Who We Are: A Snapshot of Natural & Built Environments

Our Community Has an Abundance of Natural Resources
Located alongside the Athabasca River in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, our community has an abundance of natural resources: coal, gas, forest, water and sheer natural beauty.

Perhaps the most obvious resource is the rich foothill forest stretching across the rolling terrain. Besides employing hundreds of our residents and offering outdoor delights via foot, ski and wheel, the forest contains essential habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals that are under stress due to human activities. Thus, the forest stands as a constant reminder that sustainability depends on our ability to balance human uses with the protection and enhancement of ecosystems, natural habitats and wildlife corridors.

Our setting inspires and informs our built environment as well. Spread out along the Athabasca River, with the Rockies as a backdrop to the west, we have made a commitment to reflect our alpine surroundings in streetscapes and storefronts, and are beginning to see the benefits of that decision. Realizing that the imperative of living sustainably applies to urban development as well as design, we are also determined to make our urban areas more compact and pedestrian friendly. In making best use of the land entrusted to us, we also aim to shift our habits away from vehicles to more active, healthier lifestyles.
What Do We Mean by Natural and Built Environment?
Natural environment encompasses all the systems in nature that play a vital role in our health and sustainability: air (atmosphere), water (hydrology), land and fauna/flora (ecosystems). 

Built environment refers to the land use, infrastructure, buildings, homes, neighbourhoods and everything else we build in the community.