Mayor Marshall Chalmers reflected on the accomplishments of the city council throughout the year and the steps moving forward to make “Chestermere Amazing” during the annual Chestermere Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Breakfast on Nov. 28.
“Chestermere is a prime destination, sunshine, beaches, peaceful tranquility, dynamic opportunities, recreational lifestyle, surfing, skating, and most importantly a place with a bright future,” Chalmers said.
When the current city council was elected, they had a list of immediate priorities, such as mitigating Chestermere Utilities Incorporated (CUI), reducing a planned tax increase of two per cent down to less than one per cent increase, finding efficacies within the city, building relationships, and improving the connection between residents.
“Our Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Bernie Morton challenged us to consider where we want our community to grow beyond those initiatives, to think big, and to be better,” Chalmers said.
Previously, the city council used a complicated strategic plan; however, at the beginning of 2019, a simple strategic vision was implemented.
“No longer are we content with being a hidden gem in the unassuming community east of the big city. We are not going to be satisfied with the status quo,” Chalmers said.
The strategic vision includes creating amazing neighbourhoods, amazing quality of life, amazing partnerships, amazing relationships, and amazing opportunities.
The city is championing safe communities, raising diversity, focusing on senior-friendly areas, and promoting inclusive and diverse housing options.
“For an amazing quality of life, we intended to bring stability to utilities, provide high-quality services and amenities, and create opportunities for connecting,” Chalmers said.
Building strong regional relationships, initiating projects, and exploring innovative business models creates amazing partnerships, while community alignment and being outcome-focused will create amazing relationships.
The city is also pursuing economic investment, increasing the non-residential tax base, and developing Chestermere recreational potential to create amazing opportunities.
“We believe that Chestermere has unlimited potential and is one of the most amazing communities in all of Canada,” Chalmers said.
Adding, “Over the past year, we have made significant progress.”
The city has hit milestones on the journey towards amazing, such as dissolving CUI into a shell company, and offering the services provided through the municipality.
“Believe me, we wanted to move quickly, but we also wanted to make sure we got it right,” Chalmers said.
“This time last year, I let you know that we would bring an end to CUI, in 2019, we made good on that promise,” he said.
“I truly believe we are well on our way to delivering amazing utility services in Chestermere, and I look forward to sharing updates with you in the coming months,” Chalmers said.
As the community continues to grow, new policies, initiatives, and lake safety measures were implemented to ensure lake users can continue to have fun and safe experiences on the water.
The number of lake visitors was tracked, education for visitors using the boat launch was provided, buoys marking the slow zones were added, and enforcement was increased on the lake.
Infrastructure is another essential aspect of creating an amazing Chestermere.
Throughout the year, the off-leash dog park was re-opened in celebration of Dog Day in Chestermere, and Township Road 240 was opened for public use.
“All of our capital projects are not funded by local taxpayer dollars but primarily through grants,” Chalmers added.
Currently, the city administration is now proposing a two per cent tax decrease this year.
“We have every intention of reducing the burden on our residents again in 2020,” Chalmers said.
Moving forward, the city is pursuing solutions to recreation challenges.
“We were all impacted by Rocky View Council’s plan to close the rec centre. I served as an arbitrator between Rocky View County and the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) and was pleased that common sense prevailed,” Chalmers said.
He added, “We don’t want that to ever happen again. Therefore, we recently announced we are looking at purchasing the property.”