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Safer beaches save lives: innovation at work in Bruce County

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

What a whirlwind the last few weeks has been. As the Director of the Centre for Municipal Innovation, I’ve spent most of my time scouring reports and presentations but more importantly, making it a priority to connect with members of the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) across Bruce County and learn what’s important to them as I immerse myself in this new role.

I have to acknowledge the incredible team at the NII who have given me such a warm welcome. I also want to recognize Dave Shorey for the great work and valuable information he and the municipal innovation students have complied over the last 18 months, which have helped with my transition. All the best to Dave as he takes on his new role as Executive Director at Georgian College.

One thing I have learned is that the MIC already has some exciting initiatives underway. One that I’m particularly excited about is the Smart Beach Project.

Smarter beaches save lives

Bruce County is home to more than 850 km of shoreline, with beautiful sandy beaches and some of the best sunsets in the world. People flock here in the summer to enjoy our waterfrontbut tragically, every summer we lose lives due to drowning.

The Smart Beach Project started with the leadership of Mike Kirkpatrick, Director of Information Technology Services at the County of Bruce back in 2017 when he embarked on a journey to find industry and scientific partners to that could deliver on this initiative.

With the help of Dr. Chris Houser, lead researcher from the University of Windsor, the Smart Beach Project is on track to launch as a pilot in 2022 at Station Beach in Kincardine. It is a three-year beach safety program that includes remote sensing, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and public education around water hazards.

Last Monday, Dr. Houser shared information about the Smart Beach project with Kincardine council. If you have some time, I encourage you to watch his presentation online.

As Dr. Houser states, “This will be the most innovative beach safety program in the Great Lakes region and across North America.”

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!


Becky Smith is the Director of the Centre for Municipal Innovation.


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