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EDITORIAL 2 Chestermere Laker
Project delay just business
Friday, August 27, 2010
he delay of a proposed professional building by Melcor cannot, any light, be construed as a step back. A pessimist may say ‘one step forward and two steps back’ and others view it as a glass half empty, but it’s simply business based on solid dollars and cents. Like all businesses today, Melcor is being careful. It’s trying to learn if we are out of, coming out of, or waiting for a break from recessionary market pressures. It judges this by success of such things as preleasing of projects. It can then take this to the bank as a measure of performance. Melcor then borrows money and the wheels of commerce keep turning. Unfortunately the developer is learning Chestermere’s impressive by numbers home-based entrepreneur may not be ready to leave home. These entrepreneurs are keeping their collective chequebooks close to their chests and who can blame them? Melcor will forge ahead with its project stretching from the Safeway to town hall and it will be a fine feature to Chestermere Station. Melcor has experienced sluggish preleasing before. In addition to becoming arguably the most pedestrian friendly project here with its Main Street theme, it may also attract a doctor or two. At least we can hope. Many residents still question why just about every other town has a Main Street, a traditional hub of commercial and social activity, but not Chestermere. Granted Chestermere (don’t call it a bedroom community to Calgary) is growing under a different set of rules. Melcor’s project is addressing this perceived lack. Judging by its architectural drawings, when completed it will become a boutique shopping experience and hopefully an entertainment and dining destination. The professional building will also attract more traffic to John Peake Park. So pick up your latté from one of the bottom floor retailers and remember, the glass is half full.
What this town needs ...
Dear editor: I know a pool/aquatic center was something that came up as a big election point in 2007. Nothing happened with that as the consultant hired said that Chestermere was not able to sustain a pool itself for another five years. I was on the aquatic committee and feel like I wasted a one and-a-half years of my life. To my way of thinking, if you were told in five years you need and could support a pool, that would mean you should be finding where you want to put the pool. You must decide what you want in it, put a tender out to architects, hire an architect, come up with blueprints, decide if you’re going to build everything outright or in phases, put the contract out to tender, hire a contractor, and start building so the pool/aquatic center is built and ready at the five year point. Don’t wait five years and then start the process so it isn’t built for 10 years. I know money to pay for it is the biggest roadblock, but like anything else the longer you wait the more expensive it will get.
What might cost $20 million today will cost $30 million in five years. The pool is still my biggest election thing, but I’d also like curbside recycling, and an Alberta Health Services Health Unit out here, like Strathmore has for vaccinations and other medical options. There are not enough things to do out here for a younger generation. Again we need a pool/aquatic center with other amenities in it. I know the rec center tries but it just does not have the amenities. Chestermere is a great town with some fantastic people in it. The pathways are great and well maintained, the public works dept does a fantastic job with keeping everything neat, clean, and green. They do a wonderful job with snow in the winter. We just need more to do to keep the kids safe, having fun, and out of trouble. Michelle Wills-Froese Chestermere
The Chestermere Laker is owned and published by MAS Publishing Inc. and distributed every Friday to residences and businesses in Chestermere. The Chestermere Laker 30-140 East Chestermere Drive Chestermere, Alberta T1X-1M1 (403) 984-9009 EDITOR Mike D’Amour firstname.lastname@example.org REPORTER/PHOTOGRAPHER Mickey Dumont email@example.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Michelle Woodruff firstname.lastname@example.org
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3 Chestermere Laker
Friday, August 27, 2010
Professional building delayed Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
onstruction of Melcor’s Chestermere Station professional building has been delayed, in part, because of the difficulty attracting the town’s home-based professionals to its proposed new office space. “Not 100 per cent sure when construction will begin and are still hoping to still break ground this year,” said Jarett Thompson, project manager for Chestermere. “Internally we are deciding if it’s still feasible (to break ground this year) or not.” The 53,255 sq-ft project’s fate is now in Melcor’s senior management team’s hands and a decision is imminent. “We’ve invested a ridiculous amount of time and money getting the project as far as we have,” said Thompson. “This building will get built.” The project is planned for the attractive vacant lot next to town hall and would feature a Main Street theme. “It would pick up on the southeast corner of the Safeway, head directly east of there, just north of the existing storm pond and then it would reroute and circle north and terminate at the front door of town hall,” said Thompson. “Most towns typically have some sort of Main Street and I guess Chestermere missed out on that,” he said. “The intent is certainly to give the town a main street.” With 14-foot wide sidewalks, angled parking and a boulevard down the middle, the project would lend a flavour to Chestermere to compliment its growing retail centre. Opening on to John Peake Park and the lake, it will attract a crowd throughout the day. “The intent was to get this going this year,” Thompson explained, “but permits took a little bit longer than anticipated and we’re working with Fortis to get ahead with this.” Melcor is also trying to achieve a certain level of preleasing its available space, half allocated to retail boutique type stores and
WHAT COULD BE: (Above and below) Artist’s conception of the proposed professional centre at Chestermere Station.
