Okotoks is prepared to plan its next 50 years of growth.
Town council gave third reading to its new Municipal Development Plan, Uniquely Okotoks, at its Dec. 14 meeting, after the document had received approval from the Calgary Metropolitan Regional Board (CMRB).
Senior planner Amanda Brinda said the MDP was deemed to be in compliance with the interim growth plan of the CMRB.
“The only condition they attached to it was that we will likely have to update it when the full growth plan takes effect,” said Brinda, adding the same applies to all bylaws passed and existing bylaws for regional municipalities, including MDPs and area structure plans.
Member municipalities reviewed the plan for 28 days after CMRB approval and no challenges were issued, she said.
Coun. Florence Christophers pointed out an inconsistency in wording within the document, and made a motion to amend references to zero waste and zero pollution to reflect the 90 per cent zero waste target the Town strives for in its MDP and the existing waste management and environmental master plans.
“I think most of this document has tremendous stretched goals in it, it’s going to take a lot of work and many, many years – if not decades – to achieve everything that’s been envisioned here,” said Christophers. “But trying to achieve zero pollution through a culture of sharing, reusing and recycling is impossible.
“Every car on our streets is pollution, dryer sheets are pollution, homes emit pollution when they burn natural gas. It just doesn’t add anything to our MDP.”
Brinda said amending the wording in a few sections to align with other points in the document shouldn’t trigger the need for complete review by the CMRB.
Overall council was pleased with the document after what Coun. Tanya Thorn called a “lengthy process.”
The community framework was long overdue, she said.
“I know that there’s pieces in here that not everybody who will be impacted by it love, but I think it’s setting our community in the right long-term direction, gives us some aspirational goals to try to achieve, and creates a framework for us to move forward with development and planning as we go,” said Thorn.
Coun. Ed Sands commended administration and council for the hard work that went into developing a new MDP.
“What a piece of work this has been,” said Sands. “Actually, what an interesting opportunity, to have been on council long enough to have been part of two of these things.”