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  • Chestermere year in review

    Chestermere year in review sept pic
    This year, families planted a mix of trees at the Birth Forest planting event on Sept. 22, including apples, Mountain Ash, pears, Ohio Buckeye, and Hot Wings Maple. Photo by Emily Rogers

    January 2021 

    Advocacy for local golf course begins 

    The Lakeside Greens Golf Course Preservation Society began advocating to ensure the local golf course would remain a recreational amenity and not a housing development.

    The society spent much of the year keeping up with council, rallying community members together who support the cause, ensuring their voices are heard, and collecting signatures of those who were opposed to the development.

    Throughout the year, the society received an overwhelming amount of support from residents who wanted to keep their view of the green space from their homes, and local avid golfers who enjoy the course.

    February

    Chestermere Mental Health Coalition addresses the needs of residents 

    The Chestermere and area Mental Health Coalition worked to ensure Chestermere residents had proper access to mental health supports and services in the community.

     The supports and services available included Stepping Stones to Mental Health, Parent and Caregiver Support Services, Synergy, Camp Chestermere, Community Therapy Dogs, the Chestermere Public Library, and other local not-for-profit organizations. 

    “We saw the gap in the community for mild to moderate, and that’s where the coalition started,” Leslie Racz said.

    Throughout the year, members of the coalition worked to bring more awareness to the initiative by increasing the social media presence and hosting a Chestermere Wellness Challenge to get residents involved in the community.

     Chestermere Food Bank receives freezer donation

    The Rotary Club of Chestermere provided the Chestermere Food Bank with a freezer.

    With the new freezer, the food bank was able to receive bulk meat and other frozen items, rather than having volunteers run out to purchase items when expecting clients.

    Each year, the Rotary Club asks for the Chestermere Food Bank’s wish list of items they need.

    The new freezer also gave the food bank the opportunity to participate in the Food Bank’s Alberta food sharing program, where they can access large corporate donations, purchases of high-demand food, and the national food sharing system.

    March

    East Lake School students raise over $1,000 for cancer research 

    Two East Lake School grade six students raised awareness and funds for cancer research.

    Emma and Chloe had a goal of raising $200 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation, however, the students exceeded their goal, and raised $1,817 in less than two weeks. 

    To raise awareness for cancer research, the students made a presentation for grades four, five, and six students stating the facts on cancer, what it is, who it affects, and why it’s important to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. 

    The students are hopeful to keep the fundraiser going, by making this an annual fundraiser for the East Lake School. 

    Chestermerians offer to purchase Lakeside Golf Club 

    Chestermere residents have put forward an offer to purchase the Lakeside Golf Club.

    The offer was sent to one of the owners, Wayne McBean, however, the applicants did not receive written acceptance or refusal. 

    The Chestermere residents who put the offer forward were interested in running the golf course, keeping it for all Chestermerians to enjoy, and opening the restaurant year-round if it’s viable, they were not interested in the land.

    “Our main objective to this is to keep the golf course for people in Chestermere. We would strive to make Lakeside Greens a place where all Chestermerians would be proud of, we know what it would take to run that golf course successfully,” said Chestermerian of 22 years and member of the Lakeside Greens Golf Course Preservation Society, Alan Stiff.

    April 

    Dawson’s Landing chosen as the ideal location for civic centre 

    After a site analysis of different sites within Chestermere, Dawson’s Landing was chosen as the ideal location for the proposed civic centre.

    The Gibbs Gage Architects design team anticipated having the design portion of the project completed within 16 weeks and then beginning the construction documents process. 

    The site shared a property line with single-family homes and a future school with fields.

    “We see this being a very symbolic relationship between the school and the future field house. We located the playfields along the south end of the site, giving them the greatest amount of sun, and they have a great relationship to the fields, it’s a free and open space for the neighbourhood to use,” Gibbs Gage Architects design team member, Jonny Hehr said.

     Signs opposing the rezoning of golf course are popping up throughout the community 

    Chestermere residents showed their opposition to the potential land rezoning by showcasing “Preserve Chestermere Lakeside Golf Club” signs on their properties. 

