The Town of Okotoks became one of the first municipalities in the world to establish growth targets linked to infrastructure development and environmental carrying capacity when it adopted the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) in 1998. The Town, dependent on the Sheep River for its water and its ability to treat and dispose effluent, faced a crossroad in 1998 - it could continue to "grow without limits" and plan accordingly, or it could take a "road less traveled" and choose to live within the carrying capacity of the Sheep River watershed. The community chose to respond, rather than manipulate the environment. At this time the moniker Sustainable Okotoks was adopted.
Okotoks’ carrying capacity in 1998 was identified as approximately 30,000 people. A build-out municipal boundary was established, with a set of targets and initiatives identified to ensure build-out population could be reached in an environmentally, economically, socially, and fiscally responsible way.
The four pillars of Sustainable Okotoks were created to guide and shape a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainable development:
- Environmental stewardship
- Economic Opportunity
- Social Conscience
- Fiscal Responsibility
In 2012, due to growth pressures in the region, the Town of Okotoks, after three years of public consultation, transitioned from the finite growth model of the 1998 MDP to one of continued growth.
Future growth plans will maintain the values and principles of our current sustainability model. Sustainability will continue to be as important as we move forward.
Our Sustainability pillars are to evolve in 2015 with the development of a new Community Sustainability Plan in 2015.