Petition protesting public funding of tiny homes 'ecovillage' development clears hurdle
A petition opposing the use of taxpayer funds to support a $4.26 million tiny homes development in Okotoks has cleared a hurdle, enabling it to be considered at the next meeting of Okotoks town council.
The petition, launched by the Okotoks Ratepayers Community Group, needed to be signed by 10 percent of the total number of Okotoks residents to be considered sufficient, meaning a little over 2900 were required.
After reviewing the petition, the town administration determined that 2,981 of the 3,167 signatures met the criteria and thus the petition was verified as being sufficient to be discussed at the next meeting of the town council.
The conceptual design for the ecovillage, which would contain 42 homes ranging between 350 and 550 square feet, was originally approved in February.
The development is to be equipped with solar panels, personal gardens and built with energy-efficient materials.
Ryan Nix, a co-founder of the group, told CTV’s Simon Jones on August 2 that the group's opposition wasn’t necessarily to the idea of tiny homes.
“People are not against affordable housing and not against tiny homes” said Nix. “What this says is that this particular project and the way it was presented is not what many people are in favour of.”
“People are really focused on how their tax dollars are being spent, and there needs to be a direct benefit for the spending of those dollars.”
Okotoks councillor Ed Sands says the whole controversy over the tiny homes project stems from a misunderstanding of where the public money comes from.
“The reality is that there is no incremental costs to current residents,” Sands said.
“The money’s in the bank," he said, "and it’s frustrating to see the opposition (to this project).”
The Okotoks town administration will present a report with complete details of the review at its August 19 council meeting.