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BSC2009 – The Sustainability of Okotoks

Water Lily

Why be a sustainable community?

  • Involved connected creative community

Necessity – statutory requirements of land planning

  • Building within the environmental carrying capacity
  • Population growth 1988 – 4,000 people 2015 30,000 people. (16% growth)

Country residential fragments and expands infrastructure of all types

Dwellers on the threshold

A choice to be made –

  • Planned destiny
  • By intent
  • A vision for 2030

Good Governance is critical

Resident Commitment

  • 89% of community is somewhat in support
  • 90% of residents are somewhat aware of the sustainability activcities of the community

Corporate Commitment

  • It’s a project of not a department of the municipality

Can it be done?

Strategic Growth

  • Clear targets negotiated well in advance
  • 15-20 year build out
  • A plan
  • Land ownership of environmentally sensitive areas
  • Density
  • Water use (currently 333, target of 318 litres per capita per day).
  • Increased non-residential service base.

Water

  • Living within our means
  • compared with high river at 778 litres per capital per day.
  • Sheep river ecological and water alocation issues
  • 30% reduction per capita since the 90’s
  • 100% metering
  • incentives and initiatives
  • self funded water system
    • moving toward 90% Consumption Based / 10% Fixed Rate Structure (currently 80/20 split)
    • Increasing Block Rate Structure for seasonal consumptive patterns
  • Water Conservation Regulations
    • Odd numbered addresses Thurs and Sunday etc
  • Development Density Bonus Water Conservation
  • Also relates to GHG reductions.

Wastewater

  • system generates grade A compost sewerage sludge (mixed with sawdust) 100% pathogen kill, average 16 days then 6-8 months offsite.
  • Bio reactor processes 2.45 million litres per day
  • EPCOR design build operate contract
  • returns high quality treated effluent amounts of 70-80% of the Town’s daily water withdrawl.
  • Massive improvements in effluent quality

Energy

  • Municipal buildings – ecoefficiency
  • 30% Total reduction in energy (up to 805 in some buildings)
  • 20% reduction in GHG
  • Solar energy for aquatic centre
  • UV Pool Cleaning System – lower energy and reduced CO2

Drake Landing

  • Seasonal Solar Project
  • 90% solar fraction
  • 1st subdivision to be entirely R2000
  • Reduction of 5 tonnes of GHG per year (average home 6-7 tonnes)
  • Solar collectors on rear detached solar heating loops
    • underground thermal storage (boreholes energy thermal system)
    • district energy system
    • 50-60% of a families hot water needs are met by the solar system
  • Homes are all Built Green Certified

Waste

  • Zero waste target goal by 2015
  • Tonnage per capita dropped in the 90’s, then crept up since then
  • Discontinue collection of yard waste
  • 40% of waste being diverted from landfill due to community recycling efforts

Land

  • turf management
  • forest management
  • pesticide use
  • xeriscaping
  • sustainable neighbourhood design
  • Downtown revitalization
    • Prohibit strip malls
    • discourage unnecessary signage
  • Commercial assessment ration has risen
  • Labour Force commuting outside of the community has reduced from ~60% to ~40%
  • Preserving the small town atmosphere
  • Preserving the “Past”
  • Parkway connections
    • Interface of parks and gathering locations

Choices around finite growth model concerning the population pressures around the Calgary Region.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.