Chestermere City Council received the Reinstatement of Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Bylaw for information during the March 16 meeting.
At the March 2 Regular Meeting of Council, city administration was directed to provide an update to the temporary Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Fees Bylaw for consideration for use during the Spring and Summer of 2021.
“This is due to the fact that it is anticipated that the City will be required to continue compliance with Provincial COVID-19 protocols,” said the Community Recreation Coordinator, Katelyn Richards.
City administration recommended to council that the temporary bylaw, which expired on Dec. 31, be reinstated for the 2021 Summer season and that a permanent bylaw be explored in 2022.
“The reinstatement of the temporary bylaw will provide the city with the ability to safely manage lakefront parks and amenities as the pandemic continues to provide unique challenges with regards to occupancy management in these spaces. The bylaw will provide the city with the ability to charge visitors if deemed necessary, in an effort to recuperate additional park management costs such as staffing and fencing,” Richards said.
Adding, “Other lakefront park closures may also be deemed necessary from time to time due to public safety concerns such as unsafe water quality issues, including high enterococcus levels, or hazards that cannot be removed.”
City administration will present council with the updated temporary Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Fees Bylaw to ensure it meets the city’s current needs, and then bring it forward for first reading.
In the Reinstatement of Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Bylaw, administration removed the controlled access.
“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.”
Administration also removed specific fees to allow management to adjust the fees based on feedback given from residents last year.
Administration is also exploring the potential of collaborating with the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) and the parking plan.
“We, like everybody, else are faced with the unknown. We are positioning administration so they can take action depending on what comes out of COVID-19 or the water quality issues we experienced last year. This allows them to make decisions for safety reasons,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.