Okotoks is already one of Southern Alberta’s most attractive communities in which to live but the town isn’t stopping there.
Town council recently upped the ante by approving a fresh new brand and a snappy new slogan to promote the municipality south of Calgary as a place where innovation is part of the town’s philosophy. The approved jargon for the new slogan is “Join the Innovation”. A development committee prepared the report to council over the winter in partnership with Roger Brooks International. Roger Brooks is known as the “Dr. Phil” of tourism.
The decision came with careful consideration and a long debate in council chambers, as the project scope is likely going to cost $500,000 which is not in the current fiscal year’s budget according to some council members. Some told Okotoks media that this capital investment needs to be reviewed as it will impact budgets two to three years out, and it may come at the expense of other capital projects on the books. While there is not complete agreement among council members as to how to proceed, there is desire to set new standards for the Town.
The new logo which will position the Town of Okotoks in the marketplace also includes a rename and rebrand of the historic downtown area, changing it from Olde Town Okotoks to the Link District. Some of the other proposals in the plan don’t yet fit together, said other council members after the May 24 meeting.
The next step in the town refresh plan is to create a leadership team this summer. It will be this group that will take the initial ideas and build them into a plan with continuity, incorporating the community culture and character of Okotoks.
A business plan and case for support is also one of the next steps. The goals of leadership team will work together with the downtown steering committee, which is working on the visual aspects of the town such as unsightly chain link fences, store front presentations and other visuals that would contribute or distract from a town that wants to project “innovation”. That includes architectural controls and guidelines for the downtown area of Okotoks. It was recommended that a Vancouver consulting firm, MVH Urban Planning and Design, be engaged to assist in this project however, council voted that a consultant be found by tender instead.
Council members stated that the leadership committee not let the initiative lag as there is excitement and momentum building amongst members.
The goal is to create an attractive downtown core in line with the “innovation” theme and making it a desirable destination for residents and visitors alike.
The ongoing search for a concrete identity in Okotoks has been ongoing as the town has experienced unprecedented growth. Last fall’s foiled slogan that created a social media firestorm was “Okotoks: There are a number of things to do here.” It was so bland that it was funny and created a lot of attention and helped affix the town squarely on the map.