CITY OF CHESTERMERE | SUMMER 2016
A quarterly community newsletter with updates, stories, and highlights of work happening at the City of Chestermere.
connection Did you know? No umbrellas are allowed in the sand at Anniversary Park as they can puncture the filtration liner under the beach that allows water to flow back into the Lake.
COUNCIL DROPS MUNICIPAL TAX RATE FOR 2016 BUDGET BY -4.9%
MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR Each year Council reviews our Strategic Plan which sets out priorities and goals (driven by community input) over a three year period. This Strategic Plan then lays the groundwork for each department in our organization to bring forward a budget. After months of hard work and discussions, the final budget has finally been brought forward. There have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in programs, staff positions and services either cut or moved to the future. Due to hiring restraints, we have more work being done by less people so we ask for your patience as requests may take longer than usual at the City. We have worked hard to keep the tax impact on our residents to a minimum and have approved a -4.9% tax rate. Communications has been a very hot topic here in our City. Because we understand that the manner in which we communicate can be improved, we have engaged a great communications firm, National Public Relations, to help us identify ways to do just that. Story Continues on Page 3
Following an intense review of the City’s revenues and expenses, Chestermere City Council passed the 2016 final budget on May 16 with a municipal tax rate cut of -4.9%. Initially the preliminary budget projected a 1.5% increase to the municipal tax rate for 2016. As 2015 progressed and the provincial economy continued to decline, Council asked staff to find savings in order to minimize the tax impact on residents. Following diligent review and incorporating the final growth numbers of the community, Administration presented a final budget to Council on May 16. Instead of requesting an increase, the City reduced the tax rate by -4.9%. Although the majority of homes in Chestermere increased slightly in assessed value last year, Council’s approval of the -4.9% municipal tax rate decrease means that the average home* will see a decrease in the municipal portion of their taxes. “We always strive to make every dollar go as far as possible but we were especially careful this year in identifying ways we could find savings while still providing high quality services. Those decisions combined with an increase in growth have allowed us to cut the tax rate,” said Dr. Randy Patrick, the Chief Administrative Officer for the City. Story Continues on Page 2
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Budget Story Continued from Page 1
Despite the tax rate decrease, the City intends City staff are working hard to complete some great projects over the to keep providing all programs and services summer including: currently offered. Service levels may be affected slightly as the City is providing services to more Pathways: Over the summer the City has plans to residents while under a hiring restraint. upgrade pathways or complete some pathway A number of significant projects are still planned connections. This includes adding a pathway for 2016 including the addition of a South Link on the Altalink, south of Merganser Drive, to Connection (a bridge over the canal south of the connect to the West Lakeview Road Pathway, Kinniburgh area) and the beginning of an upgrade as well as widening and repairing the existing of Township Road 240. Supplemented through gravel pathway located north of Windermere grants and developer contributions, these multi- Drive to Aspenmere Drive. year projects are essential to the continued Ball Diamond at Our Lady of Wisdom School: growth and sustainability of Chestermere. The City plans to add a ball diamond to the Other projects that will continue this year include southeast corner of the school’s playing field upgrades to parks and pathways, the building with funding to come from grants, fundraising of a community space for non-profit community and the City. This project is currently in the groups (including Synergy) and the addition planning stages and construction will begin or upgrade of several outdoor recreational over the summer. amenities. Centre for Community Leadership and More information on the 2016 budget is available Chestermere Boulevard Park Upgrade: The Centre for Community Leadership is a new at www.chestermere.ca/budget. not-for-profit operating space, which will house groups including Synergy and be open to all. The building will be located in a park like setting on the corner of Chestermere Boulevard and Rainbow Road (adjacent to the skateboard park). Soccer Field at East Lake School: This project will remediate the surface of the existing regulation size playing field and establish a second U12 field to the south of the current field. This project is currently in the planning stages and work will begin over the summer.
*An average home in Chestermere increased in assessed value by approximately 4.5% in the previous year.
Sunset Park Beach Volleyball Court Upgrade: This project includes remediating the drainage, orienting the court in a north/ south configuration, expanding the court to a regulation or double size, adding sand and new posts and net, and completing necessary landscaping work. This project is estimated to be completed in September.
