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.


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.