Municipal Development Plan Update

After 24 months of work and community and stakeholder engagement, the Town of Okotoks has prepared a new Municipal Development Plan (MDP).  “Uniquely Okotoks” will guide future growth and development as the town’s population grows from nearly 30,000 today to an anticipated 70,000-90,000 people by 2080.  

Based on feedback, the new draft, updated from June 2019 has been re-organized so that it flows better. Council also applied the One Planet Living Framework (a framework that helps us articulate how we can live within the means of the earth to support social, economic and environmental health and wellbeing) and illustrations have been included to help you see what implementation of the MDP might look like.  

Bylaw 23-20 “Uniquely Okotoks,” the bylaw to adopt the proposed Municipal Development Plan (MDP), was given first reading at the Aug 17 regular Council meeting. The MDP is one of the Town’s most essential strategic plans & is used by Council & staff to make decisions about land use, infrastructure investment & community service priorities. The MDP will guide future planning decisions.

We want you to understand how this policy document might benefit you, the residents and business owners of Okotoks. The MDP also has benefits for visitors to our community and the environment. 

MDP SNAPSHOT

Vision

How Do We Get There?

updated dRAFT MDP

Frequently Asked Questions

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How You Benefit from the MDP

We want you to understand how this policy document might benefit you, the residents and business owners of Okotoks. The MDP also has benefits for visitors to our community and the environment. 

Did you know that the policies of the draft MDP will aim to reduce residential taxes and increase services through balancing growth more effectively between commercial and residential businesses? The changes in the updated plan, for example, increased density and commercial/industrial growth, will lower the residential tax rates long-term. 

The aim of the plan is also to streamline processes, amend policies to allow for greater flexibility on parking and setbacks and allow for variety of housing types & options. This will increase the potential for additional options such as laneway suites and the freedom for other housing forms in neighbourhoods within Okotoks. These benefits (and many more!) will contribute to a successful and vibrant community that is unique, fiscally responsible and dynamic to change!

We prepared fictional character profiles, based on Okotoks' demographics, of different people in our community to help you see how the plan can work for you.

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

Dalvinder grew up in Okotoks, and is returning after graduating at the top of her class with a degree in Environmental Science. She is looking forward to saving some money for her own car and apartment, by living back at home with her parents. She is hoping to be able to secure work that uses her education as well as her passion for sustainability.

How the plan will benefit young professionals:

  • Dalvinder is hired for a research position by a biodiversity consulting firm that located in Okotoks’ new innovation precinct.
  • Because Dalvinder works in the innovation precinct, she has access to employee housing nearby and decides she doesn’t need her own car and can instead use her additional disposable income to dine and shop more in the restaurants and shops downtown – further supporting the local economy.
  • Dalvinder also volunteers with one of the local high schools teaching students about the biodiversity monitoring app and helping them collect valuable data for the Town.
OLDER RESIDENTS

Grace and Phillip moved to Okotoks after Phillip retired from the oil and gas sector nearly 10 years ago. They are well established in Okotoks and have many friends they like to socialize with  - taking long walks along the Sheep River. They have frequent visits from their 3 children and 8 grandchildren who all live in Calgary. The upkeep of their 2-level home and yard has become a challenge since Phillip suffered a small stroke last year. While he is still mobile, he is not able to tend to the yard and maintenance like he used to. They also like to travel frequently and would prefer housing options that allow them to “lock and leave” for trips on a moment’s notice without worrying about maintenance. They  want to stay in Okotoks as they age, so they can be close to their friends and continue to enjoy their recreational walks along the Sheep River.

