The Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) had to overcome many unprecedented challenges in 2021 due to the pandemic, but by the end of the year, operations began to return to normal once again.
The rec centre re-opened in February with strict restrictions, and again had to briefly close in May. By June, the facility re-opened as part of the province’s staged re-opening strategy.
By the end of the year, the rec centre hosted the BOOST National curling event, local markets, and team practices.
The challenges the CRCA members had to overcome throughout the year included shifting on short notice to adhere to changing public health orders, as the sudden closure in May resulted in facility scheduling issues, lost rental revenue, and staffing uncertainty.
“The fluctuating restrictions gave CRCA management and staff limited time to create, communicate, and implement safety protocols, but we did it,” said General Manager Jody Nouwen.
Throughout the summer, staffers and members of the rec centre had difficulty finding parking in the lot, as beachgoers would park in the facilities parking lot when visiting Anniversary Park.
“There was simply not enough parking for everyone on busy, warm days. Frequently, members and visitors could not find parking when here for rec centre activities,” Nouwen said.
The CRCA began to charge beachgoers to park in the rec centre parking lot during peak times, to ensure members could find parking while attending rec centre activities.
“Members and visitors shared our concerns regarding our parking issues in the summertime. We took users’ feedback and proposed a plan that worked out for everyone in the end,” Nouwen said.
The CRCA intends to continue this practice next year.
Although there were many challenges the CRCA team had to overcome throughout the year, they worked together and with Alberta Health Services to get through the year and ensure members, guests, and visitors were safe.
“We adapted quickly and efficiently, as needed,” Nouwen said.
The CRCA has also successfully launched a new online member portal that is designed to make venue rentals and member services, such as membership renewals, user-friendly.
Going forward, the CRCA is excited to host events, such as the Hockey Marathon for Kids in March, and additional events like local markets throughout the year.
“Additionally, we plan to complete regularly scheduled maintenance on our ice during the summer months, significantly impacting ice availability,” Nouwen said.
For Nouwen, hosting the BOOST National Curling event was a major highlight of 2021.
The five-day tournament featured the best curlers, over 120 volunteers and production staff, nationwide online 50/50 ticket draws, and a daily attendance of over 1,200 spectators each day.
“We received positive feedback from our members and users about the BOOST National curling event,” Nouwen said. “They appreciated the opportunity for our community to be showcased on a national scale. Hopefully, this will be the catalyst to attract more events of this scale.”
The rec centre also hosted the first community event Bulls on the Beach, and Chestermere’s favourite, the Fall Country Fair.
Going into 2022, the CRCA will continue to ensure the community has a place to recreate safely.
“We would like to make sure Chestermere residents know about the venue and drop-in opportunities at the rec centre and that we’re more than just ice,” Nouwen said. “We have fantastic spaces to meet just about every need.”
The CRCA is thankful for the support the community, members, guests, tenants, city, and Rocky View County have shown throughout 2021.
“We would like to thank the community for their continued support and patience throughout this challenging year,” Nouwen said.
Adding, “We welcome everyone to discover what the Chestermere rec centre has to offer.”