COUNCILLOR SPOTLIGHT: Councillor Jennifer Massig
Jennifer grew up in Sylvan Lake, Alberta and moved to Chestermere in 2003 after finishing her Engineering Degree in Calgary. She was elected to Council in October 2013 and is currently in her first term. Along with hoping to inspire her two daughters, she says she ran for Council in order to make a positive impact on her community. As a Councillor, Jennifer says she’s learned along the way that there are no easy answers, but working with people who respect and care for each other leads to the best possible outcome for the community. Jennifer says that one of the times this was most evident was the community support after the July 2015 flood.
“I love the amount of amazing individuals I have met through this experience. It’s been a great journey learning about individual passions and how the people I meet are living those out. I am passionate about bringing Chestermere closer together, so I am excited about some new projects coming up like the updated Municipal Development Plan and the opening of our first not-for-profit centre!”
Mayor's Message With our immense growth in the past it has sometimes been hard to keep up with Continued from Page 1
messaging around all of the different initiatives that are or were taking place. We are committed to open and honest communication about everything we do for you at the City and bringing that information to you in as many ways as possible. We are also improving our budgeting process for the future to include more community engagement and open houses. We want every citizen to have access to information about the policies, decisions and City business that affects them. Follow members of Council on Twitter: @MayorMatthews, @JMassig, @GailMSmith1, @C_Steeves_TOC or @ChestermereLake or contact us via email, phone or in person. We’d be happy to talk to you. Finally, thank you to everyone who stepped up to help or contribute to the plight of residents in Wood Buffalo. You have made a significant difference by the care you’ve shown to those in need. The City provided much needed Emergency Operations personnel (great job Donelda, Monique and Danielle. Thank you for representing us all in such a dedicated manner!) and we have equipment as well as more personnel on standby should they be needed in the future to help get those communities back on their feet. These acts of giving are more reasons why I’m so proud to live in and represent Chestermere. Mayor Patricia Matthews
March 8, 2016: The City’s Parks & Recreation team conducted a survey for the current off-leash area as part of the dog park management study. Thanks for all your input! There were 463 participants and staff are currently consolidating the data. For more info please visit www.chestermere.ca/offleash
GET INVOLVED: Host a Block Party!
Block Parties are held throughout communities in Chestermere and are a great chance to get to know your neighbours! If you’re interested in hosting a block party, the City has everything you need to plan it and can provide you with a BBQ, gift certificates for food, compostable plates and napkins, games for kids and much more! Book a block party for your street today!
March 17, 2016: Chestermere Protective Services staff participated in ice water rescue training to compliment the water rescue training last summer. Aquatic rescue in any season is now available in Chestermere.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Summer in Chestermere
What recreation activities are available in Chestermere in the summer? Chestermere buzzes with outdoor activities in the summer! Chestermere Lake offers boating, fishing, waterskiing, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and swimming opportunities. If you’d rather not get in the water, there are a number of beautiful lakeside parks to enjoy along with over 30 km of pathways and 70 parks, playgrounds and greenspaces in the community. Also, don’t forget the fields, beach volleyball court, skatepark and Bike Park! Maps and more information on all of these amenities are available at www.chestermere.ca/recreation.
March 29, 2016: A shopping survey was conducted on April 5 – 9 to identify the current business needs of the community. Results will be released later this summer.
Is the Lake water tested? City staff take samples of the lake water in four locations each week in the summer and send them for testing to Alberta Health Services. If water quality concerns are found, the City will notify the public on the homepage of the website and the City’s Facebook page. For more information, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca. What should I know about launching a boat in Chestermere? If you are a resident, launching your boat is free but you will need to obtain your launch decal by providing proof of boat ownership at the launch or at City Hall. Visitors wanting to launch will be charged $45 per day for a power boat and $5 for a non-motorized watercraft. The speed for all boats north of the bridge is 15 km/h. All boaters must clean, drain and dry their boat and equipment thoroughly to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. What are the regulations at the beach? There is a beautiful beach available for residents and visitors at Anniversary Park (beside the bridge). However, in order to ensure all beach users have a pleasant experience the City does not allow smoking, littering, alcohol or pets on the beach. In addition, please avoid placing umbrellas in the sand or digging below 6 inches as doing so can puncture the filtration liner that allows excess water to flow back into the lake. For more information visit www.chestermere.ca/recreation
May 2, 2016: The Chestermere Emergency Management Agency (CHEMA) participated in Emergency Preparedness Week and hosted an Open House at the Fire Hall.