How the plan will benefit residents who want to remain in Okotoks as they age:

  • Because of seniors housing in the new neighbourhood next to where Grace and Phillip live, they can age in place in Okotoks, maintaining relationships with their old neighbours and meeting a new community of friends all who can keep Phillip company while Grace runs errands.
  • Phillip accesses regular health care from the health centre at their neighbourhood hub.
  • Phillip and Grace enjoy the expanded pathway system that connects their new neighbourhood to the Sheep River trails where they walk with their grandchildren.
  • They enjoy coffee and lunch with friends at their neighbourhood hub café.
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

Riley and Matt moved to Okotoks a few months ago after getting married. Riley is a trained chef, and the couple has plans to start their own restaurant with a menu that uses local produce and meats. They have been very focussed on this goal for the last three years, saving money and moving from Kelowna to Okotoks because of the opportunities for small business owners. Riley and his husband don’t have any friends or family in Alberta, and they would like to meet people to expand their social circle and also meet potential local vendors as they prepare to open their restaurant.

How the plan will benefit small business owners:

  • Riley finds a great location for his restaurant in a mixed-use neighbourhood hub with immediate access to new clientele within walking distance.
  • Riley and Matt receive green innovation funding by developing his own One Planet Living plan for the restaurant business.
  • Access to local produce through weekly farmer’s markets helps Riley connect with local vegetable producers as suppliers for his restaurant and supplements the produce they hope to grow on their roof top garden.
  • Riley and Matt bought into a co-housing development with electrical charging stations for their new electric car.
  • The co-housing members enjoy low electricity rates through solar energy they generate and sell back to the grid.
  • They meet most of their neighbours during a street festival hosted by their co-housing community.
FAMILIES WITH LOWER INCOMES

Taylor moved to Okotoks from Vancouver Island five years ago to be closer to her parents. She is an artist and single mother of two children who attend Westmount School. Her son, 10 is in a wheelchair due to an auto-immune disease he contracted six years ago. Her daughter is 12. They are a very outdoorsy and active family with trails, nature, and recreation being very important to them even though they don’t have a lot of money to spare.

How the plan will benefit lower-income households:

  • Taylor and her family secure accessible, affordable housing through a project funded in part by the housing reserve fund.
  • Taylor secures studio space at the downtown Arts and Learning Campus.
  • Taylor’s son will have equity access to recreation. This means that Universal Design principles in park planning will result in play infrastructure that accommodates wheelchairs.
  • They use transit to travel to her son’s physical therapy appointments downtown.
  • Taylor’s daughter plays in a recreational hockey league thanks to a financial support program.
  • They all regularly travel along the pathway system for recreation, travel to school and to visit friends. Middle Class households
MIDDLE-CLASS HOUSEHOLDS

George and Judy grew up in Okotoks and decided to stay after they got married even though George’s job was in Calgary. George commuted with the family car while Judy worked raising their three children, now ages 14, 12 and 8. The kids enjoy after school recreation programs and Judy and George like to attend local entertainment events in the evenings.

How the plan will benefit middle-class households:

  • With increased housing developments and more office and industrial uses locating in Okotoks, the Town’s tax base has increased and diversified. George and Judy’s property taxes were lowered so now they have more money to invest in their retirement savings.
  • Judy and the kids take Okotoks on-demand transit and are able to access more recreation programs, services and complete more errands while George is using the family car for work.
  • The two older children take on-demand transit or ride their bicycles along pathways to visit friends across Town.
  • During the day, Judy enjoys walking their small dog to the neighbourhood hub for a coffee and to do a bit of shopping for their nightly dinners. She enjoys living in a community with close proximity to amenities and high quality urban design.
  • George was recently offered a job in Okotoks at a new office in the downtown and will no longer need to commute daily to Calgary.
VISITORS TO OKOTOKS

Jasmine and Tala are two friends who live in Ontario and enjoy traveling to smaller towns and cities to experience local culture and events.

How the plan will benefit visitors to Okotoks:

  • Increase in festival and event permits means that over the course of a 10 day visit, they get to enjoy festivals across two weekends in the summer
  • Attend a performing arts showcase at the Arts and Learning Campus
  • Enjoy treating themselves to unique arts and crafts from local artisans on Elma Street
  • Although not major sporting fans, they took in a baseball game at Seaman Stadium to try out something different and enjoy the Town spirit.
ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

The Municipal Development Plan isn’t just for people. The environment we live in also needs protection and policy support in the MDP. The environment sustains us and in return, we have a responsibility to protect and enhance it.

