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Interview with Okotoks, Alberta Mayor Bill Robertson

The Town of Okotoks is surrounded by magnificent Rocky Mountain views, bountiful rolling hills and the splendid Sheep River Valley. Mayor Bill Robertson shares more on this great town below.

1)  Okotoks has frequently been among the fastest growing and most attractive     communities in Alberta.  To what factors do you attribute this phenomenon?

Okotoks’ efforts in thoughtful community planning and design, nurturing a strong economy and encouraging a vibrant civic culture are a reflection of our residents’ desire to build a desirable community.  By preserving our small-town feeling while offering all amenities, our residents rate our quality of life as very high.  Okotoks also offers a variety of recreation, education, and employment opportunities. Okotoks is successful in attracting tourists by offering unique shopping, exceptional dining and many cultural and recreational opportunities.  Okotoks is also part of Cool Little Towns, a wonderful Foothills region initiative that allows people to experience the beauty of this area.

2)  What types of business investment/development is Okotoks attracting in 2015?

Okotoks is enhancing its economy through the expansion and attraction of compatible industry segments, knowledge-based and technology businesses, as well as fostering an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive, while maintaining Okotoks’ unique cultural and small town feel.

3)  Can you share information about any new growth/development/re-development occurring in Okotoks?

To accommodate anticipated growth and ensure that future development plans maintain the values and principles that are important to residents, a robust community planning process is being undertaken for the lands within Town boundaries by the Town in collaboration with the developer, United Communities. This planning process will guide the future development of these lands through amendments to the respective Area Structure Plans.

With regard to land use mix on these two sites, the existing statutory plans anticipate residential land uses with nodes of commercial.

4)  Okotoks has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability.  How is this commitment demonstrated in 2015?

The Town of Okotoks continues to be committed to sustainable development and environmental stewardship, through the development of a new Integrated Community Sustainability Plan and several innovative environmental initiatives.  The new plan, in alignment with the community’s recently adopted long range vision, will continue to set municipal innovation and leadership in sustainable development as one of the community’s key objectives.

In 2015, the Town of Okotoks was recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as a municipal leader in innovation and excellence for its decade long Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity Plan and associated programs.  Over the past ten years, the Town achieved a 46% reduction in gross per capita water consumption. In 2013 Okotoks achieved one of the lowest per capita gross water consumption rates in North America, a rate of 273 litres per capita per day.

The Town of Okotoks in partnership with the Source 2 Source Environmental Design and Engineering, the University of Calgary, and the Bow River Basin Council are implementing an innovative riparian bio-retention storm water management system and research project at the Town of Okotoks Operations Centre. The goal is to improve the water quality and quantity of the discharged water. This natural bio-retention system will utilize native plants and permeable soils to treat and manage the storm water. In addition to being a research site, the project will also be an educational and learning site of regional significance.  

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