Monday, February 23, 2009

Fredericton Named to Top Seven Intelligent Community Shortlist
Fredericton, NB (January 21, 2009)

For the second year in a row, Fredericton has been named to the shortlist of the world's smartest cities. The City was named one of the Intelligent Community Forum's Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year during the annual conference of the Pacific Telecommunications Council in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"Last year, we were excited to make the Top Seven and to repeat is amazing," said Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside, who was invited to the conference to participate in a panel discussion about "How Intelligent Communities Collaborate to Develop Successful Private / Public Partnerships & Funding Models for Broadband. "We came very close to winning the title of the world's smartest city last year and we are in the running again in 2009."

The Intelligent Community of the Year award is presented annually to communities or regions with a documented strategy for creating a local prosperity and inclusion using broadband and information technology to attract leading-edge businesses, stimulate job creation, build skills, generate economic growth, and improve the delivery of government services.

Fredericton was named to the 2009 Smart21 list in October 2008. The selection of the Smart21 and Top Seven Intelligent Communities is guided by an annual theme. In 2009, the theme is "culture of use" with weight given to communities that develop or expand broadband networks, educate citizens of all ages on the use of computers, the Web and Web-based applications.
Emphasis is also placed on those who put government functions and civic life online and who celebrate digital experiences and engagement through local events, conferences, promotion through special events and local media campaigns. The selection committee also looks for communities that demonstrate the value of broadband in economic, social and cultural life.

Fredericton's is joined in the race for the most Intelligent Community of the Year by Bristol, Virginia, USA; Eindhoven, Netherlands; Issy-les-Moulineaux, France; Moncton, New Brunswick: Stockholm, Sweden; and, Tallinn, Estonia.

The winner will be announced in May 2009, following site visits to each of the Top 7 communities.
Hello, and welcome to my blog site. I am a three term Councillor for the City of Fredericton, New Brunswick's capital city. There are twelve Wards in our city, and I am very proud to represent Ward 3, which is the Fulton Heights/North Devon area. It is on the northside of the city (which is split into north/south by the majestic Saint John River), and consists of a large portion of the former Village of Nashwaaksis along with a portion of the former Town of Devon.

The major institutional centers in Ward 3 are Park Street Elementary School and the Nashwaaksis Middle School. The Fredericton Indoor Aquatic Center and the Indoor Field House are "attached to" the Middle School. The beautiful Killarney Lake Park is on the northern extreme of Ward 3.

The major retail areas are Main Street, and the Smart Centre retail park on Two Nations Crossing with anchor tenants Wal-Mart, Kents and Canadian Tire.

I will post news from City Council, and of the City, its people and events. Stay tuned, and don't hestitate to contact me any time at mike.obrien@fredericton.ca.
City Council Takes Pro-Active Approach to Affordable HousingFredericton, NB (February 9, 2009)

City Council will continue to play a leadership role in promoting the development of affordable housing in Fredericton. Council decided last night to raise the profile of its Affordable Housing Committee by dropping Ad-Hoc from its title and making it an official sub-committee of its Standing Committee on Development

Councillor Mike O'Brien made the announcement following a presentation to a meeting of City Council today by the City's Community Liaison Coordinator Joanne Thomson. She told Council approximately 500 individuals and families are on the provincial Government's waiting list for affordable housing, the majority of whom are non-elderly singles and seniors. "The need isn't going away and, if anything, it is increasing," said Councillor O'Brien. "By giving our Affordable Housing committee a higher profile, we are saying it is here to stay and will continue its mandate to promote and facilitate an increase in affordable housing development."

Coun. O'Brien, who has chaired the Committee since it was created by Council in November 2006, said it will continue to focus on encouraging partnerships, coordinating stakeholder agencies, increasing awareness and education as well as advocating for federal and provincial housing funding programs. "Affordable housing has positive benefits on health, education performance, crime rates, employment and enhances the overall quality of life," said Thomson. "We have made progress in some areas and we will continue to look for innovative ways to encourage private developers to create more affordable housing."

The City has adopted a unique program to encourage developers to build affordable housing units by offering a discount on city-owned land, and has hosted annual affordable housing conferences the last two years.

The Fredericton Affordable Housing Committee is a network of municipal, provincial and federal representatives, community groups, off-reserve aboriginal representatives and housing developers dedicated to improving access to affordable housing. Its current membership includes:
Councillor O'Brien as Chair; Brian Duplessis, Executive Director, Fredericton Homeless Shelters; Francine DiMambro, Corporate Representative NB-PEI, CMHC; Eldon Toner, Principal, Toner Renovations Limited; Fiona Williams, Coordinator, Fredericton Community Action Group on Homelessness; Gary Glauser, Consultant, NB Non-profit Housing Association; Gary Gould, General Manager, Skigin-Elnoog Housing Corporation; Jennifer English, Research & Communications Coordinator, Chamber of Commerce; and Valarie MacCallum, Executive Director, The John Howard Society of Fredericton Inc.; and two members from the City of Fredericton, Chris MacPherson, Assistant City Administrator and Joanne Thomson, Community Liaison Coordinator.