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Saskatchewan Innovators Challenged To Find Private Property Access Solutions

oday, while delivering the Premier’s address at the 2019 Convention of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, Premier Scott Moe announced an Innovation Challenge to find creative solutions in connecting would-be land users with rural private property owners to access land.  The Innovation Challenge stems from proposed changes to The Trespass to Property Act, which would require people to get permission from rural property owners to use their land for hunting, and other recreational activities.

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), with support from Innovation Saskatchewan, is leading the challenge and asking Saskatchewan technology startups, entrepreneurs, researchers, and students to find technology solutions to the following question: “How can technology be used as a tool to obtain permission from rural property owners before accessing their land?”  The ideal solution should create a convenient way for communication to occur between those seeking permission to access land and the landowners.

“Saskatchewan has a long history of innovation and entrepreneurial achievement, and right now the technology sector in our province thriving,” Moe said.  “We think there’s an opportunity to continue apply our Saskatchewan innovation when it comes to rural property access.  We’re calling on our vibrant tech sector to bring ideas forward on how we can make it easier to ask for permission to access private land, and easier for property owners to respond to those requests.  With the strong leadership and commitment of SARM, we’re hopeful our innovators and entrepreneurs will answer the call.”

“Providing the public a tool to assist with receiving permission from rural property owners is important,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said.  “SARM hopes this initiative will assist in finding an innovative solution.”

Prior to the April 30 deadline for applications, there will be information sessions held in Regina, Saskatoon and online.  Application forms and further details on the program are available at www.innovationsask.ca.  A winner will be selected through a competitive process involving input from key stakeholders.  The winner will then receive funding of up to $10,000 and will work directly with SARM over the course of four months to develop a prototype of their technology.

“Our agriculture sector is at the forefront of innovation,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said.  “Saskatchewan is home to a growing and inventive tech sector, ready to create solutions.  The Innovation Challenge is a great way to tap into the ingenuity and creativity of Saskatchewan people, and bring together the tech sector and SARM to find a solution that works for both rural residents and the public.”

The Innovation Challenge was first launched in 2017 with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice.  The challenge sought technological solutions to address rural crime.  Saskatoon’s Rivercity Technology Services Limited won the challenge and developed a prototype during the 16-week residency.  The company launched BeeSecure, an application-based tracking system and GPS device to alert land owners about irregular activity related to their property.

To learn more about the Innovation Challenge and how to participate, visit www.innovationsask.ca.

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