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Urban Forest Management
As Okotoks is experiencing rapid growth and development, the urban forest is also increasing rapidly in population. Individual trees take many years or even a few decades to reach their maximum potential. Trees are recognized as valuable assets by reducing temperature extremes, reducing energy losses, absorbing carbon dioxide, and increasing aesthetic appeal and property value. Species selection, planting specifications, and management practices collectively determine the ability of a forest to be resilient to periods of drought, insect and disease infestation, and high maintenance costs.
It is important to have long term goals and objectives to manage this ever-growing and changing asset such that future generations will benefit from our endeavours. The purpose of the Town’s Urban Forest Management Plan is to set goals for conserving water, minimizing run-off, diminishing pest and disease losses, and reducing maintenance costs while growing a beautiful, healthy and strong forest asset.
These goals incorporate the vision of “Sustainable Okotoks” and environmental stewardship.
Resident Plantings on Public Property
The Town of Okotoks does not permit resident plantings on public land.
On March 10, 2008 Town of Okotoks Council adopted the new Urban Forest Management Plan including the discontinuation of residents planting on Town property.
The following issues were the basis of this decision: liability and access to underground utilities, application of chemicals by residents on public property, maintenance expectations, encroachment and pruning, change in private property ownership, and the appearance and theme of the planting including lack of community consultation and non-native plantings in natural areas. In some cases the planting suggests an extension of private property and is less welcoming to park users.
Unless the resident has obtained a landscape agreement permit for plantings prior to 2008, the Town of Okotoks requires they remove the plantings or move them inside their property boundary. In areas of new development, the Town will not provide Final Acceptance Certificates (FACs) to developers on landscapes containing unapproved plantings.
Memorial trees and other plant donations may be permitted, but must be coordinated through Open Spaces at 403.938-8958.