Biodiversity refers to the variety of species that live in a particular habitat.  It includes all living things on Earth and how they interact. In Okotoks, we are lucky to live within a habitat with resources that allow many species to survive and thrive. In return, these species provide important services to humans. These include providing us with clean air, water purification, climate regulation, pollination, and much more!

How the plan will benefit biodiversity and the environment:

  • Regional partnerships help to conserve and restore ecosystems.
  • Natural assets and ecosystems are valued for their biodiversity and recreational benefits.
  • A healthy urban forest means habitat for local bird species and psychological and recreational benefits for human residents and visitors.
  • The habitat of the Sheep River is restored and enhanced and downstream impacts are minimized because of the one in two hundred year flood mitigation approaches.
More Information
Project Timeline

The draft will be presented to Council for first reading on August 17, 2020. This will be followed by a Public Hearing, which has been tentatively scheduled for September 14, 2020. This will be your opportunity to tell Council directly your thoughts on the Plan.

PROJECT TIMELINE

What is a Municipal Development Plan (MDP)?

The MDP is one of the Town’s most essential  strategic plans and is used by Council and staff  to make decisions about land use, infrastructure investment, and community service priorities.  The MDP will guide future planning decisions like:

  • Where should new development go and what form will it take?
  • How can we create more local jobs?
  • What does sustainability mean for Okotoks, and how can we encourage innovation that is also practical and realistic?
  • How can we conserve our natural areas and water resources as growth and development occur?
  • What types of housing do existing and future residents need, and how we can encourage more affordable housing?
  • How can we make it easy for everyone to get around Okotoks?
  • How can we reduce our emissions and energy use and plan for climate change?
  • How can we create quality places that reflect Okotoks’ identity and are safe and welcoming for people of all ages and abilities?
What are the Key Issues?

A series of Key Issues papers were developed at the beginning of the project. For additional information on key topics, check out the papers. These topics were explored throughout the process and you were asked for your thoughts.

Key Issue Papers

Introduction

Community Resilience

Housing Choice Affordability

Local Economy & Jobs

Neighbourhood Design

Parks & Natural Areas

Placemaking & Identity

Sustainable Transportation

Water Infrastructure

Engagement Summaries

Thank you to everyone who participated in our engagement events and activities! Your input is appreciated and the feedback received from all phases, along with technical analysis and Council direction, helped us refine and shape this draft of the Municipal Development Plan.   

Phase 1: May 2018-June 2018

In Phase 1, the process began with a fun, interactive public event and questionnaire to ask about priorities and big ideas for the future.  

PHASE 1 Public participation SNAPSHOT

PHASE 1 PARTICIPATION SUMMARY REPORT

Phase 2: July 2018-March 2019

In Phase 2 of the public participation for the MDP Update project, community members and stakeholder groups were invited to share their feedback on key policy options through public workshops, interactive MDPizza Party workbooks, and workshops in Okotoks schools. To learn what we heard, please click the buttons below. ​​

PHASE 2 PARTICIPATION SNAPSHOT

PHASE 2 PARTICIPATION SUMMARY REPORT

LOCAL JOBS AND ECONOMY WORKSHOP SNAPSHOT

HOUSING DIVERSITY - OBJECTIVES TO INFORM HOUSING POLICY

LOCAL JOBS AND ECONOMY WORKSHOP SUMMARY

PHASE 3: APRIL 2019-JULY 2019

The following snapshot and report provide a summary of public feedback on the draft Municipal Development Plan.​

PHASE 3 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SNAPSHOT

PHASE 3 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SUMMARY REPORT

Frequently Asked Questions

Click button below for FAQs.