half to business. But the development company is having a hard time digging the town’s self-employed out of their home offices. “That’s a problem with these types of projects,” said Thompson. “Until there’s bricks and mortar, pre-leasing is quite a challenge.” He said he expects it would be a first commercial lease for many new tenants attracted to the project. “If you don’t have something tangible, sometimes it is difficult to kick start preleasing,” Thompson said. “Even with our projects in Calgary, we get a few to prelease early and then the phones are off the hook when construction starts.” Melcor’s intent with the upper level of its project is to attract professionals looking for higher end and more extravagant office space than what already exists in Chestermere. Lawyers, doctors, dentists, specialists, accountants as a collective will find an apro-
priate home. “There are professionals working out of their home office in Chestermere that are ready to make the jump and we have the space for them,” said Thompson. That’s certainly the market we are gearing towards.”
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N Developers foot infrastructure bill 4 Chestermere Laker
Friday, August 27, 2010
Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
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s the City of Calgary explores charging suburban developers a greater share of infrastructure costs, Chestermere’s relatively young housebuilding industry likely already pays what Calgary developers could expect in 2011. For 10 years, Calgary developers haven’t had to pay for water and sewer lines to serve new suburban developments because costs have all been borne by city taxpayers. But the honeymoon there may be coming to an end later this year as Calgary begins to charge to cover a higher proportion of its infrastructure. Also, it has been argued the cost of a single family home could rise as much as $10,000 as developers pass on the increased costs. “Chestermere has had off-site levies that cover hard infrastructure for many years now,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews. Sewer and water are some of the hard costs paid for in these levies that are applied to all new developments. “As mentioned, in order not to burden our existing residents over the long term with the costs of new development, these types of infrastructure costs are either paid for by the developer up front, or covered in off-site levies at the time of
development,” said Matthews. “While we can’t speak for other communities who may have different relationships and agreements with the developers in their municipalities, Chestermere has had off-site levies in place for quite a while now and they are certainly viable here.” For Chestermere residents, having these levies in place means the developer covers the cost of hard infrastructure, such as sewer and water. If the levies weren’t in place, then existing residents would bear the costs of infrastructure that wouldn’t be needed without development. Added Councillor Stu Hutchinson: “I am a firm believer — as is the rest of council — the developers pay their way and the existing residents are not burdened by their developments. “I think we always have to keep an open mind on feasible and legal (under the MGA) sources of revenue for our taxpayers.” Hutchinson said he believes it’s a bit early to give any fair and logical assessment of this concept, but he would be in favour of having a look at it. “But having said that, one has to realize we have our off site levies in place,” he said. “They are continuously updated to ensure all new development is paying their share.”
