Economic Development Centre funding proposal for Smart and Connected Borders approved

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

During an overview of the economic development activities for Windsor and Essex County, the CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation also brought forth their $10 million project for Smart and Connected Borders.

The five-year project is in two parts. The first part is the connected and automated vehicle infrastructure integration, and the second is the smart borders information system.

In CEO Stephen MacKenzie’s proposal to county council Nov. 1, they explained the Smart Borders portion of the project is being submitted to Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund, which involves multiple collaborators in Canada and the U.S. It will “draw on available and emerging technologies, and facilitate information exchange among key players with the goal of improving the speed and efficacy of the customs, immigration and security functions.”

The idea is to improve traffic flow, while complementing the marine domain awareness proposal by Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc.

The connected and automated vehicle infrastructure Integration (CAVBII) portion of the project, will “establish a demonstration site to develop, test and spur networking and information exchange on the application of connected and automated vehicles (CAV) technologies in relation to border crossings.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to seize the moment in particular with the autonomous vehicles moving forward,” said Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara. “There are some companies that are certainly going to take advantage of the electric vehicles and all of that new technology. It’s not just about the automobiles, but it’s the automation in the industry as a whole and I’m glad to hear that we’re not going to wait until we’re an afterthought. In the future I think it’s boundless in terms of opportunities that could bring to our region because of our geographical positioning in North America. I certainly want to commend your efforts and staff in bringing this forward and there’s no doubt that this should be supported unanimously in that particular regard.”

MacKenzie’s proposal was approved with unanimous support.

During his deliberation, he also spoke about their satellite small business center, which was opened up in Essex on Maidstone Ave., co-located in the business resource center of Essex County. He went through a number of metrics gathered for the 2017 year, until the end of September. He said they have provided services to 1,808 clients, 595 of which were in the county.

The small business center also assisted entrepreneurs to start 188 businesses as of September, 42 of which are located in the county. They also track the start ups from the previous year to see if any of them have made expansions. As of September, MacKenzie reported they had 100 companies which they previously assisted in starting up expand, 41 of which were in the county.

The job creation totals, which are self reported by the businesses, came in at 429 jobs, 172 of which were in the county.

“We also had the small business expo in October at the Caboto Club,” said MacKenzie. “It was very successful, we had about 75 small businesses from the county and from the city, and we had over 500 folks from the public come in, learn about the companies, buy purchases right there.”

For more information on the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, visit their website choosewindsoressex.com

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