FAQ

MDP Update News Releases

January 15, 2019
Town invites public input to guide Okotoks’ future growth

Residents are invited to participate in one of two Town workshops to provide input and feedback on proposed policies that will shape Okotoks’ future growth.

“These interactive workshops are a significant opportunity for community members to help shape how Okotoks can grow in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Michael MacIntyre, Development Services Director.  “We will be examining key policies for the Municipal Development Plan, which is the foundational framework the Town uses to address long-term community development and land use. Council and administration are eager to hear what residents have to say.”

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) directs key decisions about land use, infrastructure investment, and community service priorities. Residents’ feedback will be incorporated into policy changes within the MDP.  The updated plan is expected to be finalized in fall 2019.

The workshops will be held Thursday, January 31 from 6-9 p.m. or Saturday, February 2 from 9 a.m.- noon at Pason Centennial Arena.

Six key issue areas will be addressed in the workshops: water, neighbourhood design, housing options, sustainable transportation, parks and natural areas, and climate action.

These workshops represent the second phase of the MDP update, which focuses on formulating early policy ideas. In Phase 1, which concluded in June 2018, the Town asked the community to identify priorities for the future and explore big ideas for the MDP. A public workshop on Jobs and Economy was held in October.

To register for the workshops by January 29 and for project information and updates, please visit www.okotoks.ca/MDP.

October 2, 2018
Town and Chamber host jobs and economy workshop
The Town of Okotoks, in partnership with the Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce, invites residents, business owners, and community groups to a breakfast workshop on jobs and local economy.  The workshop will be held October 17 from 7:30 – 10:00 am at Foothills Centennial Centre.

Information gathered during the workshop will help to inform the Municipal Development Plan (MDP), which will guide how Okotoks grows and develops over the next 50 to 60 years.

“Resident feedback is an essential part in creating a plan that best reflects the community’s vision.  It will help guide how Okotoks Town Council makes important decisions on critical matters such as future growth, community services, diversified housing, water infrastructure, business development, local jobs and much more,” said Michael MacIntyre, Development Services Director.

This workshop begins the second phase of the public participation in developing a new MDP.   In Phase 1, the community was asked about their priorities for the future and explored some big ideas on topics such as the economy, housing, transportation, parks, infrastructure, and sustainability.  In Phase 2, residents will be asked to further explore policy options and trade-offs.

The MDP will guide planning decisions for jobs and local economy by considering:

  • Where should new development go and what form will it take?
  • How can more local jobs be created?
  • How can land use policies be developed to better support existing and attract new businesses?
  • How can sustainable innovation be encouraged so that it is practical and realistic?
  • How can a high quality of life be supported to both attract and retain employees as well as meet consumer demand to support our local economy?

For more information and to RSVP for the workshop by October 15, please visit www.okotoks.ca/MDP.

 

May 2, 2018
Resident input needed for Municipal Development Plan

Okotoks residents are invited to share their thoughts on how the community should progress as the Town of Okotoks gets set to update the Municipal Development Plan (MPD).  By having a robust public participation process, the plan will reflect the aspirations and concerns of community members.

“The MDP is the foundational framework the Town uses to address long-term community development, land use, and growth in a responsible and sustainable way.  The feedback we receive from the community will help set the vision, principles and goals of the plan,” said Michael MacIntyre, Development Services Director.

Resident feedback is an essential part in creating a plan that best reflects the community’s vision for the future.  It will help guide how the Town makes important decisions on growth in the annexed lands, affordable housing, local jobs, transportation, water infrastructure, watershed management and ecosystem values,  business development,  active transportation, parks and open spaces, community services and more.

To share your vision for Okotoks’ future, residents are encouraged to attend the first interactive MDP information session on Saturday, May 12 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Foothills Centennial Centre.  An online survey will also be available from May 7-20 at www.okotoks.ca/MDP.

Join the Email Distribution List and/or Ask Questions/Leave Feedback

If you would like to join the email distribution list for updates, have a question or want to provide input, please submit by clicking the button below.  Thank you for your feedback!

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