Atco plants deep green roots in town
Okotoks: New 14,100-square-foot service centre opens
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 06:00 am
A company with more than 100 years of history in the Foothills planted even deeper roots in the Okotoks community.
Atco Gas officially opened its service centre, located along 32 Street, just northwest of Seaman Stadium, on Sept. 18 in front of dignitaries from across the Foothills.
“What is astonishing is 101 years ago Okotoks was so progressive that it decided to have a plebiscite to vote on whether they wanted natural gas to come to the community or not,” said Atco Ltd. CEO Nancy Southern. “In the plebiscite, 85 per-cent of the voters voted in favour of having natural gas into this community — 69-13 was the vote.”
Southern’s great-grandparents homesteaded in Okotoks 113 years ago.
“I can’t help but believe that my great-grandparents voted in the plebiscite,” Southern said with a laugh. “I’m pretty sure they would have voted for signing up for natural gas.”
In fact, Southern’s great-grandfather, Don Visser, would later become mayor of Okotoks.
“I do feel very much a part of this community and the MD of Foothills,” Southern said.
“It is a great honour for me to be here.”
Atco celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and its state of the art facility in Okotoks ties in nicely with the community’s history of environmental stewardship.
The Town of Okotoks and Atco worked together on the Drake Landing project, which has 52 homes being mostly powered by solar energy. The project received an Energy Globe World Award last year in Austria. ATCO Gas is operator and part owner of the community heating system.
Atco’s commitment to the environment is apparent at the new service centre.
The centre makes use of combined heat and power technology to generate up to 25 kw/h of electricity and deliver exhaust heat to the building’s boiler system to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.
The office’s lights are monitored with solar-tubes. They will automatically dim when there is ample outside light provided.
The service centre will also bring in some added green in the form of money to the Town of Okotoks.
Atco has relocated 30 of its employees to the 14,100-square-foot service centre.
Shane Olson, Okotoks’ economic development team leader, said his understanding is some of the 30 employees have already started living in the area.
He added having a company as well thought of as Atco can only mean good things for Okotoks and the MD of Foothills.
“They are also great contributors — they were one of our platinum sponsors for the Tour of Alberta recently,” Olson said.
“They are great community partners with their philanthropy work. To have an anchor like that in the community supporting us culturally and socially is important for the community at large.”
For more information about the Atco Service Centre go to www.atcogas.com