The Smart Cities Challenge
On June 1, Bridgewater was revealed to be one of only five finalists for Infrastructure Canada’s $5 million Smart Cities Challenge prize. Bridgewater will receive $250,000 to go towards creating a final proposal, with the aim of reducing energy poverty in Bridgewater. A great team effort by town residents, staff, and local supporting organizations has enabled us to move toward achieving our target of lifting 20% of Bridgewater residents out of energy poverty. Over the next several months, Town staff and Council members will be connecting with the community to create our final proposal. We invite you to stay connected through social media and the Town’s website to learn about how you can participate in Bridgewater’s campaign to End Energy Poverty.
For more on the Smart Cities Challenge and ideas from other communities, click here.
Smart Cities Challenge Surveys - Tell us about your experiences!
We are asking Bridgewater residents to tell us how they feel about how energy bills, housing, transportation, and technology impact their day-to-day lives. Take one of the surveys below to tell us your experiences and how services can be made better to meet your needs.
Employment and Training Survey
Finding a job that’s right for you, and which pays the bills can be difficult. This anonymous survey collects information about your current job situation and what you like or don’t like. It also asks about what kind of training or education you might be interested in to help you find a better work opportunity. With this information, the Town of Bridgewater and its partners can better plan training programs so community members can access better local jobs.
Homes in Bridgewater and area can be challenging to heat, and many people find housing difficult to find and pay for. This anonymous survey collects information about your home, including whether it is difficult to heat in the winter, whether your rent is affordable, and whether you feel your home is safe to live in. With this information, the Town of Bridgewater and its partners aim to create a program that makes quality, affordable housing something that is accessible to every resident.
It can be difficult to find reliable transportation to get around Bridgewater. This anonymous survey collects information about some of the barriers you have faced using different types of transportation in Bridgewater and how it can be made easier for you to get around town. With this information, the Town of Bridgewater and its partners can plan for better transportation services that you can rely on.
Health and Technology Survey
Health and household finances are top of mind for many Bridgewater and area families. This anonymous survey collects information on how you manage your health needs and make budgeting decisions. It also asks where you turn to for information and assistance, and whether you feel comfortable sharing personal information with service providers. By completing this survey, you can help the Town of Bridgewater and its partners find ways to provide access to community services and improve the sharing of information with the right service providers.
Introducing the Energize Bridgewater Zine!
Read about the latest in sustainability in Bridgewater including the Smart Cities Challenge, Bridgewater transit, and more.
(Click on cover page to read)
Smart Cities Challenge Jury Check-in Video
Eliminating Energy Poverty Through Clean Energy
Bridgewater Bright Business Community Award Winner
Bridgewater’s Challenge Statement: Our community will lift 20% of its residents out of energy poverty by 2028.
What is energy poverty?
Energy poverty is a debilitating problem in our community, as it is for many communities across Canada. A widely accepted definition of energy poverty is when a household spends more than 10% of its income on energy to heat and power the home (electricity, fuel oil, propane, firewood, etc.), as well as for the fuel it needs for its routine commutes.
Why is energy poverty such an important issue in Bridgewater?
Our best available evidence suggests that 2 in 5 residents (40%) experience some form of energy poverty either as a chronic condition or periodically as the household balance sheet fares better or worse depending on its income prospects and its health and social needs. Energy poverty is also closely linked to housing poverty. Living in energy poverty profoundly impacts the wellbeing of individuals and families. The Town of Bridgewater, and its many community partners, have documented physical and mental health impacts, social challenges, and financial hardships among individuals and families living in energy poverty.
While charitable and government poverty relief services exist, there is broad agreement across the community service sector that existing services are unable to address the magnitude of the problem, and are failing to address the structural and systemic causes of energy and housing poverty. The problem also appears to be getting worse as energy prices continue to rise and incomes remain stagnant.
Energize Bridgewater Team
Energy and Financing Working Group
Community Partners (Click on link for letter of support)
Smart Cities Challenge Library
For further reading on energy poverty and affordable housing in Bridgewater and Nova Scotia, visit the links below:
South Shore Housing Action Coalition: Housing Needs Assessment https://sshac.wordpress.com/housing-needs-assessment/South
Solving Nova Scotia's Electricity Pricing Problem: Energy Affordability vs Rising Electricity Prices https://ecologyaction.ca/issue-area/energy-issues-publications