Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn has provided an update on a controversy concerning some beloved artwork.

Yesterday (April 25), an Okotokian made a post on a local Facebook page about their disappointment with the town over a decision regarding public artwork.

The post's author said they were out for a walk along the river when they ran into local artist Gordon Mackey.

Those who have walked the Heritage Parkway path have no doubt encountered a few of Mackey's clay sculptures affixed to logs and stumps, often accompanied by a witty message.

The pathway walker described their dismay when Mackey told them he'd been ordered to remove all of his sculptures after a complaint.

The post was met with over 200 comments from locals sharing their disappointment as well as their appreciation for Mackey's art.

One commenter was Mayor Tanya Thorn, who said she wasn't aware of the situation and was taking some time to look into it.

This evening, she provided an update via a video on her Facebook page.

"The artist, Mr. Mackey, is a respected and established artist here in Okotoks, and we recognize his artistic talent and passion, and I have enjoyed it on many occasions. The town values and supports all of our local artists who enrich the community with their creativity and vision," said Thorn in the video.

She went on to explain how the situation came about, and how the public response is being addressed.

"While the town's intentions to have the artist remove his artwork was aligned to comply with current town bylaws and was in response to concerns expressed in the community, I acknowledge that we could have handled this better. I heard your concerns yesterday about removing the artwork and I looked into it with our town administration, and at this point, I can share with you what I have learnt."

Not only will Mackey's artwork remain along the pathway, explained Thorn, but the town's Culture & Heritage and Parks departments are working with him to develop a program to showcase local artwork along certain town pathways.

"An engaged community means a passionate community who cares. This makes Okotoks such a great community for everyone."