Meet our 10 finalists


Amie Renaud


Amie is the Coordinator of Services for Recreation Integration Victoria. She has spent over a decade coaching and managing sailing programs for people with disabilities. She is a Board Member for DSAVictoria, and is a OneAbility committee member, a collaborative approach for Adaptive Sport and Physical Activity. When Amie is not working, she enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring Victoria.


How is your project "smart" and aligned to the themes of Smart South Island?

A Smart City is one that plans based on the needs of its citizens. This project was an idea entirely generated by people with disabilities in our community, for people with disabilities in our community, and has engaged people with disabilities in the research, planning and development phases of the project! We align with the themes of Economic Resilience & Inclusion, Human Health and Transportation & Mobility.  


How was the final concept determined?

Through a forum where we engaged with almost 300 people with disabilities, their friends, caregivers and service providers to better understanding their barriers. We discovered many people with disabilities didn’t even attempt to use recreation centres because they were concerned it would be an exercise in frustration around access.


How does your concept name explain itself?

LAVA stands for the Leisure Access Victoria App. Our motto is 'Know Before You Go!' We wanted a catchy name motto that people would remember!


Where else in Canada or the world could you see your project being effective?

Everywhere! Our vision is to facilitate the expansion of our model to any community with a recreation or public leisure facility.


What was the biggest challenge in creating your concept?

Being an agency that works directly with people with disabilities, we do not spend much of our time working in web and technology development. Learning the 'lingo' and the creation and design process have by far been the biggest challenges. We welcomed this challenge with open arms.


What has been the most enjoyable part of creating your concept?

Seeing the positive reaction and excitement from our clients and their family members, caregivers and friends when we share the news of this project. We hear countless stories about barriers, negative first experiences and the impact of sedentary lifestyles from the people we support in our community and we can't wait to impact their lives in a positive meaningful way.


If you could select any well-known person to endorse your project, who would it be and why?

Michelle Stillwell - MLA for Parksville, Qualicum. As a successful Paralympic athlete, accomplished politician and community leader in the areas of sport, recreation and active living, and a Vancouver Islander herself, Michelle would be an incredible person to endorse our project!


If you could include any partner(s) within your concept who would they be and why?

VIATEC - I love that they strive to combine technology with community.


What long-term impact do you envision about your project?

Our greatest long-term impact would be increasing the participation rate for people with disabilities in our community recreation centres, thus having a direct impact on their sense of belonging, health outcomes, and overall wellbeing.


Why is Smart South Island important to our Region?

As stated, a Smart City is one that develops based on the needs of its citizens - this is not possible without the 'smart' leadership the Smart South Island is spearheading!