Summer is fast approaching, and for Lake Huron beaches that means residents and visitors arriving to enjoy some sand, swimming and sun. But the joys of a day at the beach can also come with risks: quick underwater rip currents that can put unsuspecting swimmers into danger.
To help make our waterfront a safer place for all to enjoy, the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) will launch the first-of-its-kind Smart Beach pilot project at Station Beach in Kincardine on May 25, 2022.
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., the launch event welcomes the public to engage with project team members and Dr. Chris Houser—the lead researcher behind the Smart Beach technology—to learn about what the project means for the community.
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 on rip current locations, rough surf and dangerous areas to avoid.
“Our research team is excited to get to work,” said Dr. Chris Houser, Dean of Science and a professor in the School of Environment at the University of Windsor. “Over the next couple of months we’ll be busy monitoring and modeling the waves and currents at Station Beach and the potential hazards to beach users.”
“This project has been a great opportunity to engage the grassroots in the community and tailor this initiative to the local area, developing thoughtful communications and outreach activities to complement the Smart Beach technology,” said Becky Smith, Director of the Centre for Municipal Innovation at the Nuclear Innovation Institute. “I’m excited to see where we can expand this project over the three-year pilot and beyond.”
“The Smart Beach project is a prime example of the Municipal Innovation Council at work on an innovative solution that can be adapted to and applied across our member municipalities on the Great Lakes,” said Kara Van Myall, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Saugeen Shores and Chair of the Municipal Innovation Council. “Together with community partners, we are building smarter, safer amenities for everyone to enjoy.”
“We look forward to the data that Dr. Houser’s team will compile and analyze. Being able to have predictive tools will allow Kincardine to provide beach users the knowledge to enjoy a safer experience at Station Beach,” says Kincardine Fire & Emergency Services Chief Brad Lemaich. “The information will also help to minimize first responder risk levels if we are called to the scene.”
Learn more about the Smart Beach project at smartbeach.ca.
And for more information about the municipal innovation work happening in Bruce County, visit the Nuclear Innovation Institute’s website at: nii.ca/municipal-innovation and join the conversation on Twitter (@OntarioNII), on LinkedIn (Nuclear Innovation Institute) and on Facebook (@OntarioNII).