Okotoks Council Passes First Reading Regarding Funding for Ecovillage

At the August 19 meeting, Council passed first reading of a bylaw that would stop ratepayer funding for the ecovillage portion of the Homestead Project.

The bylaw was in response to a petition opposed to the project that administration determined met the Municipal Government Act’s requirements for sufficiency.

“While it is disappointing that Council must consider not proceeding with this project, we respect the democratic process and the results of the petition,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “Council will honour the requests contained within the petition.”

Bylaws require three readings in order to become official. The second and third readings for this bylaw will be brought forward at the September 9 meeting.

Council reiterated that affordable housing will continue to be a priority for the Town, with several other initiatives underway. The partnership with Westwinds and Rowan House will provide an additional 70 units of affordable housing for the community and the Affordable Housing Task Force is expected to complete an implementation plan in November, which will form the basis for future activities to support alternative housing.

If Council passes second and third reading of the bylaw in September, the proposed 10.8 acre parcel of land in the D’Arcy subdivision will no longer be planned to include the ecovillage. The Town will go back to the drawing board to determine the best municipal purpose for that land. Any development will need to fit within the approved uses for this site, which include recreational, educational and community. The Town must retain ownership of the land in perpetuity and will be responsible for all costs associated with developing it.

The Town is currently in the process of completing its Corporate Land Strategy, where community assets and available land are prioritized and matched with current master plans.  This parcel of land will now be considered part of that planning framework.  The Corporate Land Strategy is expected to have a first draft ready for public input in March 2020.

The Town will continue to invite residents to provide input on projects and initiatives. A listing of current public participation activities are available on the Town’s public participation page – More Information