is limited. Visit intelligentnelson.com to reserve a seat.