Planning and Development in Foothills County
A vision for planning and development into the future in Foothills County was developed by the Steering Committee who worked on the MDP2010 through the process of creating the plan. For those interested in reading the details regarding this vision, the full text of the MDP2010 is available here.
Some of the highlights can be found below:
Conserving the agricultural land base is very important to our economy, our environment and our way of life here in Foothills. Agricultural products are renewable resources which provide jobs and revenue. The long-term viability of agriculture depends on the land base. Due to the diversity of agricultural pursuits we can no longer define good farm land strictly by criteria such as the Canada Lands Inventory (CLI) soil capability system. We view all land as potential agricultural land and worth conserving. Agricultural lands comprise a significant portion of the natural capital in the County, and Foothills has a duty to protect this land for use by future generations.
Our Rural Character
The County of Foothills is a rural municipality. Being rural is a large part of why we live here. Defining the specific qualities that give our municipality rural character was undertaken through the process of producing our MDP. The five qualities that begin to describe our rural character are: wide open spaces, scenic vistas, dark skies, a wealth of historic and archaeological resources, and a quality environment with clean air and water, good productive soils and biodiversity in flora and fauna. In 2008 and 2009 the County held a Rural Character Photo Contest.
Capital is defined as any form of wealth capable of producing more wealth. Natural capital extends this idea into the natural world. This approach underlines land as an asset to be maintained and protected for future generations because it supports important economic, ecological, as well as social activities.
Sustaining natural capital is a precondition for economic prosperity. The natural capital found in well managed and sustainable landscapes links economic prosperity and environmental protection, and can do so for generations.
Communication: Public, Council and the Planning Department
In almost everything we do there will be an opportunity for the public to participate. We will make every effort to keep the public informed as to what we are doing, and will ask for their input wherever practical to assist us in making the best plans possible.
Why Communication with the Public is Important:
Public consultation is an important part of municipal planning. It is generally agreed that involving the public in policy making has tangible benefits:
- It strengthens and empowers the local community;
- It provides opportunities for mutual education which leads to better decisions and a better acceptance of, and compliance with, decisions once they are made;
- It enhances the sustainability of decisions by dissolving barriers to communication, building trust and creating relationships whereby future issues can be addressed effectively.
- The public tend to accept or support decisions that they help make, even when the decisions are hard.
- Moreover, individuals who are not involved in developing solutions are more likely to resist them when implemented.
How We Communicate With the Public
We have several ways we communicate with the public:
- Announcements / advertising in Okotoks Western Wheel
- Public Hearings
- Public Open Houses
- Public workshops
- Direct mail
Our primary mode of communicating with the public is through announcements in the local newspaper, the Western Wheel. The County purchases subscriptions to the Western Wheel for all land owners in the County. Please check the paper weekly for information.