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Weir construction, rain, affecting lake levels Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
If you live on the lake and have a level mark you may have recently noticed the water level drop off from time to time. The Western Irrigation District (WID) is having a bit of a disruptive year maintaining a constant level in Chestermere Lake. That’s due to construction in Calgary to replace the weir resulting in levels dropping by as much as six-inches. “Normally we can keep it pretty level year-round, (but) the water levels on Chestermere Lake are bouncing just a tad,” said Jim Webber, WID
general manager. “This is due to the very wet year we’re having and the construction work going on in the (Bow) river at the weir just below the (Calgary) zoo,” he said. The weir, which is now removed, was built in the 1970’s and was state of the art for the time. “With the drop over the wall you get this tumbling action which is extremely dangerous and anyone who gets in there are basically finished,” said Webber. The weir has taken a human toll over the decades and Calgary Parks is creating a diversion so canoes
and floaters can pass safely. Webber said construction needed access to the riverbed and WID has had to modify its control and open its sluice gates to divert the flow. “Normally the gates are closed this time of the year and all the water flows over the weir,” he said. “The river has not gone low-flow as predicated because of all the big rain events, so levels begin bouncing overnight as much several thousand cfs (cubic feet per second) difference. “In the dark you can’t see to gauge and no electronic gauging to give you some
guidelines because the gates aren’t supposed to be used this way.” The WID hired extra staff to monitor the situation, but found the flow can drop overnight which means the lake goes down slightly more than anticipated. “It takes a day to bring it back up again,” Webber said. “So you’re seeing a bit more of a bounce in lake levels.” Construction at the weir will be completed this year and the WID anticipates it will be business as usual. “We have had a few enquiries,” said Webber, “but people have been very understanding.”
Friday, August 27, 2010
Chestermere Laker 5
Strathmore digs in and prepares for highway fight Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
he leader of a newly formed association battling any realignment of Highway 1, said there will not be an exodus of business owners leaving Strathmore for Chestermere if the highway is diverted. Hal Lust, spokesman for the newly formed Town and Country Highway Association, addressed approximately 100 people who attended the Monday night Strathmore and District Chamber of Commercesponsored meeting. “It won’t make any more sense for them to move to Chestermere than it does for the government to realign the highway,” said Lust. He said he’s disappointed with Strathmore town council. “When all this started I ALL EARS: Hal Lust answers questions at a meeting in Strathmore Monday regarding a proposed Hwy. 1 realignment thought they would take and (below) gives an opening speech. the lead in this — people “Are they going to swing We pulled out a map and Kevin Sorenson elected them.” south connecting with the showed him that route had and MLA Arno The realignment of High22X to serve south Calbeen shelved. They’re not Doerksen to way 1, now calls for it to be gary?” going to go that route.” discuss with the moved about a kilometer Lust said “the only thing” He said at present no town the prosouth of the town with inhis group is concerned with one really knows what the posed changes. gress and egress an uncergovernment plans for the “They’ve tain distance just before and is where the road is going around Strathmore. highway will turn out to be. scrapped their after. “We want to do everyNext on the association’s plan A and now “We don’t know about thing we can to make sure agenda is to sign up 10,000 they’re about that yet,” said Lust. our businesses stay alive,” people on its petition and to introduce What he does know is he said. then raise money. Lust said plan B, but I am the new road change will “If we don’t protect that the association is pinning its informed the not affect Chestermere “as we could find ourselves hopes it can get the govern- plans won’t be much as the original plan” with a 40 per cent unemment to once again capituready in time for to go from Cheadle to Gleiployment rate.” late on its planned highway the open house,” chen. So much confusion surrealignment. said Lust. “As far as Chestermere is at budget time to see who rounds the provincial gov“I was quite surprised “With the concerned it shouldn’t hurt can get the most money by ernment’s proposed highthey capitulated as easily as stroke of a pen, (Alberta) that much,” Lust said. overstating their needs. way realignment plan, one they did,” he said. Minister (of Transportation “They are not calling to “If these ministers later man at the meeting spoke That came as a result of Luke) Ouellette wasted up upgrade Highway 901 to discover they have surabout how he believed the pressure from the county. to $1 million dollars of our connect to Highway 22X pluses, they are morally oblproject would run right “We’re hoping to do the money on a highway plan to serve the southside of gated to turn the surpluses through his house. same thing to avoid the mawith no feasibility study Calgary,” he said. back to the Provincial Lust later explained to jor expense of hiring an ad and, in fact, no engineer “That would have taken Treasury but rather than him the previous plan agency and demonstrating ever set foot on the actual all the traffic away from turn the surpluses over to in the home ridings of our route. (Chestermere’s) front door.” would have demolished other more needy minisand paved over the retired MLA and MP,” Lust said. “People in the know tell But it will still hurt busitries, such as health and man’s hobby farm, but not The Town and Counme that such government nesses in Strathmore, Lust education in this province in its present proposal. try Highway Association wastes are common in our said. right now, they come up He was under the impres- spokesman said fighting provincial and federal sys“You never know what with grandiose, pie in the sion the Cheadle-Gleichen any realignment could cost tem because each ministry they’re thinking in the long sky, expensive and unnecroute was still a green it up to $100,000 — money thinks it is an empire unto range in terms of what they light,” said Lust. “After the it does not have. itself and the heads of these essary plans like rerouting are going to do with the Also, a proposed Septem- ministries play this game of Highway 1 around Strathhighway when it gets closer meeting he came up and I more,” said Lust. asked him ‘where are you’? ber open house with MP tug-of-war with each other to Calgary,” he said.
