Earlier this spring, the City of Chestermere purchased 101 acres of land in the southeast area of the City for the purpose of increasing the development of non-residential offerings within the City’s borders.
“Chestermere residents have told us that we need to create our own destiny and write our own story of who we are as a community,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews. “In order to do that and preserve our identity we need to diversify our tax base. This give us the chance to do that.”
As 96% of the tax base, Chestermere residents shoulder costs for local infrastructure and amenities. In addition, with more than two thirds of the working population commuting elsewhere for work, many local retail businesses struggle to remain profitable.
No local developers are planning to offer space for light industrial development so when an opportunity to purchase developable land for under market value arose, the City decided to step in.
It is anticipated that adding this light industrial development will ease the burden on taxpayers, provide between 500 to 1,500 local jobs, reduce the percentage of residents who must commute and help local businesses thrive.
“Having strong diversity of non-residential development is essential to the health and sustainability of a community,” said Chestermere’s Economic Development Manager, Jean-Marc Lacasse. “We have already experienced significant interest from major enterprises looking to find a new location,” said Lacasse. “With the ability to develop this land ourselves, we will now be able to welcome new sectors into the community and ensure we are sustainable for the future.”
When the private sector is unwilling to do so, it is not uncommon for municipalities to pursue specific types of development themselves. This is the only piece of land the City of Chestermere owns (except municipal reserve lands needed for parks and schools) and studies show profitability for the area.
The City of Chestermere will begin the regular development approval process with an Area Structure Plan and is seeking to begin selling parcels in the next 1-2 years.
The City will require all applicants to submit high design standards to ensure that the development fits into the City’s high quality expectations. Once costs are covered, any profits from the development will be reinvested back into the community. All parts of the development process are publicly available should residents wish to follow the progress of the development. FAQs about this announcement are available here.