Innovation City Council launches first-of-its-kind smart beach project

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Summer is right around the corner, and for the beaches of Lake Huron, that means residents and visitors alike arrive to enjoy the sand, the swim, and the sun. But the joys of a day at the beach can also come with risks: fast-moving undercurrents that can endanger unsuspecting swimmers.

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To help make our waterfront a safer place for all to enjoy, the City Council on Innovation (MIC) has launched the first-of-its-kind Smart Beach pilot project at Station Beach in Kincardine.

The collaborative project will deploy an integrated sensor network that includes water level and wave sensors as well as traffic and pedestrian sensors. Researchers will use the data collected to provide residents and visitors with highly accurate, real-time local beach forecasts of rip current locations, choppy waves and dangerous areas to avoid.

“Our research team is excited to get to work,” said Dr. Chris Houser, Dean of Science and Professor in the School of Environment at the University of Windsor. “Over the next two months we will be busy monitoring and modeling the waves and currents at Station Beach and the potential dangers to beach users.”

“This project has been a great opportunity to engage the community base and adapt this initiative to the region, developing thoughtful communication and outreach activities to complement the Smart Beach technology,” said Becky Smith, Director from the Municipal Innovation Center to the Institute of Nuclear Innovation. “I’m excited to see where we can expand this project over the three-year pilot and beyond.”

“The Smart Beach Project is a great example of the City Council of Innovation at work on an innovative solution that can be adapted and applied to all of our member municipalities on the Great Lakes,” said Kara Van Myall, Chief Executive of the Town of Saugeen. Shores and Chairman of the City Council of Innovation. “Together with community partners, we’re building smarter, safer gear for everyone to enjoy.”

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“We look forward to the data that Dr. Houser’s team will compile and analyze. Having predictive tools will allow Kincardine to provide beach users with the knowledge to enjoy a safer experience at Station Beach,” said Brad Lemaich, Chief of Fire and Emergency Services. of Kincardine. “The information will also help minimize risk levels to first responders if we are called to the scene.”

Learn more about the Smart Beach project on smartbeach.ca.

For more information on ongoing municipal innovation work in Bruce County, visit the Nuclear Innovation Institute website at: nii.ca/municipal-innovation and join the conversation on Twitter (@NIIOntario), on Linkedin (Nuclear Innovation Institute) and on Facebook (@NIIOntario).

Melissa C. Keyes