During the last decade, Chestermere has experienced exponential growth. Our population skyrocketed from approximately 9,500 people in 2006 to more than 19,700 residents in 2016. What most people don’t realize is that our non-residential tax base also increased more than sevenfold during that same period; rising from approximately $18 million to $128 million. In the past four years, we’ve more than doubled our non-residential base compared to our neighbours Cochrane, Airdrie, and Okotoks, which averaged about 1.5 times the growth. We now have 34 eating establishments, a hotel, 2 major grocery stores, and this year we issued 722 business licenses throughout Chestermere neighbourhoods. Despite such significant progress, we know we still need more.
So what are we doing? Council recently approved the City’s long-term economic development goal to grow the non-residential assessment ratio to 20 per cent over the next 20 years. The updated Municipal Development Plan requires commercial spaces in ALL new neighbourhoods and removes commercial building size and height restrictions to attract new businesses to the community. Larger, anchor tenants will encourage residents to live and work here, which also helps sustain smaller tenants. The City continues to work with the development community, prioritizing commercial development. So, if a residential and commercial development are both submitted, the commercial development moves forward first. The City has also purchased land for light industrial development, which we anticipate will lead to more jobs in our community.
In July, Administration presented a report to Council that showed we are a greatly untapped market with $581 million retail potential. Though retail is not the answer to diversifying our economy, it is what I would like to refer to as “low hanging fruit.” It is our job now to make sure we take advantage of that, encourage retailers to come here, and support them when they do. I also urge Chestermerians to support our current local businesses... Shopping, eating, and accessing services here will positively impact our community’s success.
As always, I am more than glad to speak with individuals or groups to discuss this or any other City matter. The last ten years has provided immense growth, and with the people and plans in place, I am excited to see what the next decade brings.
Christopher Steeves, Councillor
City of Chestermere
Phone: 403- 988-5790