Mar 26,2005 - Tri City News
By Diane StrandbergThe Tri-City News
Mar 26 2005
Smart Choices is partnering with a Vancouver company to market citysoup.ca technology across North America.
And an announcement is expected Tuesday on provincial funding for the local online project.
Details were not included in a press release Wednesday but more information should be available at an annual general meeting in May, which will be open to the public, said Smart Choices spokesperson Hilary Horlock.
"Everything is in negotiations and plans have not been finalized," Horlock said.
Smart Choices board chair Jennifer Wilkie, who is also a city of Coquitlam employee, said handing over sales and marketing to a private company will free Port Moody and Coquitlam from the burden of day-to-day infrastructure costs while opening up a channel for sales and maintaining the citysoup.ca site and services.
"This is the best of both worlds for all parties," said Wilkie.
Smart Choices also wants to develop an "e-community centre of excellence" and more details about this will also be announced at the May AGM, according to Horlock.
Citysoup.ca is a web portal that provides online access to community information and recreation programs, and allows payment of utility and city bills online. It was developed with $4.5 million in federal funding and in-kind contributions from corporate partners. PoMo and Coquitlam kicked in approximately $4.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions for the project, which also included computers, a web-broadcast centre, training and a business centre. School District 43 is still a partner and has contributed $12,000 to the project while Douglas College pulled out after contributing $50,000. The city of Port Coquitlam pulled out early in the project, which began four years ago.
At council Tuesday, PoMo Mayor Joe Trasolini said the cities are still waiting for the provincial government to contribute towards marketing the technology.
"B.C.'s the only province that is not a partner in the Smart Choices initiative," Trasolini said.
As reported in last Saturday's Tri-City News, approximately $400,000 is supposed to be coming to help Smart Choices make the technology for citysoup.ca available to other cities.
(PoMo-Westwood MLA Christy Clark will make a funding announcement Tuesday at the citysoup.ca Innovation Centre in Coquitlam.
Trasolini also said marketing the technology began a year ago with the creation of citysoup.net and he said the web portal is a boon to businesses that have to compete with big box stores. "Citysoup.ca gives city merchants a fighting chance," he said.