***Happy April Fool's***
You might have seen us post this story bright and early this morning. And in case you were wondering...it's just an April Fool's joke.
We hope you enjoyed it. And if you scroll all the way down to the 'Survey Link' you'll also get another little chuckle.
The town is considering adding a few extra crosswalks in the downtown core.
These crosswalks will assist in lowering the possibility of an accident but not in the way we might expect.
On Monday, Okotoks town council approved the extension to a temporary fencing pilot project in order to deter deer from entering and damaging local gardens. With this, they also approved the planning for a "Deer Only" crosswalk to be positioned downtown.
Christa Michailuck, Parks Manager and Acting Director of Operations & Utilities for the town of Okotoks says it will fit right in with a plan they already have in place.
"We have this active transportation implementation and accessibility plan here, so we're really focused on addressing the gaps in our infrastructure to improve pedestrian flexibility. One thing that we know well from our citizens is the concern about interaction with the urban deer here. So we really want to dive into the appropriate behaviour between the two and have good separation."
This new crosswalk will be only used by deer and has narrowed locations down to a possible three crossings.
"We are finding and proving accessibility and inclusion for our citizens and the urban deer are important habitants of our community." -Christa Michailuck
Veterans Way, Lineham Ave and Oak Ave are all possible crossings that deer use naturally to make for an easy transition.
Mayor Tanya Thorn sees this as a great way to encourage safe practices between us and the deer.
"We are always working to create more accessibility in our community, and we also hear a lot about the interaction between human and deer. They were here first, but they don't have designated transportation routes so. We thought we would start, since they typically walk everywhere they go, with some crosswalks."
Remington Carter, a resident of downtown Okotoks is hesitant but agrees this is a good way to go.
"I wasn't sure about the idea at first, I thought it was a prank ... I just see too many deer crossing at random and that's going to cause a bad accident soon."
Having almost been in a collision with a deer himself he added making it a specific crossing for the animals will keep people alert to the crossing of deer.
"It's specifically designed for our deer." -Mayor Tanya Thorn
The one question still on the town's mind is whether or not snow will be removed from the crosswalk.
"We've been discussing, and it does seem a bit odd," Says Michailuck. "The removal of snow for the deer crossings at least for the first winter. Hoping that it would guide and encourage use."
She brings it back to their plan for accessibility for all.
"We are finding and proving accessibility and inclusion for our citizens and the urban deer are important inhabitants of our community."
The town has a survey open for residents to share thoughts on the possible locations.
***HAPPY APRIL FOOLS***