The City of Revelstoke has received $100,000 in funding from the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund to build on the success of its community-wide Technology Strategy. Developed over the past three years with input from local business, tech entrepreneurs, educators and trainers, the Technology Strategy is focused on:
- Promoting Revelstoke as being an innovative and technology friendly community
- Supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs to adopt digital technology
- Supporting youth access to technology programming and digital technologies both within and external to school programming
- Adoption of Smart Technologies for the purpose of improved economic, social and environmental resiliency
- Development of investment opportunities in technology
The continuation of the project will work closely with existing and newly identified partners at
both the local and regional levels to expand and implement the Tech Strategy, including:
Revelstoke Fabrication Lab Society
The Revelstoke Fabrication Lab, supported by the Rural Dividend Fund and the City of Revelstoke, was a key outcome of the original Tech Strategy and grew out of the needs identified through its implementation. This project provides access to a higher level of skills training in collaboration with tech entrepreneurs, mentors, educators and trainers.
Formed in 2018, the Fab Lab Society plans to open the Revelstoke Fabrication Lab in the fall of 2019. The Fab Lab will be a technical prototyping facility that will stimulate entrepreneurs, youth, women and local businesses to develop and commercialize new marketable products through better access to digital manufacturing technologies and tools. Training staff will be on site to provide structured programs and workshops for users to gain technology skills and access equipment.
A 3D printer and scanner are among the list of equipment to be featured at the Fab Lab.
Creating spaces that promote learning, mentorship, collaboration and inspiration is at the core of what the Revelstoke Fabrication Lab aims to do, with partnerships already underway to promote digital learning in the community.
The Fab Lab Society has recently purchased equipment for a mobile lab to be used by the greater Revelstoke community. Equipment has already been used in STEAM-based educational programs offered by Begbie View Elementary School and Columbia Park Elementary School during 2019, with the intention of continuing and expanding these important educational partnerships in following years.
Fab Lab has also partnered with Okanagan College to deliver youth mechatronics summer camps with qualified instructors at the local college campus this summer. View the brochure for more information on Camp OC.
“Revelstoke is filled with entrepreneurs, artists, makers, and curious learners of all ages. Our goal with this project is to create a community space where kids and adults can design and build things that they previously wouldn’t have had the skills or tools to do” said Dylan Hardy, director, Revelstoke Fabrication Lab Society.
OK College is also contributing to the tech learning scene in Revelstoke with their Mobile Digital Classroom, funded by the College, Columbia Basin Trust and the Revelstoke Credit Union.
Motivated by the launch of the Tourism Management Diploma being offered at the local campus in the fall of 2019, the equipment will provide students with the opportunity to participate in digital-based learning and will also be shared with other educational programs and community groups.
Video conferencing, individual lap top stations, and upgraded networking will enable a ‘virtual classroom’ providing broader access to programs to meet community training needs.
“Summer camps at Camp OC offer opportunities for youth to spend time immersed in topics that are engaging and informative,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “The Mechatronics camp, developed in partnership with the Revelstoke Fab Lab, makes it possible for youth to explore electronics and technology through hands-on learning opportunities. With the significant role technology plays in our lives, camps like this can open doors for students to become aware of the possibilities for careers and education in the world of technology.”
Okanagan Regional Library
The ORL, with initial support from the Columbia Basin Trust Technology Grant, has recently kicked off a funding campaign for their ‘Revlab’, which focuses on barrier-free access to technology. The Revelstoke Learning Lab will provide community members with the perfect introduction to technology. It will help to equip both adults and youth with digital literacy and entry-level tech skills, all provided free-of-charge in a library setting, and including:
- Whisper room for sound recording/podcasting
- Full Adobe media Suite installed on a computer for multimedia digital editing and production
- Digitization equipment for converting old photos, film, and audio to digital formats
- Virtual gaming headset
- Cricut machine for cutting paper, leather and vinyl
- Laptop cart for teaching purposes
- Expansion of current STEAM teaching collection for children and teens
- Multimedia recording studio (video equipment and green screen)
“It is increasingly apparent that being technically literate is as critical to survival in the 21st century as being able to read and write,” said Don Nettleton, chief executive officer of the Okanagan Regional Library, in a news release. “The goal of the library’s Revlab is to help introduce and equip everybody in the community, no matter their age, background, or economic status, to digital literacy so that they have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to effectively live and work in our modern world”.
The Technology Strategy also fostered the program Start-up Revelstoke, which is now supported by Community Futures, and compliments the organization’s on-going business support resources. Start-up Revelstoke provides one-on-one business coaching to entrepreneurs, as well as workshops and access to business development services currently offered by Community Futures through the Revelstoke Business Information Centre. For more information is available here.
Revelstoke Mountain CoLab
Revelstoke Mountain CoLab is a co-working space in downtown Revelstoke that supports 45 to 75 members seasonally. The CoLab is home to a modern workforce of entrepreneurs and remote workers all empowered by tech, whether working in science, service or creative fields.
Equipped with Gigabit internet in a mountain-modern space, the CoLab has been a starting point for many local tech businesses, like Chronometer (which now employs over 20 people), and Tree Construction (which builds passive technology homes and buildings).
The CoLab serves as a community hub and networking space that works closely with the City’s Tech Strategy to regularly host a robust set of tech meetups and tech nights, and to support innovation in its most crucial infancy, and beyond.
Community Economic Development
The original community-wide Technology Strategy has been implemented over the past two years through the City’s Community Economic Development department, led by a Tech Coordinator and a Technology Steering Committee.
To date several outcomes of the strategy have been achieved, including:
- 18 monthly tech meet-ups
- two Revelstoke Youth Tech Summits
- multiple tech workshops
- establishment of a tech mentorship program within RSS
- four tech career workshops at RSS
- the creation of an inventory of tech workers in the community
- creation of tech consultants list
- materials promoting Revelstoke as innovative and technology-friendly
- the identification of barriers to the attraction and retention of knowledge workers and technology companies,
- the identification of specific technology opportunities
- participation on federal and provincial Smart Cities Challenges