Council work left undone
Wednesday, Oct 04, 2017 09:43 am
In the upcoming election the primary issues are not about councillorís expenses. The issues are about the long-term projects that remain unfinished over the past 15 to 20 years.
The Municipal Development Plan of 1998 set a population cap of 30,000, based on a limited, sustainable water supply. Councilís decision in 2013 to remove that cap was based on a presumption of a sustainable water supply, which could support a population of 80,000.
The recent Recreation, Parks and Leisure Master Plan included a strategy that the Town should acquire land beyond the current Municipal Reserve dedication, since it is highly unlikely the current levels will be sufficient to meet future needs.
It isnít clear why little was done regarding the recommendations of the 2010 Culture, Heritage, Arts Master Plan (CHAMP). However, we are now embarking on a new study titled Culture and Heritage Master Plan to which public input will be encouraged.
A public transit system has been discussed and studied for the past 15 years. We have a pseudo system focussed on commuter traffic, leaving local students and others without an adequate option. Therefore, people still depend on a subsidized taxi service, personal vehicles, Ďmomísí taxi and walking, to get around.
Although there have been numerous revisions to the land use bylaw, Riverside Drive/ South Railway St. remains an area for commercial/residential development, similar to North Railway St.
The question for these and other long term issues is why. Why do we not have a long term sustainable water supply? Why has council not acted on the 2010 CHAMP? Why has council not opted for a focussed, trial Ďlocalí transit system to provide citizens with more flexibility? Why has council not chosen to make town-owned land along the south side of Riverside Drive/ South Railway Street, park land to enhance the Central Park area that already exists?
Another question that needs to be asked, of ourselves as much as of council members, is what do we want Okotoks to be known as? What is the best balance of public amenities to serve the community? What should be the three top priorities to make this happen?
Over the past 20 years the population of Okotoks has increased by 20,000 new citizens. One quarter of these arrived since the last election. Without doing more math, my hope is all eligible voters will check out the candidates running for office and cast their vote in the upcoming election. We can certainly do better than the 25 percent voter turnout of 2013. Vote as you please but please vote.