6 Chestermere Laker
Friday, August 6, 2010
Crusty crash course
Mickey Dumont Chestermere Laker
f Granny Jen and her fellow grannies have been successful, there will be red ribbons awarded for pies at this year’s Country Fall Fair. Jen Peddlesden (aka Granny Jen) and her merry band of Chestermere grannies conducted a Pastry 101 class last Friday that filled up more than pies. An impressive crowd of participants and spectators attended the crusty crash course. A father and his two sons learned it was a great opportunity to spend time together doing something they wouldn’t normally do. The granny gang was more than pleased to impart some of its collected piecrust knowledge to improve the fall fair. The 21st Annual Country Fall Fair is scheduled for Sept. 17-18 in and around the Chestermere Recreation Complex. Judging for submitted goods will take place Friday night so viewing on Saturday will allow visitors to see the winners. Blooms, pies, cupcakes and photography and art exhibits are just a part of the traditional country fair venue. Vicki Klinger is once again coordinating the fair and said “there are a few new twists this year, but all the tradition of a country fair will be there.” Local youth will showcase their talent Friday night in the Battle of the Bands competition. Sponsored by First Fire Productions, one lucky band will win
— Mike D’Amour, Laker
THE ART OF THE PIE: A couple dozen people learned how to make a great crust at a recent seminar studio time to help with the development of a music CD. Friday night — billed as Teen Blast — will also feature a Guitar Hero competition and laser tag. Admission to Teen Blast is $10 and includes one round of laser tag and some munchies. The kids will continue to be entertained Saturday with an expanded youth program including the Chestermere Idol contest sponsored by Gypsy and the Rose. Contestants under 18 years of age will compete to win a recording session at The Lake Recording Studio. The Lions Club 8:30 a.m. Saturday pancake breakfast at the BBQ
pit will get everyone fed before the parade. Penny Sawyer, recreation program assistant, said this is Chestermere’s only parade and pre-registration is required. The parade will wind its way along West Chestermere Drive to the rec centre. As usual participants on foot, horseback, bicycle, and various vehicles even stilts and roller blades. The Lions will again be judging cyclists 12 and under for best in show, funniest and most original. High noon at the Corral, the Wild at Heart trick riders — acrobats on horseback — will entertain during the Gymkhana.
Saturday also features a trade show, an outdoor market and a kid zone on the soccer field. enough already, 24 teams will be competing over the weekend in an annual slopitch tournament. Bring a chair to get comfortable for a whole day of activity or step into the beer garden for a cool one and likely hear Chestermere’s own 1 Foot Party Band who will be everywhere and anywhere throughout the fair. For a complete schedule of events, including entertainment, rules and explanations and for information, got to www.chestermerecrca.com/countryfair
Fall registration begins With the advent of cooler weather — sigh, it is coming — comes the inevitable signing up for fall and winter programs. A curling registration and general meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Chestermere Complex Curling Rink. Details are available at www.chestermerecurling.com. People can also attend Energizer Night, a chance to register for most local activities all under the Rec Centre roof. Sept. 9, 6-8:30 p.m. Call 403-272-7170 for more information.
