Calgary

Okotoks votes to buy treated water from Calgary

Okotoks has voted to negotiate a contract with Calgary to supply the town with treated water.

Town 18 km south of Calgary faces water shortage in wake of lifting population cap

Okotoks has voted to negotiate a contract with Calgary to supply the town with treated water.

Water was the biggest issue in last month’s election, said Coun. Matt Rockley.

“This is a momentous day for Okotoks because this council has now provided that direction,” he said.

The town has been studying the option of piping down water from Calgary as well as an option to treat its own water from the Bow River.

Mayor Bill Robertson was urging councillors to wait for that research to be finished before making a decision, but he lost that fight as council voted four to three in favour of the Calgary option. 

“It's time to certainly move on. It didn't go my way. Unfortunately we're not going to look at all of the options and perhaps this may be the best decision for the community but it may not be,” he said.

“So because of that I'm disappointed in the outcome of it but I do support the will of council.”

Coun. Ed Sands said putting all the eggs in the Calgary basket might upset the town’s neighbouring communities.

“I think it directs us solely to Calgary and I think it has alienated us from our regional partners as we're discussing temporary solutions. So it almost makes our situation more critical,” he said.

Town administrators have been given six months to get a contract on the Calgary option ready for council to consider.

If councillors decide the deal brokered with Calgary isn’t good for the town, other options could be back on the table.

In 2012 Okotoks voted to eliminate its population cap, which was set at 35,000 people.

Okotoks has enough water for 30,000 people. Currently its population is a bit over 26,000.

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