The Great Re-opening
The recent announcement from the province about its plan to “Open for Summer” no doubt provided a sense of relief for many in our business community. This has certainly been the topic du jour for Okotoks Economic Development, and more often than not has been the leading conversation point over the past 15 months. Over that time, we have kept a keen eye on the ongoing measures from the province and continue to be marveled at the ability of our business community to adapt to the ever-changing environment.
Okotoks Economic Development continues to be here to support businesses through this re-opening, and to this end, we are proud to offer a number of programs designed to help businesses during and beyond the unique circumstances that COVID-19 has caused our local business community. In addition to these programs, there are a number of other iniatitives underway from other business centres within the Town, all of which are built around the idea of supporting the local business community.
Here are a few of the highlights:
1. Okotoks Temporary Patios Program
You have likely already heard about this program, as it was introduced last year. In response to the tremenduous interest we received (with nine participating businesses and counting!), we tweaked the program to now include businesses outside of retail and food services. This means that almost any customer-facing business that has the space to do so can erect a temporary patio – at no charge!
To further support patios in the community, the Town is working on a digital map that will highlight and promote all patios – temporary and permanent – for visitors and residents alike. If you have a patio and haven’t yet recived an email requesting information for the map, please email email@example.com. For more information on the map or to apply for the program, go to: Okotoks.ca/temporarypatios
2. Temporary Patio Package Program (TPPP) - CONCLUDED
In light of the success of the Temporary Patio Program, Okotoks Economic Development provided further support to businesses who wanted a temporary patio, but may not have had the means to do so. The TPPP is a pilot program that offers eligible businesses the opportunity to lease an entire patio package free of charge until fall! Patio packages include tables, chairs, umbrellas and fully flowered planters for a truly “all-in-one” offering. There are only three packages available to businesses this year, but the Town hopes to expand on this program for 2022. Learn more: Okotoks.ca/temporarypatios
3. Mobile Vending Unit Program (or, Food Trucks!) - UPDATED
You may or may not be aware, but our current business bylaw allows food trucks to operate on private property. In addition, trucks can be invited for special events pending they receive an event permit. Starting this spring, food trucks can setup on public property (parking spaces on public roadways, public parking lots etc.) for specified periods of time. The MVU program is still in a pilot stage, so we are looking for feedback. For more information please visit: Okotoks.ca/MobileVending
4. e-Scooter Pilot Project - NEW
The Town is excited to announce that a shared e-scooter pilot program has come to Okotoks! The program commenced June 1 with Bird Canada, who stepped forward to provide 50 e-scooters at no cost to the Town. This is a welcomed transportation addition to our community, and will encourage greater usage of our parks, pathways and business districts. Learn more: Okotoks.ca/e-scooter
5. Walkotoks - NEW
Walkotoks is a multi-departmental initiative that encourages residents and visitors to take a walking tour of our downtown. In partnership with three stewards of the community (local residents with a passion for Okotoks), the Town has helped coordinate the creation of three tailored walking tours. Each tour is written from the perspective of one of our stewards, and provides insights to some of our most unique downtown landmarks, including businesses! Walkotoks brochures will be available digitally and in print at tourist desintations in and around Okotoks. Learn more: DestinationOkotoks.ca
As you emerge from this stronger, more adaptable and aware, please take a moment to commend yourself for all of your hard work over the past year. Don’t forget that Okotoks Economic Development is here to help you out – we value the conversations we have with you, so don’t ever hesitate to provide us with feedback. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) or via phone at 404-938-8052.