    Over 500 signs were printed and given out to homeowners who wanted to show their support for preserving the greens.

    “People are putting up signs, they know it’s important to push back,” Chestermerian of 25-years Rick Thirsk said. 

    Mayor Chalmers steps down

    Mayor Marshall Chalmers announced that he would not be seeking re-election for the 2021 municipal election.

    Chalmers spent the rest of his term continuing work to ensure Chestermere was amazing through community initiatives. 

    Following his announcement to not seek re-election, Chalmers received an overwhelming amount of feedback from residents.

    “I can step back from this chair knowing I gave it everything I had, working for the citizens, trying to be open, transparent, and accessible. In my mind, we’re full steam ahead,” Chalmers said.

    May 

    City implements COVID-19 safety protocols for beach

    The City of Chestermere re-established COVID-19 safety protocols for the beach this summer. 

    The city implemented the same protocols that had been put in place for the 2020 summer, that were developed in collaboration with Alberta Health Services.

    The restrictions included capacity limits of 615 people maximum in the park and 115 on the beach area.

    Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask other than when they are in the water and were advised to avoid sharing items such as food, toys, and supplies with people who don’t live with them.

    Prince of Peace Lutheran School closes

    The Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees carried a motion to close the Prince of Peace Lutheran School effective August 2022.

    The continued to operate for the 2021/22 term.

    The closure of Prince of Peace was necessary after the property owner of the school’s current facility informed RVS earlier this year that it would execute its right to terminate the lease.

    a new Christian program in September 2022 for Kindergarten-Grade 6 at East Lake School and for Grades 7-9 at Chestermere Lake Middle School.

    377 students from Chestermere, Langdon, rural Rocky View County, Calgary, and Airdrie are enrolled at the school. Additionally, 41 staff worked at Prince of Peace. 

    June 

    Chestermere mourns loss of 215 First Nations children with memorial 

    Chestermere residents came together at Camp Chestermere to mourn and honour the 215 remains that were discovered at the Kamloops B.C. residential school.

    The memorial began with stories from elders, a prayer, smudge ceremony, lighting of 215 lanterns, drumming, and a moment of silence.

    City Councillor Ritesh Narayan suggested individuals wanting to help to advocate, put pressure on all levels of government, check-in on Indigenous friends, neighbours, and colleagues, honour the children, support Indigenous artists and businesses, continue to educate themselves, and participate in the healing process.

    City temporarily closes Lakeside Greens Golf Course development file

    The City of Chestermere closed the file on the Slokker Homes and Lakeside Greens Golf Course development, as a formal application hasn’t been received.

    Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bernie Morton expressed in a letter to the public that he has significant concerns with the development as proposed. Regardless of the reasons, the housing types considered, or the intended benefits offered by the developer, the golf course lands are specifically designated for parks and open space use in the Municipal Development Plan.

    If the development partnership wishes to resume its interest in redeveloping the Lakeside Greens Golf Course, the city will commence discussions.

    RCMP Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz says goodbye to Chestermere after six years of service 

    Staff Sergeant Mark Wielgosz said goodbye to the Chestermere RCMP detachment after six years of community service.

    Throughout the six years, Wielgosz served Chestermere, a variety of programs were launched including crime mapping, security screw program, water safety program, construction site theft prevention programs, Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence (CAPTURE) program, and the lock it or lose it initiative. 

    In addition to developing community safety programs, Wielgosz was also responsible for all aspects of policing in Chestermere, such as environmental scanning, developing local strategic priorities, delivery of professional police services, meeting with local and area stakeholders, conducting community engagement, and ultimately being accountable to elected officials and residents for community safety. 

    “It was a very smooth working environment, it’s something that’s going to be missed. I’ve enjoyed working in Chestermere, I’m grateful to oversee policing services for our residents, and

    I’m proud of my team for the accomplishments that they have made throughout the years to see where we are today in a very positive light,” Wielgosz said.

    July 

    Local sailor recognized for maritime security mission in the Middle East

    Chestermere Sailor First Class Brayden Hart-Young played an important role in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship, Calgary, Operation, ARTEMIS. 

