With all the amenities of a large city and the small town charm of days gone by; Okotoks has become one of Canada’s fastest growing communities.
With a core comprised of Old Towne Okotoks with its kitschy shops and tasty cafés, surrounded by new communities in construction and every amenity imaginable Okotoks is — according to town demographics — the tenth fastest growing community in Canada between 2006 and 2011 with acurrent population of about 24,962.
In 1998, a growth model estimated a build-out population of between 25,000 and 30,000 people for the town, a cap that was recently lifted.
“While public feedback has been mixed, the majority believes that growth is inevitable, solutions need to be found for future water supply, and that our quality of life and community values must be maintained,” said a Town release.
“Okotoks Town Council Looks forward to working with Administration and the public to develop our plans for future development in Okotoks,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “We will remain a leader in sustainability and manage growth in ways that retain our friendly, caring and safe community.”
Okotoks is making great strides as far as sustainability is concerned. In 2007, solar energy began to be utilized within the Drake Landing Solar Community. Solar energy is stored underground in the community during the summer months then utilized to heat homes in the winter, “fulfilling 90 per cent of each home’s space heating requirements from solar energy and resulting in less dependency on limited fossil fuels,” said the community website DLSC.ca.
More recently, TV personality and contractor Mike Holmes has been waiting on the green light for a sustainable community just outside Okotoks in the MD of Foothills. Wind Walk would include a population of about 1,100 people and include more than 10 acres of parks including more than 80 subplots for a combined community garden and farmer’s market.
Housing sales in Okotoks increased in the second and third quarters of 2012 after a relatively slow start to the year said CREB® economist Ann-Marie Lurie adding, after the first three quarters of the year, sales activity improved by 13 per cent compared to the same time last year.
“The rise in sales was accompanied by a drop in new listings, resulting in a tightening in supply in the market. Despite the decline, the market has remained relatively balanced,” she said. “As of September the single-family benchmark price in Okotoks was $369,100, nearly five per cent higher than 2011, but slightly lower than the previous month not accounting for seasonal factors. Overall, the Okotoks market has demonstrated stable growth with continued price recovery.”
Okotoks Erratic A.K.A. The Big Rock
Located just west of Okotoks, The Big Rock was deposited in its current grassland home by a passing glacier that melted some 10,000 years ago. The signature crack is explained by the legend of Blackfoot trickster Napi resting on the rock one day and giving it his blanket in return. With a sudden change in the weather Napi tried to take his blanket back but the rock refused. Napi took the robe anyways and the rock chased him. Animals who tried to aid Napi were crushed by the rock until some bats flew at it cracking it in half. The tale is a lesson of caution against taking back what you have given away.
Okotoks Urgent Care Centre
Conveniently located in the heart of Okotoks at 11 Cimarron Common, the Okotoks Urgent Care Centre includes a staff or nurses, nurse practitioners and physicians. The centre is also supported by a full service laboratory and X-Ray department and is open seven days a week. Other services provided by the centre include blood pressure monitoring, adult day support and the Calgary Rural Pediatric Rehabilitation Program.
Seaman Stadium: Home of the Dawgs
Moving from Calgary to Okotoks in 2007, the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) Okotoks Dawgs have enjoyed continued success. The Dawgs are one of the highest draws for baseball in Alberta in the stadium funded by brothers Don and the late Doc Seaman. The facility has a capacity of 3,000 and features the Duvernay Fieldhouse, a full size indoor training centre second only to the Toronto Blue Jays for training centres in Canada.