In this month’s Mayor’s Message I’d like to give you an outline of what we’re trying to accomplish in 2015 to make Chestermere an even better place to live, work and play. In my last message to you I outlined some of the projects we completed in 2014 and some of the challenges we had faced as well.
Before I do that though, I’d like to reiterate some of the messages that came out of our City status discussions. I’ve had a chance to talk with a few people lately who still had a few questions and I suspect there are probably others out there in the same position. So, City status doesn’t give us any additional grants or powers, it doesn’t mean that taxes will spike up, we don’t have to get our own police force and Council does not get a pay raise (we don’t even need new business cards!). Our community does not have to take on transit or change our identity unless we, the people who built this place we call home, decide to and we’ll do it at our own pace. Our bylaws stay the same and our signage was all designed without a title so it doesn’t have to be altered.
Most importantly, we changed our title to City so that we could have an economic advantage as one of only 18 cities in the Province versus one of over 100 towns and we’ve seen some really promising results so far. We’ve had contact with some major companies who didn’t even know we existed before our announcement to pursue City status. We’ve been in contact with many Provincial Ministers who have offered congratulations and even had a few dignitaries drop by our community who’ve never been here before. We’ve seen positive results for our community now that we’re a City and hope to see new businesses soon that will help us keep residential taxes down while paying for new amenities. If you happen to have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact me, I’m happy to answer them.
Road & Bridge Work
In the meantime, there are many projects to get done in our community in 2015. The big focus on roadways this year will be bridges. If you’ve driven Rainbow Road going south then you know we have a challenge with the bridge down there. It’s one of our first priorities so that we can ensure traffic will flow smoothly and safely in this area. We expect to get that moving shortly but it will mean that access will be closed for a short period while it’s being worked on. Road signs will be up with plenty of notice when this happens so please keep an eye out. You’re welcome to check our website as well- it will be posted. The bridge on the East side of Chestermere, going across the canal, is slated to be constructed this year. That should provide some relief to the well-used WID crossing at the South end of the Lake. The design and details of when that project will start will be posted on our website soon.
Even if you’re reading this on a piece of paper, you know we live in a digital world. We have a lot of demand for city hall services, like permits, to be offered online so we’re working on creating a virtual city hall in 2015. We’re also working on bringing you a digital quarterly newsletter to update you on happenings around Chestermere. Also in an effort to improve services, our Emergency Services team will be expanding into water and ice rescue. We all want, and expect, responsible use of the lake, regardless of the season, but now when an emergency happens there we’ll have a trained, prepared team ready to respond.
We have a few projects at design stage in 2015. When the designs are completed we anticipate that construction will start in 2016. The dog park is still slated for the municipal area behind the Gas Plus and adjacent to the Skate Park. Before it can be built it needs to be designed to accommodate the needs of every pooch and it’s owner. The peninsula area in the Cove is a rare opportunity to design a brand new park in an undeveloped spot by the Lake. Both of these projects will be looking for community input so if you have some time to volunteer and are interested in either or both of these please contact us at 403-207-7050.
At Sunset Park, speaking of Lakeside parks, if you have been longing for the day that you can bounce a ball or get your mail without getting mud on your shoes, then get excited because it’s happening in 2015! By the end of the summer this parking lot should be paved and can be enjoyed by everyone.
We have many other things we’re working on this year and a detailed list of what’s included in budget 2015 can be found on our website. As always we are focused on getting the best value for your tax dollar and keeping operational costs down. We all understand the stress that our economy is under right now and Council will be evaluating our project list again before we finalize the budget for this year.
Right now property assessments are being sent out to you as we are mandated by the Province to submit them every year. We choose the company but they report to and are legislated by the Province. Please check your assessment and read it carefully for accuracy. If you have questions or disagree with it, please contact Accurate Assessment Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-438-2305.
I’ll continue throughout the year to bring you Mayor’s messages but if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me (email@example.com) or any member of Council. All contact information can be found on our website or through our main switchboard at 403-207-7050.
Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget the Easter Egg Hunt on April 4th at Lakeside Greens, benefitting the United Way of Chestermere. Registrations can be done online by sending your child’s details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Community Services at 403-207-7050 for more information.