May 17, 2016: After intense review, Council dropped the municipal tax rate for the 2016 budget by -4.9%. More details are available at www.chestermere.ca/budget.
STAFF AT THE CITY
The people behind the work happening at the City of Chestermere With the beautiful weather in full bloom, summer outdoor recreation is officially here! Whether you’re tanning in Anniversary Park, walking around the boardwalk, launching your boat or riding through the Bike Park, you’re enjoying one of the many recreation facilities our City has to offer. Along the way you may have encountered one of the City’s amazing Parks & Recreation staff. “We hope you get outside this summer and enjoy the many outdoor amenities available in Chestermere. Staff take pride in maintaining these spaces to make them enjoyable and safe for all residents and visitors,” said Katelyn Richards, Community Recreation Coordinator with the City of Chestermere. If you’re planning to get out on the water, you’ll be greeted by our Boat Launch team. The boat launch is free for all residents but users will need to obtain a boat decal. The friendly staff at the Boat Launch can help you register your boat or will process the fees for visitors to the Lake. The launch staff will also remind you to clean, drain and dry your boat to ensure the Lake is kept free of aquatic invasive species. Visit www.chestermere.ca/ boats for more information.
Don’t forget to clean, drain and dry your boat to ensure Chestermere Lake is kept free of Aquatic Invasive Species! After a ride around the lake, catch a breath at Anniversary Park on the beautiful sand that is meticulously cared for by our Parks staff. To ensure all residents can enjoy the space, the City does not allow smoking, drinking or dogs on the beach. Also, please avoid putting umbrellas in the sand as they can puncture the filtration liner that allows water to flow back into the lake. If you see the Beach attendant be sure to say hello! If you’re more of an adventure seeker, be sure to visit the Chestermere Family Bike Park. The Bike Park staff are available to help users navigate the park, enjoy the facility safely, and keep the trails in good shape. For Bike Park updates (including weather related closures), check the Chestermere Bike Park Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ bikeparkchestermere.
UPCOMING EVENTS June 7 (1:00 - 4:00): Seniors’ Tea Drop by for a visit at the Chestermere Public Library. Enjoy a cup of tea, live music and good company! Try the new trend: adult colouring. Chestermere Public Library (105B Marina Road) June 11: Lemonade Day Enjoy some lemonade all around Chestermere provided by young entrepreneurs ages 6-17 who have been learning business skills over the past several months. Lemonade stands open as early as 9:00 a.m. www.chestermere.lemonadeday.org June 11: Multicultural & Intergenerational Play Day Come out and have fun with the whole family! ‘Chestermere Plays’ Play Days are a great way for families to get out and spend time together without spending money. There will be a variety of activity stations including gymnastics, hockey shooting and soccer. Chestermere Rec Centre (201 West Chestermere Drive) www.chestermerecrca.com July 1: Canada Day Enjoy Canada Day on the Lake! Start your day with a free pancake breakfast, wander the market at the Library, dance the evening away with Latin music and finish the day with fireworks on the water! John Peake Park (100 John Morris Way) www.chestermere.ca/canadaday July 16: Water Festival Celebrate summer on the Lake at Chestermere’s annual Water Festival! Enjoy the wakeboard competition, browse the Artisan Market, and don’t miss the Summer Music Showcase headliner Drew Gregory! John Peake Park (100 John Morris Way) www.chestermere.ca/waterfestival August 13: Epic Community Water Fight The whole family is welcome to join in on an Epic Community Water Fight. Bring your water guns and get ready to have fun. This event is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours and cool down on a hot day! John Peake Park (100 John Morris Way) www.truesynergy.com September 7 (6:00-8:30): Energizer Night Get plugged in to your community! Information on upcoming programs and services in the Chestermere area will be available with many groups taking registrations that evening! If you are interested in booking a table to share your information please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chestermere Rec Centre Main Hall (201 West Chestermere Drive) September 30 & October 1: Chestermere Arts Days Join us for a local celebration of Alberta Culture Days. There will be artisan booths, music, an art show and workshops to bring out your inner artist. More information to follow! www.chestermere.ca/artsdays
Check out the Recreation Map to view all our amenities www.chestermere.ca/maps.
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