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    2017 a successful year for recreation in Chestermere

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    Crowds fill the hall at the Recreation Centre for the annual Energizer Night Sept. 6. File Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

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    From left: Lori Kent and Charlise Bruchet, 11, prepare the dough for their cherry and bumble berry pies at the Recreation Centre Sept. 6. The pies where for the annual pie auction at the Chestermere Country Fair. File Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

    After a successful 2017, Chestermere’s Recreation Centre is looking to start planning for the future in 2018.
    “It’s been a really good year,” said Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) General Manager Jody Nouwen during a year end interview with The Anchor.
    She said that the big picture strategy that guided both the board and herself during 2017 was to get the CRCA into a more financially stable position.
    “The direction this year has been…to be financially sensible,” she said.
    “Cognizant of where we’re going but to also provide all those important community activities and events.”
    Looking back at all the events that have been held over the course of 2017 at the recreation centre Nouwen feels they have delivered on the community activities front.
    Starting in January last year there was the mini-energizer night that kicked off a full year of activities.
    “Right from the energizer night…we go to Go Girl to Family Day events,” she said, “and then we start getting a little later into the year and did seniors week and then got right into summer camps.”
    Interest in the summer camps doubled in 2017.
    They also went back to their roots partnering with the Agricultural Society to provide a dinner and dance at the annual Country Fair.
    The year ended with their signature Halloween and Christmas parties.
    “Both of them were very well attended this year,” said Nouwen.
    In addition to the community events, 2017 saw an increase in many of the centres programing.
    “In terms of programs and events I think that We’ve done a really good job of showing a diverse amount of activities that everyone can participate in,”
    One of the highlights to Nouwen is the continued popularity of the swimming program offered in partnership with the Best Western Hotel.
    “It’s been really neat to see…because there’s never been swim programs in Chestermere,” she said.
    “Over the last year and a half, we’ve really been able to build up that program,” said Nouwen.
    Behind the scenes the rec centre has been able to either embark on or complete several projects to upgrade and improve the centre.
    Some of the bigger upgrades included new LED lights throughout the rec centre, upgrades to the ice plants, the installation of gravel parking lot upgrade, and the installation of new security cameras.
    In addition to making the facility brighter, Nouwen said that they have already noticed savings in their energy bills with the new lights.
    Many of these projects have been funded through various grants received by the CRCA in 2017. They also received matching funds from the City of Chestermere to the Canada 150 Grant which was used for the LED upgrade.
    Unlike past years where equipment had broken down and needed emergency replacement, 2017 saw no major breakdowns with all the project work being either facility upgrades or lifecycle replacements and repairs for equipment nearing the end of their service life.
    “Had we not gotten the ice plants rebuilt we could have seen our self into a tricky situation,” said Nouwen.
    As the new year gets underway, Nouwen said that the community will be happy to hear that there are plans to make improvements to the CRCA’s parking lot.
    “That is one of the biggest concerns that we hear from our members,” she said.
    While the project has not yet been planned, Nouwen said that at a minimum, new lines will be painted in the parking lot.
    While the parking lot may be the most popular among facility users, Nouwen said that she is most looking forward to developing multipurpose studios on the second floor of the recreation centre.
    “We’ve had engineered drawings done and we’re working with the county on approvals to be able to make this multipurpose area,” she said.
    In addition to the regulatory work, they are also waiting on a grant for funding for the project.
    The new space would consist of two studios that Nouwen said would likely be used primarily for dance with secondary use for new fitness programs such as a spin class.
    Nouwen’s other goal for 2018 is to get a plan in place for the future of the recreation centre.
    “I’d like to start doing some future forecasting,” she said, “see where are we going to go as a facility and how do we budget, how do we get grants, how do we move forward with these bigger plans.”
    “There’s so much potential,” she said.