Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bernie Morton is proud of the City of Chestermere’s work in creating an Amazing Chestermere over the last year.
“Typically, all of the things we have accomplished would have taken considerably longer, but with the support of an engaging and proactive community, a council who has placed their faith in my abilities, and the support of an amazing team of experienced and dedicated professionals, we have achieved so much for the people of Chestermere,” Morton said.
Chestermere City Council announced a strategic vision that focuses on the five themes of creating a community that aspires to be amazing, including an Amazing Quality of Life, Amazing Neighbourhoods, Amazing Partnerships, Amazing Relationships, and Amazing Opportunities.
“It has unfolded very well, even with COVID-19 hitting us,” Morton said.
“Regarding COVID-19, we as a community, have done amazingly well. Zero deaths is our greatest accomplishment, along with a manageable number of active cases, usually under 10,” he said.
“Many factors contributed to Chestermere faring well and they include the partnerships created among the business community and our organizations, working with them to put COVID-19 safe practices in place, and working with the community to develop a relationship based on trust and following COVID-19 safe practices when grocery shopping, visiting the pharmacy or visiting a service offered in the community,” Morton added. “I’m proud that Alberta Health Services (AHS) has shared that we are an example of a gold standard in community pandemic management.”
Throughout the last year, the City of Chestermere has faced challenges while creating an Amazing Chestermere, including all things related to COVID-19, a large diameter sewer main break by a contractor adjacent to Chestermere Blvd and Rainbow Rd, closing all swimming for a week while increased enterococcus levels were managed, and ensuring the Rec Centre remained open despite repairs needed in the red arena.
“We are delighted that the Red Rink is now repaired and reopened and that we were able to partially fund the work,” Morton said.
In addition, the City of Chestermere presented an offer to purchase the Rec Centre land from Rocky View County (RVC), which was rejected.
“We made an offer to purchase the Rec Centre land from RVC for the assessed value of the land, and it was flatly rejected,” Morton said.
Adding, “Negotiations and discussions went well, our entire council presented the offer in person to the Rocky View Council out of respect, along with a presentation on the history of the land, which was purchased for $1.”
The highlights of creating an Amazing Chestermere throughout the last year include a property tax cut for the community, an eight per cent utility rate cut, progress on seniors’ services, converting the Best Western Hotel into seniors housing, beginning the black carts waste collection program, the Peace Officer collaboration with Calgary 9-1-1, lake safety initiatives, reopening Township Road 240, and completing the off-leash dog park.
The city has also been focusing on committees such as implementing a Diversity and Inclusion program, Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Committee, and the Chestermere Economic Development Advisory Committee.
The city also commenced the Levels of Service review and is working towards a stable Priority Based Budgeting program while supporting developments such as the Marina Dr development, the Chelsea and Dawson Landing developments, and encouraging new developments for the Centron lands.
Discussions are also advancing with the City of Calgary regarding public transit, and progress on the planning for a field house, community centre, and other future phases of a Civic Centre Complex is underway.
“For the coming year, we will be closely monitoring the pandemic. We will be ready if we encounter any outbreaks in schools or community transmission and will continue to advocate for COVID-19 safe practices,” Morton said.
The City of Chestermere will also initiate the levels of the service review program, move towards Priority Based Budgeting, further the plans for the new civic centre complex, seek out grant funding when possible, focus on stimulus funding for capital projects, aim to hold the line or cut taxes again and continue to focus on increasing the residential and non-residential tax base.
“This is in addition to priorities for the 2021 year, soon to be shared by council with me and our team,” Morton said.