My Family and I have lived in Chestermere for almost 15 years, over which time we have seen a huge amount of growth and change – unfortunately, for the most part in the wrong direction. Like many residents of Chestermere, in general I am not happy with CUI… with the decisions that they are making, nor with the way that they communicate with us. However once I really started to look into this issue it’s obvious that the reason that we have no choice but to approve this increase (and believe me, I hate saying that) is for the same fundamental reason that we have the highest property taxes in Alberta (despite what they show is in the pie charts and graphs that have been presented to us at previous meetings). It is our Mayor and Council that are to blame for this mess that we are in. Now, I don’t believe they are corrupt, careless or stupid – perhaps just lacking in wisdom and the necessary forethought required to grow our community in a sustainable manner.
Regarding CUI’s rate increase – what did our City Council think would happen when you add 15,000 residents over the past 9 years without making the developers pay their fair share for upgrading the waste water infrastructure to support that insane growth? We are left holding the bag – that’s what happened – and that’s why we are in the current situation where we have sections of the system that are overcapacity and expose us to a very high risk of contamination and property damage.
Over the past years our City Council has made it unattractive for commercial development in Chestermere and as a result we do not have the necessary commercial tax base to support our services without having the highest property taxes in Alberta. Town council should have focused on commercial and industrial development before allowing all of the residential development and touting us as “Alberta’s Recreation Oasis” (which makes me laugh every time I hear it by the way as I believe it completely misses the mark on what they should have been focusing on).
It’s going to take many, many years for the damage to Chestermere to be repaired and make it a viable place for people to live and for businesses to invest in – if it’s even possible. First of all there can be no more residential development in Chestermere – NONE, until our non residential tax base is significantly increased. Our property taxes will continue to increase as believe it or not it costs more to service these houses than the taxes received from them. This Council’s focus needs to be on promoting (and allowing) commercial development and nothing else. However given their track record I believe that it is certainly time for an almost wholesale changing of the guard.
It makes me sad and angry that, like so many other residents, we feel that our only option is to leave Chestermere before it’s too late to sell our homes for a reasonable price. Especially when we moved here because we thought this would be a wonderful place to raise our family… which it used to be.