…about the quality of community life
There’s a vision in the Town’s Municipal Development Plan (2009) that “Chestermere will be known for its unique small town character”. Although the MDP is primarily about the “built” community, there is recognition that maintaining architectural elements associated with a small town ‘feel’ in future development, is not enough – that small town character is as much about the people in the community and their relationships to each other, as it is about appearance.
So, the MDP called for a Social Plan to be developed, that would include “…long-term strategies that will maintain and build upon the current quality of life enjoyed by Chestermere residents….with particular focus on the quality of life aspects that relate to maintaining a small town character”.
This is where things got intriguing. What is “small town character” and how do you know if you have it? What are the aspects of quality of life that are associated with a sense of community? Why should the Town care about whether there is a small town sense of community in Chestermere?
The Town went to residents of Chestermere to answer these questions, and what they had to say is captured in the Social Plan, which can be found on the Town website. It makes for fascinating reading and will be the subject of future articles. As to why the Town should care about whether there is a small town sense of community in Chestermere?
The answer to this is that there is a strong relationship between sense of community and the quality of life that people report having, according to research, and Town Council cares about the quality of community life that residents experience in Chestermere.
Some of the many quality of life aspects that are related to having a sense of community include: having a sense of safety and actually being safe in one’s community; being able to raise your children in a community that promotes their healthy development; and having others in the community that you can count on when something happens. Even a person’s ability to stay in one’s home as one ages, may depend on whether there are neighbours or other community members that are willing to help with yard care, look in on the person from time to time, etc.
The 2012 Town Survey asks questions that are intended to measure sense of community. Residents are also asked to rate the quality of life in Chestermere, and this rating will be compared against the rating that residents gave in the 2008 Survey. This comparison will give the Town an indication of how well we are doing as a community in maintaining and growing the quality of life in Chestermere.
The Town invites you to complete the survey, to share what you think of the quality of life in Chestermere and any ideas you may have on increasing community quality of life.
The survey will be open until September 30th and can be completed on-line at Survey Paper copies are also available at Town Hall and the Whitecappers. Those completing the survey will be entered into a draw for an iPad, courtesy of Mattamy Homes.