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Sunday, March 18, 2007

WATERLOO, ON – The Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) has recognized Waterloo as being the world’s Top Intelligent Community 2007, an honour that acknowledges the community that best exemplifies the development of a prosperous economy based on broadband and information technology.

At the ICF conference in New York, Waterloo was recognized for its commitment to fostering institutions, projects and initiatives that drive technology innovation and share its benefits with the community at large.

In announcing Waterloo as the Top Intelligent Community, Lou Zacharilla, Director of Development, ICF, referred to Waterloo as a North American community like no other. “What makes Waterloo special is that in the heart of the technology triangle, the tradition of community barn raising, looking after one another from the very young to the very old, is kept alive today. It’s a place where people wake up and give thanks for the fruits of their works and for their good fortune.”

Waterloo was one of two Canadian cities among the prestigious list that included Ottawa-Gatineau; Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom; Gangnam, District, Seoul, South Korea; Issy les Moulineaux, France; Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom; and Tallin, Estonia

“This recognition belongs to our community – to the businesses, to the schools, to the universities and colleges, to our libraries, to our not-for-profits – all of whom look for innovative ways to use technology to make Waterloo a better place, “ said Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran in accepting the award.

“There are great things happening in Waterloo,” said Halloran. “The Intelligent Community Forum has helped us more clearly recognize the collective strength of what we have. In fact, it’s created a reason for bringing people together who have been able to look at those strengths and through collaboration, leverage them even further.”

In November, the ICF announced that Waterloo was among the ‘Smart 21’ communities, placing Waterloo in the list of semi-finalists being considered for the Top Seven list, which was announced in January. ICF is a special interest group within the World Teleport Association that focuses on the uses of broadband technology for economic development by communities large and small in both the developed and developing world.

Each year, ICF selects communities from around the world to appear on its list of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year. These seven communities are selected based on indicators that include the significant deployment of broadband communications, the extent to which the community enables a knowledge workforce, the promotion of digital democracy, the ability to foster innovation, and effective economic development marketing that leverages the community’s broadband, labor and other assets to attract new employees.

Waterloo’s nomination credits several organizations that include the universities, hospitals, libraries and schools as well as companies such as RIM, Open Text, Sybase, DALSA and many others that export their products, technology and services around the world. It also notes the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, The Centre for International Governance Innovation, The Institute for Quantum Computing, The Research and Technology Park, and the presence of Communitech and Canada’s Technology Triangle as being further reflections of leadership as an Intelligent Community.

“We were very proud when Waterloo was named as one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities,” says Waterloo Councillor Mark Whaley, a member of the steering committee. “Being named as the Top Community is a reflection of the fact that we are a city where technology and innovation is fostered in a way that truly does build community. That has many benefits for our residents, for our businesses and for our collective, sustainable future. The economic development benefits that will come from this recognition will be tremendous.”

To participate in the Intelligent Community process, a community steering committee was formed that included public sector, private sector and not for profit representatives. The submission for 2007 was created by a committee that included public sector, private sector and not for profit representatives. This included:

Intelligent Waterloo Leadership Group:
Jim Balsillie, RIM (Honourary Chair)
David Johnston, President, University of Waterloo
Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran

Intelligent Waterloo Committee Members:
Simon Farbrother, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Waterloo (Chair)
Waterloo City Councillor Mark Whaley
Steve McCartney, President, Atria Networks
Colleen Fitzpatrick, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Don Cowan, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Computer Systems Group, UW
Doug Muholland, Computer Systems Group, UW
Shirley Fenton, Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, UW
Cathy Matyas, Waterloo Public Library
Catherine Rosenberg, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, and the Centre for Wireless Research, UW
Steve Farlow, Wilfrid Laurier University
Linda Fegan, Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc
Mike McKeever, Waterloo Public Library
Ken McLaughlin, University of Waterloo
Ellen Jones, Waterloo Public Library
Trudy Beaulne, Social Planning Council of Kitchener Waterloo
Vic Degutis, Waterloo Catholic District School Board 
Bruce Hawkins, City of Waterloo
Garry Bezruki, City of Waterloo
Marlene Coffey, City of Waterloo
Patti McKague, City of Waterloo
Elaine Nesbitt, City of Waterloo

“This recognition is recognition for the countless ways that organizations, businesses and individuals have leveraged technology and broadband in innovative and leading ways throughout this community,” said Simon Farbrother, CAO and Chair of Waterloo’s Intelligent Community Committee. “The success of our intelligent community comes in part from the commitment of our committee to research, understand and articulate how extensive our collective use of technology and broadband is in this region.”