Chestermere Laker 13
Friday, July 16, 2010
Water upgrade costs $750,000
Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
A local water improvement project given the green light by council is expected to cost nearly threequarter-million dollars, but recently annexed residents’ reactions are mixed if the deal is a half-full or half empty glass. Nearly 20 Lake Ere Estate homeowners are each facing a potential bill of $39,000 to tap into the same Calgary water system that now feeds Chestermere homes. All 18 homeowners agree something has to be done, but balk at swallowing the entire bill. Lake Ere Estates presently pumps its potable water through a 35-year-old water co-op, but water quality is poor and it’s expensive to manage. “They were outside the town limits and didn’t have
town services,” said Terry Hurlbut, Chestermere Chief Administrative Ofﬁcer (CAO). “Our agreement with Calgary doesn’t allow us to hook them up,” he said. At least one Chestermere councillor wonders why Lake Ere residents are upset at the price of better water. “This (the cost) shouldn’t come as a surprise to them,” Coun. Stu Hutchison said, following the bylaw’s third and ﬁnal reading. “Their water is unﬁt for consumption without vast amounts of chlorine and their system requires a lot of maintenance,” he said. Lake Ere Estate was annexed Jan. 1, 2009. Residents said they approached Hutchison several years prior to being incorporated with their concerns. “They wanted water and we had to tell them we can’t even give it to the high school — we can’t give it to
you,” Hutchison said. “It’s not that we didn’t want to. We have an agreement with the City of Calgary we won’t supply (water) out side the town.” Hutchison added one of the “biggest reasons” Chestermere annexed Lake Ere was to get the residents water. Recent water problems at the co-op escalated to where provincial guidelines for health were going to force the co-op to shut its taps and force residents to seek alternative sources. “It’s a money issue,” he said. “Anyone annexed into the town last year, their taxes stayed the same rate as the County of Rocky View (and) once they hook up services in town, they go on our mill rate.” Unofﬁcial Ere Lake Estates’ spokesman Ray Boutin has asked council for a mill rate break.
“Rocky View’s mill rate in 2009 was 4.5491 and Chestermere’s was 6.7976, this would make a difference of $1349.10 on a $600,000 assessment,” he said. “As a resident of Lake Ere Estates we are looking at paying an estimated cost of $39,553 for each lot for water and sewer — this is huge, let alone losing the 15-year moratorium on the choice of mill rates. “It happened at the lake too — when you hooked up the cabins the prices went crazy.” Boutin said it seems to him council is dealing with Ere Lake Estates’ residents as developers and not as residents. “There should be some kind of grant or some kind of help,” he said. The $3.9 million water line from Calgary installed in 1991 was paid for with a government grant of nearly $1.9 million. Lakeside
Greens development paid almost $1.27 million and the remaining amount was divided between 466 home or lot owners each paying $1,612. Boutin asked Hutchison if the 15-year mill rate moratorium — a condition of the annexation — be kept in place regarding the lower mill rate between the two municipalities after water and sewer is installed. “Once the property owner decided to subdivide they would then pay taxes based on Chestermere’s mill rate, but would be able to recoup some of the cost from the sale of property,” said Boutin. But Hutchison argued rising house values would even out the water costs in the end. “Property values will go up, likely more than the cost to hook up the services,” he said.
Won’t you be our Facebook friend? Looking to increase its ofﬁcial cyberspace exposure, the Town of Chestermere has joined the Facebook social network. “I think we will reach a broader audience (this) way and reach some of our more savvy computer users,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews. Councillor Patrick Bergen said it’s important for the town to control its presence on the Internet. “Facebook is wide open,” he said. Bergen added if you go to www.chestermere.com it does not go to the town. “You would think if you look up Chestermere you would get the town,” he said. “There can be any number of unofﬁcial pages, but we have to make sure we have the ofﬁcial one.” The town’s ofﬁcial website can be found by logging into www.
chestermere.ca, but Facebook and Twitter ofﬁcial town Internet portals had yet to be locked down.
To see the town’s ofﬁcial page, Google Facebook and type in Chestermere as your search.
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