The concept of Smart Cities is gaining momentum in the Garden Route region and to unfold this theory, the Planning and Economic Department of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with the South Cape Economic Partnership (SCEP), hosted a Smart City – Smart Region Summit on Wednesday, 3 October 2018 in Bitou (Plettenberg Bay). Representatives from all the municipalities in the Garden Route, in particularly, Local Economic Development, Tourism; Infrastructure; Waste Management; Planning and ICT Specialists, as well as Private Sector Smart City experts; Town Planners; Technology experts and Tertiary Institutions Subject Specialists, attended the one-day event.
During the workshop, very exciting and informative presentations were done by Subject Specialists, i.e. Dr Warren Burns from Brilliance; Dr Nancy Odendaal from the University of Cape Town; Ms Emiley Vollmer from ISC Bank and Mr Josiah Lodi from the Western Cape Department of Cooperative Governance.
Guided by the experts in attendance, municipalities of the region worked on defining what the concept Smart Cities means for them, and how best to maximise the benefits of smart thinking, to build a Smart Region.
The afternoon’s programme was divided into two (2) sets of three (3) breakaway sessions, under the following topics:
First Session: Smart living, Smart Waste Management and Smart Technology; and
Second Session: Smart Green, Smart Design and Smart Tourism
Some outcomes of the sessions include:
- A pilot project in one community in the region to demonstrate all the 7 principles of “Smart Living”;
- Increase density, accessible public transport and making the region cycle-friendly;
- Develop a network of small-scale organic agriculture to supply local restaurants and retailers;
- Integrated efforts for safety and security by the police, neighbourhood watches and private security companies;
- Invite businesses to provide innovative solutions through existing forums to current smart living challenges; and
- Spatial development for poor communities which will allow activities like gardening, etc.
- Regional programme for sensitizing residents and incentives for recycling;
- Continue with the integrated approach between municipalities for alternative technologies; and
- Waste-to-energy initiatives.
- An audit needs to be done on what exists that could be expanded or developed further;
- Wayleave and trenching policies to be put in place; and
- Coordination in terms of free Wi-Fi to be coordinated by die district- and local municipalities.
- Lack of skills within municipalities to interrogate green solutions. Will be addressed through Green Cape Municipal Capacity Building Initiatives;
- Interrogate current policy to create a more conducive/enabling environment; and
- Inter-governmental approach to green solutions.
- Ensuring values, visions and policies that underpin smart city design, are in place;
- Increase the focus on GIS skills and resources for smart cities;
- Integration of data collection and maintenance processes and systems; and
- Data access protocols that enable access across municipalities.
- Wi-fi hotspots;
- Regional public transport e.g. Uber;
- Data collection and analytics for smart tourism; and
- Smart training for the hospitality and tourism industry.
In his concluding remarks, the Municipal Manager of the GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu, expressed his appreciation to everyone who participated and who are willing to take the process forward in partnership with the Garden Route District Municipality. “Let us adopt a vision to do things differently, collaborate and try to work together as a family of municipalities in building a smart region,” said Mr Stratu.