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  • Chestermere Rec Centre remains open

    Chestermere Rec Centre crca pic 1

    The Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) General Manager Jody Nouwen speaks during a rally to support the CRCA on Sept. 27 following the news that Rocky View County (RVC) had voted to reopen the rec centre. Photo by Emily Rogers

    Rocky View County (RVC) announced that the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA), will remain open after reviewing the CRCA heavy snowfall monitoring plan.

    “We’re overjoyed. They made the right decision,” said CRCA Board Member Derek From.

    The news that the CRCA will remain open comes after the RVC announced the building would close on Sept. 27 at 5 p.m., due to safety concerns.

    A structural analysis warned that a portion of the facility’s roof was at risk of failure if there was a heavy snow load.

    However, the CRCA has a system in place in which the snow levels on the roof will be monitored and the snow will be removed from the roof if it’s too heavy.

    “What tipped the balance was once RVC heard our engineer speak and understood the plan that we had in place, they were comfortable that the CRCA had sufficiently mitigated the risk, and that we were doing the right thing,” From said.

    “Part of our original plan was to have a contract with Stantec to monitor the snow load on the roof. This is something they do for the City of Calgary,” he said.

    Adding, “Our goal the whole time was the safety of our members and ensuring there are recreational opportunities in Chestermere.”

    The county worked with the building’s operators, stakeholders, and engineering officials to determine if the facility could remain open without posing a risk to public safety, said an RVC Press Release.

    RVC Councillors were told by engineers that the risk of roof failure could be mitigated and voted to allow the CRCA to remain open.

    “Council’s original action was taken to ensure public safety after the City of Chestermere served the County with an Infraction Letter, which stated that there were “major safety concerns” and that the recreation centre could not be occupied until major structural concerns were addressed,” the RVC Press Release said.

    “We did this to protect the users from the possible failure of the roof. We took no pleasure in it,” said RVC Reeve Greg Boehlke.

    “I’m sorry that people’s lives were disrupted, but I won’t apologize for offering protection. That’s our job, to look after people,” he added.

    Mayor Marshall Chalmers added he advocated for the special RVC meeting on Sept. 27 to review the decision to shut down the CRCA.

    “I am delighted that RVC Council has decided to reopen the facility and allow for full operations while not compromising public safety with an effective snow monitoring program. This is a step in the right direction,” Chalmers said.

    Chalmers will continue to be personally involved in the CRCA file and he will keep the safety of the public and CRCA programming opportunities a priority.

    “While my role throughout this ordeal has been an advocate for common sense, it has become clear to me that the City of Chestermere, RVC, and the CRCA need to continue our dialogue about how to best provide quality recreation services to our residents and the types of facilities and costs to make that a reality,” Chalmers said.

    Without the efforts from the CRCA General Manager Jody Nouwen and staffers reopening the rec centre wouldn’t have been possible.

    “Jody and her team have just been wonderful. They’ve soldiered on through all of this when they didn’t know if they would have a job, they kept their chins up, they worked extra hard, and did extra work,” From said.

    He added, “Their efforts should be commended, and thanked for going the extra mile and helping get this resolved.”