Looking for a few good writers
Some of the participants are: CRCA indoor soccer, recreation programs and special events, figure skating, minor hockey, Fit Kids Gymnastics, Community Services, Focus Tae Kwon Do, Community Services, Town of Chestermere, Canadian Tae Kwon Do, Community Basketball, Chestermere Chiefs Football, Whitecappers 50+ group, Edge Fitness, Chestermere beavers, scouts and guides, Abstract Dance Academy, Rocky View Adult Education, Indus Ringette, Citizens on Patrol, Victim Services and many more.
The Chestermere Laker is looking for a few good columnists. Have an idea for a column; one that would be sustainable and fresh 52 weeks of the year? Then the Laker wants to hear from you. We’re looking for columnists who’d like to contribute to these pages on a weekly basis.
Your column could be about food and recipes, a society column, a pet piece or one that offers a fresh opinion on local politics. Or if you have your own ideas, we’d love to hear them. Call Mike D’Amour at 403-9849009, or email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
E Creepy, morbid flick a yawner
Friday, August 27, 2010
Chestermere Laker 7
Lights, camera, action . . .
with Rick Dennis
f it were true that horror films tap into our primal fears, waking up on an embalming table as an undertaker calmly prepares my body for burial would be fairly high on the list. That’s what happens to morose schoolteacher Anna Taylor (Christina Ricci) in AFTER.LIFE (103 mins. 14A) “You were in a car accident. You were pronounced dead eight hours ago,” mortician Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) tells the startled young woman in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. “Your body’s already decomposing.” So if she’s dead, how come he can talk to her? That’s what Anna wants to know. “I have a gift. I can talk to those between life and death ... to help them make the transition.” And what if she isn’t ready to make that final transition just yet? “You’re a corpse, Anna. Your opinion doesn’t count anymore.” Writer/director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo says she has always been fascinated by the idea of life after death.
We are all terrified of death and also we are kind of in denial of it.
“What if there is consciousness or your soul remains with you and you can actually experience your own death?” she speculates on a DVD featurette. According to Ms. Wojtowicz-Vosloo (a NYU film school grad making her feature film debut) Buddhists believe there is a transitional period of 72 hours between the time of death and the departure of the soul from the body. “I wanted people to think about their own
DEAD OR ALIVE: Anna (Christina Ricci) and mortician Eliot (Liam Neeson) in a scene from AFTER.LIFE. mortality,” she says. “We are all terrified of death and also we are kind of in denial of it.” She also wants us to think about how we are living our lives. Anna had been going through the motions in her relationship with longtime lover Paul (Justin Long) and sleepwalking through life in general. It is only when Deacon tells her she is dead that she really begins to appreciate being alive. So the fledgling filmmaker wants to use the idea as a vehicle to explore issues of life and death. Fair enough. However, someone must have suggested such a weighty concept needed something to spice it up because midway through the featurette the director begins dropping hints that maybe Anna wasn’t dead after all and it is all part of an elabo-
rate ruse to bury her alive. Apparently the director wants to creep us out while making us think and maybe with more experience she will achieve her goal. In the meantime, we have a film that unspools at a funereal pace and is unrelentingly morbid with no flashes of wit or old-fashioned jolts of suspense to liven things up. You can’t blame the cast if it doesn’t work. Neeson is believably creepy; Ricci enters into her role body and soul (yes, fanboys, the diminutive beauty bares it all for her art) and Long strives mightily in his first serious role. To be fair the movie did make me think about The Big Sleep but in this case it was my afternoon nap. HORROR FILM RATING: 1 and-a-half screams out of five
NEVER OPEN THE DOOR: BUT Anna (Christina Ricci) does in a scene from AFTER.LIFE.
8 Chestermere Laker
Friday, August 27, 2010
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