Chestermere City Council carried all reading of the Temporary Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Bylaw during the April 6 Regular Meeting of Council.
At the March 2 council meeting, administration presented an updated version of the Temporary Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Bylaw for consideration for summer 2021, as the city anticipates they will need to comply with provincial social distancing and safety guidelines due to COVID-19 again.
“We will be monitoring what the health guidelines are and public protocols are, and we will be managing the beach based on that information,” said the Community Recreation Coordinator Parks and Recreation, Katelyn Richards.
“This provides the city the ability to control beach and lakefront properties if needed, but we will be monitoring to see how we need to adjust moving forward,” she said.
The reinstated bylaw will provide the city with the ability to manage lakefront parks and amenities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bylaw will provide the city with the ability to charge visitors if necessary, to manage occupancy limits, and to recuperate additional park management costs such as staffing and fencing.
Lakefront park closures could be necessary occasionally due to public safety concerns such as unsafe water quality issues, or hazards that cannot be removed.
“We found from last year, that Anniversary Park was the park that needed more access control and management over Cove Park and Sunset Park,” Richards said.
“We’ve included John Peak Park and the off-leash dog park to ensure we have manageability. We didn’t find overcrowding was an issue in those areas, but we did want to ensure if there were health and safety issues with water quality, there could be issues at the beach,” she said.
Adding, “This bylaw allows us to have the option to manage spaces as things progress over the summer, depending what the pandemic brings, it gives us that option. We’re encompassing the health and safety of the community with this bylaw, and including the Alberta Safe Beaches protocol, which is a provincial document instated last year, and generally looking at public safety within these spaces.”