    The ship was deployed and conducted maritime interdiction operations in the Arabian Sea from April to June. 

    On the mission, sailors interdicted suspicious vessels at sea to stop the flow of illicit goods, most frequently narcotics.

    Hart-Young’s role on ARTEMIS was with the ship’s the organic boarding party, Alpha Wave, where Hart-Young provided security on vessels.  

    Bulls on the Beach first community-wide event since COVID-19 lockdown 

    Over 400 spectators, volunteers, bull riders, and sponsors were at the rodeo-type event.

    The Bulls on the Beach event was the first rodeo-type event to happen in addition to the annual country fair.

    “One of the things that stuck out to me was as it was getting dark the lights from the Dockside were shimmering across the lake and seeing stock trailers pulling out of town loaded with bulls was a sight. That was something we don’t see in Chestermere, our western heritage rolling out of town, that was a first in Chestermere,” organizer Dan Richard said.

    Buck Up for KidSport raises over $12,000 to support youth playing sports in the community 

    The first annual Buck Up for KidSport golf tournament raised over $12,000 that will be used to support 40 local families with youth sport registration fees and provide sporting equipment. 

    80 golfers come out to make up 20 teams that played in the tournament. 

    The funds raised will go directly to helping youth in Chestermere that are from low-income families help get them into sport.

    August 

    Annual Synergy Duck Race raises over $3,000

    Synergy’s annual Duck Race raised over $3,000 that will be kept in the community to support youth and community development programs.

    Chestermere RCMP, Peace Officers, political leaders, and representatives from Synergy competed in an obstacle course at Camp Chestermere.

    The funds collected will be used for youth and community development programs. 

    “All the funds will go towards our youth and community development programs. These programs are for kids seven and up, they focus on leadership, personal development, and social and emotional skills, they are really important for the community and in making sure our youth feel supported, heard, and connected to the resources they need, it will be a huge help to our programs,” fundraising assistant, and lead coordinator for the duck race, Hanna Mughal said.

    Chestermere hosts first Music Fest 

    Residents enjoyed live music, food trucks, and fireworks during the first Chestermere Music Fest. 

    Visitors could also check out a marketplace, the Chestermere Public Library’s annual book sale, children’s pavilion featuring family entertainment, and wagon rides. 

    Edgewater Communities celebrates groundbreaking of South Shore 

    Edgewater Communities celebrated the last undeveloped portion of land adjacent to the lake groundbreaking.

    South Shore is over 77 acres and will feature a range of product types, such as front-drive homes, single-family homes, townhomes, and duplex products with front and rear garages.

    The developer’s goal for South Shore is to intergrade within the community while working with local businesses and associations.

    September 

    Martin Shields re-elected 

    Bow River constituents re-elected Martin Shields for MP.

    Shields will continue to have open communication with constituents, from in-person meetings, social media, newsletters, and emails, and continue advocacy work for the agriculture and irrigation sectors in Bow River.

    “It’s a huge relief, but very humbling on the other hand. There are a lot of people that voted for the conservative party, and it’s humbling when you start to see the numbers and know you’ve won. Now I have more work to do,” Shields said.

    Families plant roots in Chestermere 

    Chestermere families planted their roots in the community, through the annual Birth Forest planting.

    Families planted a mix of trees including apples, Mountain Ash, pears, Ohio Buckeye, and Hot Wings Maple.

    City of Chestermere Parks Coordinator, Alison Ciupa noticed within the last couple of years, the Birth Forest has become a tradition for some families in the community.

    Calgary Yacht Club honours first responders with sail pass 

    Sailors paid tribute to first responders while celebrating the 50 Anniversary of The Laser Class sailboat and first responders.

    Stephen Reichenfeld wanted to make the day more than just the 50 Anniversary for the laser Class sailing anniversary and wanted to pay tribute to local first responders for all that they do.

    October 

    Jeff Colvin wins mayoral race for Chestermere

    Jeff Colvin was announced Mayor of Chestermere, with 2,927 votes. 

