Sometimes you have to put some money down to live up to one’s commitments.
Okotoks has always justifiably taken pride in its green mandate and striving for sustainability and being concerned about environmental issues in the community.
It took another step forward as Town council approved Phase 1 of the Homestead Project at its May 27 meeting.
The ecovillage project, slated for the D’Arcy area, will tentatively include renewable energy, such as solar panels on carports and main buildings, water re-use partnership with the University of Alberta, a community garden and aquaponic greenhouse and sourcing local materials.
As well, the ecovillage project will include the Tiny Homes proposal, which will help with affordable housing, an issue raised during the 2017 municipal campaign.
Although council approved spending $3.34-million for the first phase of the project, it is kind of playing with house money.
The funds are coming out of capital reserves and not out of the operating budget so the impact on taxpayers is almost zilch, to paraphrase Coun. Ed Sands.
Sure, the capital reserve funds could be used for other projects, but ultimately it’s up to council how and when this money should be spent.
The proposal has been bandied about for a while and if the wish of council is to proceed, it’s time to bite the bullet and make the commitment.
Things aren’t likely to get any cheaper.
Councillors Florence Christophers and Tanya Thorn voted against the proposal over concerns of a lack of a business vision and the initial return for the taxpayers. Valid concerns, and council will need to keep a keen an eye as possible on the project. But it’s time to move on to what hopefully are greener pastures.