We’ve all seen bridges around the world bedecked in locks with engraved initials or messages to lovers, best friends or family.
Maybe you’ve even added your own to leave a lasting mark on your journey. Yet whilst love lock bridges look cute, they might not be as great as they seem and are not recommended in the town of Okotoks.
"We learned about it a few years when some locks showed up attached to one of our bridges," says Christa Michailuck, Parks & Recreation Director, "I believe the one at Laudan Park is where we first saw it.
"We discussed it as a team and looked at what's happening in Europe and the volume of locks that can show up when they are allowed to remain."
Michailuck refers to a bridge in Paris, France, that had to be partially closed after the weight of almost a million locks caused a section of the railing to collapse. Other cities, such as Rome and Moscow, have also had to remove locks due to the damage they cause.
While it's certainly not a problem in Okotoks with town staff only removing a couple per year, leaving them up can cause what's often called a “tragedy of the commons” resulting in more locks showing up.
"Any locks that show up going forward we will remove and dispose of them." ~Christa Michailuck, Parks & Recreation Director
The tradition of love locks may seem like a romantic gesture; however, it is important to consider the impact it can have on the environment and public structures. By finding alternative ways to show their love, couples can help preserve the beauty and integrity of the town for generations to come.
While there isn't a designated spot for lovers to "lock up" the idea of one isn't off the table.
"If there was a desire in the community to offer such a service or amenity, we're hoping that we'll see those comments reflected [by residents.]"
Couples are encouraged couples to find alternative ways to symbolize their love, such as taking a photo together or writing a message in a visitors’ book.