    “I am so honored and excited to be Chestermere’s new mayor. I have said that I plan on living here forever and I am grateful to be given the opportunity to help make Chestermere the best place to live in Alberta. This city has all the potential to be an oasis and I believe we have the right tools to make this a reality,” Colvin said.

    Colvin sits with six councillors, Shannon Dean, Mel Foat, Blaine Funk, Stephen Hanley, Sandy Johal-Watt, and Ritesh Narayan. 

    Colvin’s priorities include lower debt and residential property taxes, renegotiating the field house and build a pool, and making Chestermere a thriving city with activities for a diverse community.

    Chestermere Council brings in interim Chief Administrative Officer 

    The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position of Bernie Morton was revoked, and Harry Harker will take over the CAO responsibilities.

    Since 2018, Morton worked on an organizational redesign of the city, worked with developers, and managed the Chestermere COVID-19 emergency response, among other projects. 

    “We wish Mr. Morton well in his future endeavors. Council will be moving forward with an interim CAO to assist the new council and will have further announcements shortly,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said.

    Local haunted house finding new ways to scare visitors 

    Local haunted house, Dr. Giggles House of Pain, put visitors in the middle of horror movie scene re-enactments, in the Dr. Giggles Theatre of Pain.

    “It was fantastic. We were sold out the last couple of weeks. It seems unanimous, it’s a 10 this year,” Mike Koroll. 

    The recreated scenes were from movies that Koroll and the Dr. Giggles crew found particularly scary.

    “The House of Pain needs to keep getting edgier every year. It’s exemplary, it turned out really awesome,” Koroll said.

    November 

    City council terminates civic centre project 

    City Council directed city administration to terminate the civic centre field house project.

    Administration was directed to begin a feasibility review for a new field house to be built at a site to be determined, and for a future school site to be made a priority.

    The original school site is under a large pile of dirt that would cost a significant amount to remove.

    “I want to focus on a clear priority for the school site,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said. “We don’t have any building contracts for the civic field house. There is no construction contract, it hasn’t been signed.”

    EPCOR Heart and Soul Fund donates $4,000 to Synergy after funding cut 

    The EPCOR Heart and Soul Fund donated $4,000 to the Synergy Youth and Community Development Society to support the Connection and Care Counselling program and the Youth Internship program, that was planned to be cancelled at the end of 2021.

    The donation was matched up to 50 per cent as it was processed through the Shaw Birdies for Kids program presented by Suncor.

    “This financial support through EPCOR’s Heart + Soul Fund will help people get the counselling they need; as well as provide resources for Synergy’s Youth Internship program, which helps youth develop essential skills to set them up for success,” EPCOR Director, Regional Operations Christian Madsen said.

    BOOST National puts Chestermere on the curling map

    The second event of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series, the BOOST National exceeded the City of Chestermere’s expectations with between 500 to 600 spectators.

    City staffers heard feedback from spectators that they were impressed with the transformation of the venue, and they were thrilled to see the international players live in the community.

    “I could not be prouder of how successful this event was. I think our community really needed something like this to bring everybody together,” Marla Forth said.

    December 

    Renovations completed at Indus School 

    Students and staff at Indus School are enjoying the newly renovated building that fits their modern learning needs.

    The project replaced the interior of the school over 16 months.

    Planning began in 2017, and preliminary work started two years later with foundation work. Construction began in 2020 and was completed by August of this year, with finishing touches completed throughout the fall.

    the school now features a multi-use Maker Space that can be used as an art studio, shop, robotics studio, a learning commons, locker rooms, several classrooms that have garage-style doors that can open onto a shared workspace, and the living room, to allow for flexible workspaces where classes and students can collaborate.

    Prairie Waters students show appreciation for hospital staff

    Two Prairie Waters Elementary School students delivered letters and cards from the school to staff at the Peter Lougheed Hospital to show they are appreciated for their efforts during the pandemic.

    Students at the school wrote over 100 letters and wrapped them with ribbons before delivering them to hospital staff.

    “I wanted to cheer all the hospital staff up because they were feeling tired because of COVID. They needed encouragement when people were protesting,” said grade two student, Kaia Ozcan.