It's almost been one year since the election, and as your newly elected Council, we knew we had a big job ahead of us. We understood that progress needed to be made on major issues and were eager to tackle the challenge of digging into the details of what that meant.
As I look back at the past 12 months, here are a few things that stand out:
1. New Direction: After we took our oaths of office, we wanted to be clear on exactly what our priorities would be for the next four years, so one of the first things we did was set a Strategic Plan with the priorities you gave us during the election. This plan lays out the detailed goals (and measures of success) for what we plan to pursue and continues to guide our decisions. If you want to know what we plan to do as a Council during this term, we encourage you to find out where we are headed by reading the plan on the City's website at www.chestermere.ca/stratplan.
2. CUI: We knew that you wanted normalcy for our utility rates. In August, after a thorough review, we announced that we are taking action and exploring options for CUI's future. The results of the report we've commissioned through KPMG and McMillan LLP will be presented on October 22, and we invite you to attend. In the meantime, we have directed CUI to continue to deliver regular services without disruption. We have also appointed all members of Council to the CUI Board. We will continue to share news about the future of CUI, but I encourage you to sign up for email or text message news alerts at www.chestermere.ca/news so you can be the first to know.
3. Webster: The Webster property consists of 101 acres the City purchased to develop into a light industrial park. After an in-depth review, Council decided that it wasn't in our municipality's best interest to lead this project as the private sector has more expertise and resources in this kind of development. We are currently looking to sell the property and will continue to explore this and additional means of increasing our non-residential tax base.
4. Improved Communication: We know that you want to be heard by your elected officials and we've been trying new ways to connect with you. We've held several 'Coffee with Council' meetings, we’ve made the Mayor's office more accessible (please drop by), hosted more events and directed more public consultation. We continue to search for ways to engage your thoughts including a recent opportunity to give us your opinion on the 2019-2022 Budget process. Results of that engagement will be presented soon, and we value all the comments and suggestions that residents provided. Follow that project at www.chestermere.ca/budget.
5. New CAO: The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) is Council’s only employee and has the job of leading the entire City Administration and staff. We know that leadership is crucial to helping us achieve our goals and this was one of our priorities. Council hired Bernie Morton this summer and he is already working hard to help our organization serve you better. We are confident that he has the right blend of experience to lead Chestermere in the direction we've set out.
All in all, it's been a full year, but we feel that we've now set our foundation on many key items.
In the months to come, we're looking forward to making some greater strides to take Chestermere in the direction residents have set out for us, and are highlighted in our Strategic Plan. Personally, I will be representing Chestermere at the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board as we determine how our regional neighbours will be working together in the future in areas such as land use and infrastructure. Finally, we will continue to find ways to improve our services to you whether that is by providing some outdoor rinks or new ways to connect with the community. We are also anxiously awaiting results of the Amazing Chestermere roundtable discussion.
Thank you for your confidence in us. We look forward to continuing to serve you.
Mayor Marshall Chalmers
P.S. One of the projects we just started is a detailed look into the future of seniors’ housing. I invite you to participate in the survey (available online, at City Hall and the Library) and join us at a Seniors Housing Roundtable on October 29. More details can be found at www.chestermere.ca/seniors.